On the southwest corner of a large brick Gothic church in the little town of Sternberg in north Germany is a curious stone. Mortared into the wall of a chapel that juts out beside what was once the main portal of the church, the stone bears, deeply embedded in it, large prints of two bare feet, on the edges of which chisel marks are visible. A xeroxed church guide, available on a table inside the porch, mentions it only brieï¬y, explaining that the stone, which was incorporated into the wall in 1496, is one on which the wife of the Jew Eleazar is said to have stood when she tried to sink a desecrated host in the nearby creek. Unable to cast away the host, she supposedly sank into the stone (ï¬g. 1). Located in the green and beautiful Mecklenburg landscape, Sternberg, like most areas of the former German Democratic Republic (GDR), is now suffering from massive unemployment and the ï¬ight of its youth to the west and to urban areas.1 Its train station is closed; even local buses run there only on weekdays. Yet in the early sixteenth century, it was a prominent enough pilgrimage site to
Common Knowledge – Duke University Press
Published: Jan 1, 2004
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