German synagogue destroyed on Kristallnacht uncovered by archaeologists

The excavation team is also hopeful of finding other relics such as coins and documents buried in the foundations.

Frankfurt am Main Synagogue burning during Kristallnacht (photo credit: CENTER FOR JEWISH HISTORY/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
Frankfurt am Main Synagogue burning during Kristallnacht
(photo credit: CENTER FOR JEWISH HISTORY/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
Archaeologists in the German city of Frankfurt have uncovered the ruined foundations of the Höchst synagogue that was destroyed in the Nazi pogrom of Kristallnacht.
The excavations began on April 7 in Ettinghausen-Platz, a small square in Höchst, which lies between the market and a listed air-raid shelter on the Schleifergasse, named after the former head of the Jewish community.
Max Ettinghausen was head of the Jewish community in Höchst, which became incorporated into the city of Frankfurt in 1928. In 1905, the Jewish community was able to inaugurate the synagogue, the fourth in the town.
The uncovered synagogue was destroyed in the Nazi pogrom of Kristallnacht on the night of November 9–10, 1938. Some 91 people were killed, Jewish property was damaged or destroyed and an estimated 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to concentration camps.
Finding the original foundations of the synagogue was one of the goals of the excavations. The archaeologists came across the brick relief arches of the foundation almost directly under the square's cobblestones.
"The Nazis only demolished the synagogue above ground, according to the motto: What you can't see isn't there," said excavation manager Elke Sichert, local newspaper Frankfurter Neue Presse reported.
The excavation team is hopeful that they will find other relics such as coins and documents buried in the foundations.
Marc Grünbaum, a member of the board of directors of the Jewish Community in Frankfurt, hopes to have a discussion about how the city's Jewish heritage is dealt with, as there are other Jewish historical sites in the city. A tower used to guard the city was acquired by Höchst's Jewish community in 1798; it is suspected that the "bathroom" in the tower was used as a mikveh, a Jewish ritual bath.
The Frankfurt Monuments Office took a small group of media and Jewish representatives on a tour of the site earlier this month, according to Jewish Heritage Europe. The group included Frankfurt Mayor Uwe Becker, who is also head of the Hesse federal state government for Jewish activity and the fight against antisemitism.
Becker promised, "a worthy handling of the finds", according to Frankfurter Neue Presse.

In November 2010, a virtual reconstruction of the synagogue called “Telescopes into the Past" was created and placed on Ettinghausen-Platz, Jewish Heritage Europe stated on their website.  Two telescopes were placed on the square, through which visitors could look and view the reconstruction of the exterior and interior of the synagogue.
The exhibit, by Architectura Virtualis, also had information boards with texts about the history and virtual reconstruction.