He may be the last of his faith here, be on the far side of three-score-and-10 and be recovering from heart surgery, but Bert Rosenbush is happy to keep Demopolis' Jewish flame burning.Rosenbush paid for the monument but won't reveal its cost. His ancestors arrived from Germany in the 1840s; a grandfather even fought for the Confederacy. The family business - Rosenbush Furniture Co. - was a fixture for more than a century before it closed recently.
It's just a flicker these days since he's the last Jew in the town of 7,500, but he's determined to do what he can to see that his religion remains relevant, especially for those who ask him about it.
On April 21, he and his wife, Mary Louise, will be joined by friends for a ceremony at the Jewish cemetery where his parents are buried along with many of the 100 Jews who used to live in Demopolis.
They will unveil a monument commemorating the Holocaust and the lives of six million Jews who perished before and during World War II.
"No one in my family perished in Germany, but I've always had a place in my heart for the Jews who died during the Holocaust," Rosenbush said. "This monument is something I've wanted for a long time."The story touches on assimilation, intermarriage, closing of synagogues and even Jewish cemeteries in the southern US.
"I've always found that people in Demopolis respect my religion," he said. "I've never come across any anti-Semitism. I'm just so proud that the good Lord has allowed me to stay here."When he retired, Rosenbush gave the family's store, valued at about $500,000 to the town for a new city hall, but it might wind up as a museum.
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