A true story…
My dear city of Nördlingen,
The gray, black and white image overtook my thoughts. It was in such stark contrast to the beautiful city tourists love.
They seemed to walk towards me from the photo: people in a long line, on foot, with their belongings in hand…
But today everything was so different! “Oh how pretty! Such pretty Christmas decorations! Such lovely details! You have made such an effort!”
The voice of the elderly lady who just enters the reception of the doctor’s office brings a smile to the receptionist’s face. Pleasantly touched, she turns to my daughter: “Your data please?”
As friendly as I know her to be, Judith gives her date of birth: Born 1990, living at the time in Deiningen, Klosterzimmern.
“Klosterzimmern?” She asks.
Suddenly she was gone, the woman behind the counter probably had to help for a short
time in the treatment room of the doctor.
My eyes wandered from my patiently smiling daughter to the wall.
The wall was covered with certificates of medical conferences and awards of the Medical Association. All in squiggly writing; they look old and valuable.
The voice of the nurse pulled me suddenly from my considerations. “Unfortunately it is not possible for you to receive medical help from us… ”
Oh what? What does she mean by that?
“Cash payment is denied on legal grounds…”
The voice was so stereotypical and emotionless that suddenly my mind was staring back
into the picture: men, women and children with long coats and hats and small suitcases in hand…
Did they all look the other way when they passed by them? Had they not been their neighbors after all…?
Have we not been your neighbors?
“How is that possible?” I ask, “we have always paid our bills with you. We’ve often been to see you. My daughter needs help with her foot. She has a problem and needs help, because she must return to America in three days and you are the only practice!”
“This is unfortunately the rule — we cannot make an exception,” she says.
My mind goes again to another time…
That can not be true! Everyone knew it at the time and no one screamed ‘Stop!’
Suddenly the words broke out of me, “I want to immediately see the doctor himself! ”
The receptionist stepped back into the office. Moments later the doctor is standing in his white coat in front of me.
“Now please listen,” my eyes were fixed directly at his face, “we’re not the first people from Klosterzimmern that you have treated. My daughter has a need and as a doctor you have an obligation to help her — she has done nothing wrong!”
His eyes were lowered. “Unfortunately we cannot help you for legal reasons… this is according to law.”
My voice was trembling, “But yet you have a medical responsibility, you need to comply with the need!”
The irony of the situation leaves me speechless. In my spinning head I still hear the pounding accusations of the court:
The community also neglects the medical duty of care, because you do not take your children to the doctor — that’s why your children cannot be returned back to you…
When I leave the doctor’s office in my previously beloved Nördlingen with my daughter, we join in the gray, black and white image of the past.
At that time they had taken all from them: their children, their business, their medical care, their religious freedom.
It appears as though this is the intention of the government today, too.
I wonder whether silence will once again cover up everything — just like then?
Boas, the caring Abba of the Markeli family.