Status: 27/09/2023, 16:34 p.m.
Representatives of the citizenry and the Jewish community cut up a historical sheet. © Daniel Bockwoldt/dpa
It was once the largest Jewish place of worship in northern Germany: the Bornplatz Synagogue in the Grindel district. Now the building is to be rebuilt. A first step has been taken.
Hamburg - More than 80 years after its destruction by the Nazis, the Jewish Community of Hamburg has regained the land on which the former Bornplatz synagogue stood. "As of today, the members of the Hamburg Parliament are restoring a concrete piece of justice," said Philipp Stricharz, chairman of the Jewish Community, in Hamburg on Wednesday. "The Nazis wanted to make all Jewish life invisible. Today shows that injustice does not prevail and that Jewish Hamburg has a future."
In a symbolic act, the leaders of the SPD, the Greens, the CDU and the Left Party then handed over the property back to the Jewish community. For this, the copy of a Nazi document instructing destruction was cut up by the politicians. Later, the intergroup motion was to be decided in the parliament. The "historic decision" is intended to lay the foundation stone for the reconstruction of the Bornplatz synagogue.
Daniel Sheffer, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Bornplatz Synagogue, recalled his father, whom he asked as a child why he returned to Germany as a Jew in the 1970s. "He replied one sentence: 'Because it's other Germans,'" Sheffer said. "This moment today is a turning point for our Jewish history in Hamburg. It is the victory of justice and Jewish life in Hamburg over the barbarism of the Nazis."
For the chairman of the SPD parliamentary group, Dirk Kienscherf, the return of the property to the Jewish community was long overdue. "It is shameful that after the end of the Nazi dictatorship, the process of coming to terms with the past in Germany was slow. We want to put an end to that today." The joint decision of the parliament is an important sign "for our cosmopolitan city and against anti-Semitism, hatred and exclusion".
Jennifer Jasberg, leader of the Greens' parliamentary group, also stressed: "In times when anti-Semitism, exclusion and totalitarian thinking are spreading again in many places, this is more than a symbolic act. Today, the foundations are being laid for Jewish life to regain its rightful place in the middle of the city."
"Today is a historic day," said CDU parliamentary group leader Dennis Thering. The reconstruction of the Bornplatz synagogue will be a strong signal against anti-Semitism and for Jewish life in Hamburg. "If you look at the excavations, you can see that an incredible amount of injustice has happened here." Cansu Özdemir, leader of the Left Party's parliamentary group, was also pleased that Jewish life in the Grindel district would soon become more visible again.
When it was inaugurated in 1906, the Bornplatz Synagogue in the Grindel district was the largest Jewish place of worship in northern Germany. During the November pogroms of 1938, the Nazis set fire to the building. A year later, they forced the Jewish community to demolish the synagogue at their own expense. The property was expropriated and partly built over with a high-rise bunker.
A feasibility study presented a year ago by the Senate and the Jewish community concluded that reconstruction was possible and that the Bornplatz Synagogue could once again become a landmark of Jewish life in the heart of the city.
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Since the beginning of the month, the Archaeological Museum on Joseph-Carlebach-Platz has been researching the remains of the old synagogue. The archaeologists have already found remains of ceramics, stained glass windows and marble slabs. The results will be made available for the design of an architectural competition, which is scheduled to begin later this year. Dpa