Synagogue opens on Kristallnacht anniversary

9th November 2006, Comments 0 comments

9 November 2006 , Munich (dpa) - A new synagogue in Munich was opened Thursday on the symbol-laden anniversary of the 1938 Nazi "night of broken glass" - the arson attacks and assaults on Germany's Jews which marked the start of the Holocaust. "We are today showing the entire world that Hitler did not succeed in destroying us," said Charlotte Knobloch, the leader of Germany's Central Council of Jews, in a speech opening the synagogue. On November 9, 1938, in attacks on Germany's Jewish community - dubbed t

9 November 2006

Munich (dpa) - A new synagogue in Munich was opened Thursday on the symbol-laden anniversary of the 1938 Nazi "night of broken glass" - the arson attacks and assaults on Germany's Jews which marked the start of the Holocaust.

"We are today showing the entire world that Hitler did not succeed in destroying us," said Charlotte Knobloch, the leader of Germany's Central Council of Jews, in a speech opening the synagogue.

On November 9, 1938, in attacks on Germany's Jewish community - dubbed the Kristallnacht by the Nazis - 1,668 synagogues were damaged or set on fire. Jews were beaten to death and about 30,000 Jewish men were taken to concentration camps.

Knobloch - a Holocaust survivor - recently warned that rising anti-Semitism in Germany reminded her of 1933, the year Hitler came to power.

Neo-Nazis plotted to bomb the ground-breaking ceremony for the Munich synagogue exactly three years ago. Members of the group were arrested and their leader is now serving a seven-year jail term.

German President Horst Koehler warned of lingering anti-Semitism in the country and noted that neo-Nazi crimes have increased this year.

"This is painful ... we must learn the lesson and remain watchful today and for all time," said Koehler in a speech.

Bavarian Prime Minister Edmund Stoiber, while saying the present time could not be compared with the ill-fated Weimar Republic preceding Hitler, spoke of "shocking warning signals" such as rightist violence at football games.

The new synagogue complex, on St Jakobs Square in the city centre, cost 71.5 million euros (91 million dollars) and is the biggest current Jewish building project in Europe.

The modernist building clad in stone has a rectangular glass dome which floods the wooden interior with light.

When the entire complex is completed it will include a Jewish museum, a meeting centre, offices, school, kindergarten and kosher restaurant, combining facilities previously scattered in the city and serving 9,000 Munich Jews.

Germany's Jewish community has grown swiftly over the past two decades.

There were about 30,000 Jews in Germany in 1989 when the Berlin Wall was opened and the communist East Bloc collapsed.

Under a special regulation approved in 1990 by then-chancellor Helmut Kohl, Jews from the former Soviet Union continue to be allowed to immigrate to Germany.

There are now at least 110,000 Jews living in the country, out of a total German population of 82 million. Prior to the Holocaust there were about 600,000 Jews in Germany.

Six million European Jews were murdered during the Holocaust.

DPA

Subject: German news

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