small-flowered touch-me-not sweet woodruff

Share of population with a migrant background (green) in Heilbronn.

Impatiens parviflora (small-flowered touch-me-not) neophyte from Russia; Galium odoratum (sweet woodruff) indigenous plant from Germany

Source: Stadt Heilbronn – Stabsstelle Stadtentwicklung und Zukunftsfragen
(ed.): Einwohner zum 31.12.2017 in Heilbronn nach Migrationshintergrund und Herkunftsländern

Impatiens parviflora (small-flowered touch-me-not)
Balsaminaceae (balsam family)

Herbaceous annual, up to 60 cm in height, with succulent glassy stems, oval to lanceolate leaves and yellow spurred flowers. Ballistic dispersal by fruit catapulting seeds (ballochory), these edible seeds fly to a distance of 3 meters.

Released into the wild in the 19th century from several botanical gardens, now widespread in Central Europe. At the time of National Socialism, it was considered a Mongol invader that had to be combated in order to prevent the »bolshevization« of native flora.

Neophyte in Germany and in many other areas of Europe – one of the few that occur in subnatural forests. Stems from Northeast Asia, where its natural habitat includes parts of Siberia and Mongolia.


Galium odoratum (sweet woodruff)
Rubiaceae (madder family)

Perennial wintergreen forest plant with subterranean foothills, 15–30 cm high, with whorled leaves and small white flowers. Spread by foothills, animals and humans.

Index species of the woodruff beech forest widespread in southern Germany, forming large colonies. Low toxicity plant, contains coumarin, which is released during wilting. Previously used to flavor drinks (punch, syrup). Meanwhile, the typical woodruff flavor is chemically reproduced in food.

Indigenous to Central Europe, neophyte in North America. Its natural area covers almost the whole of Europe, parts of Asia and northwest Africa.

Where do we belong? And may we stay? Where else could we seek refuge?

800 years of Jewish history in Heilbronn probably began in 1146 with a new market on the river Neckar. Oskar Mayer in his Geschichte der Juden in Heilbronn (History of the Jews in Heilbronn) from 1927 describes subsequent pogroms, inhumane tax burden and exploitation, the occupational and existential repression. (1) And yet there are few German cities whose name found greater dissemination across the world than Heilbronn. Namely in surnames such as Heillbronn, Heilbron, Heilprin, Heilbronner, which Jews gave themselves as an indication that they originally came from Heilbronn. In Wuerttemberg the decree of the authorities to the Jews to give themselves names was issued in a law »in regard to the public relations of the Israelite community of faith« from April 1828.

The young Emanuel Heilbronner, son of a liquid soap entrepreneur from Heilbronn, later decided differently, however, for obvious reasons: When he fled the Nazis and emigrated to the United States in 1929 he started the soap business again, yet he deleted the »Heil« from his name. Meanwhile, the descendants of Emanuel Bronner are the managing directors of the large international corporation Dr. Bronner’s.

Their natural organic soap is also available to buy in Germany. In reference to the old charm of the universal soap, the advertising points to a total of 18 possibilities of application.

In 2013 Mike and David Bronner visited their family’s former factory premises at Salzstraße 60 in Heilbronn. (3)


(1) Oskar Mayer, Die Geschichte der Juden in Heilbronn, Heilbronn 1927, p. 6.