A New Jewish Germany
When touring our German History pages, you’ll notice that a few of them have to do with, shall I say, some of the darkest events of the 20th century.
Throughout the reigning years of the Third Reich, Germany’s Jewish population suffered and many of their buildings were destroyed.
But, I’m here to tell you that Germany’s Jewish population is again on the rise (just over a hundred-thousand people)—and many of the country’s big cities have enough to see if you’re looking for a Jewish Germany.
Let’s start at the capital, shall we?
In what was once part of East Berlin you can see the Old Jewish Quarter and the New Synagogue Museum (the synagogue is thought to be one of the most beautiful in the country). Also in Berlin is the German History Museum with an entire Hitler exhibit—and the city is home to the Berggruen Museum, an art museum filled with works donated by a Jewish art collector.
Frankfurt’s Jewish community lived in a ghetto-like area known as Judengasse from around the mid-15th century. Its West End Synagogue is one of the very few to have survived the anti-Jewish Kristallnacht in November 1938. At the Old Jewish Cemetery you’ll find the names of every Jewish Frankfurter deported; and the Jüdisches Museum highlights the history of the Jewish community from medieval times right up to the 20th century.
Yes, Heidelberg was once a hotbed of Nazi activity. However, the city was home to a Jewish community since medieval times. 13th century scholar, Rabbi Meir came to live here. Today you can see one of the best preserved Jewish Quarters on the European Continent.
Ah, the city of Worms—this is home to Germany’s oldest synagogue (which is also known as Rashi’s Chapel), built in 1034. It did have to be rebuilt a few times over the last millennia—the last being after it was destroyed on November 10, 1938.
Dresden’s New Synagogue was built using parts of the original 19th century Semper Synagogue—that was left in ruins after the infamous Night of the Broken Glass.
The Swabian town of Augsburg has a beautiful Art Nouveau Synagogue and its own Jewish Museum.
There’s a whole lot of Jewish history in the big city chic of Munich, and part of a visit to it means heading towards the city of Dachau, and the infamous Dachau Concentration Camp. Guided tours are available of the camp 9am-5pm, Tuesdays through Sundays.
Within Munich itself, its synagogue finally reopened sixty-eight years to the day after the original was destroyed by the Nazis. You’ll even find Jewish manuscripts in the State Library—and a place that serves a kosher Weisswurst.
Hey, after all this touring around a new Jewish Germany—you’ve got to be hungry, right?
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