12 May 2004
LEIPZIG – A court in Germany has ruled that construction can go ahead on a Jewish community centre, dismissing neighbours’ claims that their property values would go down.
The Leipzig Administrative Court judges ruled there were no grounds for halting construction, saying the presence of a Jewish centre posed “no discernible deleterious impact” for the neighbouring property owners.
As the court proceedings took place, a group of people marched outside the courthouse accusing the plaintiffs of anti-Semitism.
Leipzig Mayor Wolfgang Tiefensee, in welcoming the ruling, condemned what he called “some rather oddly construed” arguments put forth by the neighbours.
Leipzig Jewish community head Kuef Kaufmann said he was relieved that the court had ruled against the claim. But he said he anticipated the plaintiffs would appeal the case to a higher court.
The city of Leipzig issued a construction permit in late 2002 for about EUR four million project.
But it has been stalled for months by objections from neighbours.
Speaking in court Tuesday on behalf of other co-plaintiffs, one man rejected claims that he and the others are anti-Semitic. He claimed some of his ancestors were Jewish.
He insisted the only concerns were for property values amid fears that the centre could be a potential terrorist target.
Subject: German news