New synagogue to open in Munich

Torah scrolls will enter synagogue on 68th anniversary of Kristallnacht.

german synagogue 298.88 (photo credit: AP)
german synagogue 298.88
(photo credit: AP)
Nearly 70 years after Adolf Hitler declared Munich's main synagogue an "eyesore" at the center of his power base and personally ordered it torn down, Jews will celebrate its return to the heart of the Bavarian capital. On Thursday, the 68th anniversary of Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, the Torah scrolls will be marched with fanfare through the streets of Munich to the new synagogue in its historic downtown area. President Horst Koehler, Bavarian Governor Edmund Stoiber and Rabbi Israel Singer from the World Jewish Congress are among those expected to attend a dedication ceremony. The new synagogue and its accompanying community center, due to open in March, is an important move for Munich's Jewish community of 9,200. The community has more than doubled since German reunification in 1990, due to relaxed immigration laws for Jews. "It is the return of visibility to the Jewish community of Munich, and to the citizens of Munich," said Michael Brenner, a professor of Jewish history at the University of Munich. Funding for the synagogue, which cost about $72 million, came from the city, the state of Bavaria and Munich's Jewish community. It stands on St. Jakobs Square, only a few blocks from where the original main synagogue stood until its demolition in June 1938.