New synagogue inaugurated in German city of Bochum

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A new synagogue was inaugurated in the west German city of Bochum on Sunday, nearly 70 years after the previous one was destroyed by the Nazis.

17 December 2007

Bochum, Germany (dpa) - A new synagogue was inaugurated in the west German city of Bochum on Sunday, nearly 70 years after the previous one was destroyed by the Nazis.

Members of the 1,200-strong Jewish community carried thora scrolls from the site of the old synagogue to the new one ahead of the afternoon inauguration.

"We are here in the middle of society and we will never again allow this place to be contested," said Charlotte Kobloch, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany.

Every newly-built synagogue represents the offer of a dialogue between Jews and non-Jews, she told the 550 guests attending the three-hour ceremony.

Knobloch also criticized the reaction of Germans to the recent spate of attacks by neo-Nazis, referring to "consternation, which quickly abates."

Norbert Lammert, president of the German parliament said the construction of new synagogues was "a sign of remembrance of the past and a commitment to the future."

There are round 100 synagogues in Germany catering to a community of around 100,000 Jews.

The cube-shaped synagogue in Bochum was designed by Cologne-based architect Peter Schmitz. It took two years to build at a cost of 7 million euros (10 million dollars).

With room for 200 worshippers, it forms the core of a community centre that Jewish leaders in the city hope will be a meeting point for all citizens.

The old synagogue was burned down in November 1938 when Nazi mobs ransacked Jewish homes and property in what is known as Reichskristallnacht (Night of broken glass).

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