Status: 10.12.2023, 14:20 PM
Police officers secure the area around the New Synagogue in Magdeburg. © Klaus-Dietmar Gabbert/dpa
In 1938, the citizens of Magdeburg destroyed the synagogue in their city during National Socialism. Now a new Jewish house of worship has been built - thanks to the decades of commitment of Magdeburg residents.
Magdeburg - A new synagogue has been opened in the center of Magdeburg - 85 years after the destruction of the old Jewish house of worship. "The new synagogue stands for peaceful coexistence and pluralism," said Saxony-Anhalt's Prime Minister Reiner Haseloff (CDU) at a ceremony on Sunday. Jewish life is becoming much more visible and tangible again. "As the state government, we will continue to make Jewish life in Saxony-Anhalt visible, promote and protect it in the future."
The president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster, spoke of a day of joy and pride. He referred to the adverse circumstances experienced by the Jewish community in the GDR. In 1946, only 120 Jews were still living in Magdeburg, and services were held in a residential building. By the early 1980s, the Jewish community had only about 20 members. It was only immigration from the territory of the former Soviet Union that allowed it to grow significantly in the 1990s.
Today, the synagogue community of Magdeburg has around 400 members, according to its own information. "Jewish life in Germany is a success story, which is also due to the courage of Jewish immigrants in particular," said the President of the Central Council.
The building, which ultimately cost 7.6 million euros, is the result of decades of commitment by Magdeburg citizens, who collected donations for the new building. A sponsoring association contributed 500,000 euros, the synagogue community 300,000 euros, and the city of Magdeburg provided the land. Most of the costs for the construction were borne by the state of Saxony-Anhalt.
Architect Wolfgang Sattler described the new synagogue as discreet and restrained. Despite the necessary safety measures, a feeling of lightness, openness and light has been introduced into the new building. On the outer façade there is the inscription in Hebrew: "For my house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations". The building is located between a hotel and residential buildings.
The old Magdeburg synagogue was destroyed by citizens of the city during the November 1938 pogroms during the National Socialism - not far from today's new building. In 1999, the "New Synagogue Magdeburg" association was founded, which has been campaigning for the construction ever since. On Sunday, the association donated a picture of the historic, destroyed Magdeburg synagogue to the synagogue community.
In Dessau-Roßlau, the new Weill Synagogue was opened on 22 October. Hamas' attack on Israel had only taken place about two weeks ago. Prime Minister Haseloff said in the new synagogue in Magdeburg: "We are all appalled by the crimes of Hamas. Our thoughts are with the people of Israel, the victims and the bereaved." The terror must end and Hamas must be held accountable.
Central Council President Schuster also recalled the current situation in the Middle East, the people who are still held hostage by Hamas. May the thoughts and prayers of the Jewish community be with them, with their families. Schuster stressed: "We will not allow our lives to be determined by terror." dpa