FORMER SEAT OF THE NAZIS

BECOMES

THE CENTER OF JEWISH LIFE

 

Jews in Germany that were forced to leave by the Nazis in 30’s

Exclaimed as they set foot again in their native country
“Here we do not want to stay.”

 

On March 1, 2007 Germany released a 0.55 euro stamp illustrating the façade of the main and newly built synagogue (Haupt Synagogue) in Munich (Figure one). The new Jewish Center (Juedisches Zentrum ) where the synagogue is located is also mentioned above the picture on the stamp.  

The Center, situated in the middle in the center of the Bavarian state capital with the synagogue and museum which is already open, is expected to be fully completed later in 2007. It will include among other things, a day-school, a kindergarten, an Israel culture center, and a kosher restaurant.

The ground-breaking ceremony took place on November 9, 2003 for the synagogue, the museum, and community house. Those refugees, like us Shanghailanders, that were able to flee with their last shirt on from the Nazis, similar to the anti-Semitic postcard shown in Figure three, will recall the day and month (ninth of November) of 1938 referred to as “Kristallnacht” (night of the broken glass) when the Nazi gangs smashed windows and set fire to approximately one-thousand synagogues throughout most of the major cities in Germany (Figure four). It therefore stands to reason, sixty-nine years later, that the date of November 9 was chosen for the opening of the new synagogue, “Ohel Jacob” at Jakobsplatz.

   Let us turn back the pages for a moment and recall when in 1950, 100 Shanghai Jewish refugees, briefly, sheltered at Ellis Island had to return to Germany on account of  United States statutes of limitations. A headline in a Jewish newspaper (Algemeinde Wochenzeitung der Juden in Deutchland, 7/7/1950) read: “Hier Wollen Sie Nicht Bleiben” (Here they do not want to stay)*. Their feelings were no doubt justified. It was their original place of origin that made them stateless (Figure five), and where later millions of their Jewish brethrens were murdered and gassed (Figure two).

It was also far from their imagination at the time, like it was also for many other survivors of the Holocaust, that one day in Munich where Adolph Hitler made the headquarters of the Nazi party, there will be a rebirth of Jewish life in that city with a new Jewish center, the biggest Jewish construction project in Europe.

   The Jewish center came at the right time since many Jews from different countries, especially from Russia, are today returning to Germany. In Munich alone, the Jewish population has doubled over the last decade and has become almost the size as before WW-2.

Munich’s mayor, Christian Ude praised the dedication of the new synagogue as a kind of homecoming for the city’s Jewish population, saying “Munich’s Jews have literally returned to the heart of the city.” It was built only a few steps away from the former main synagogue which was ordered destroyed by Hitler in 1938 (the synagogue is shown among other synagogues that were destroyed on the top left corner of the souvenir sheet in Figure six)

   The center was first conceived in 1987 by Charlotte Knobloch who currently presides over the Central Council of Jews in Germany.

 She survived the Holocaust in Germany by posing as the illegitimate daughter of a non-Jew who resided somewhere in Bavaria. Having lost some of her close relatives in the Holocaust, she understands why some German Jews in Germany and elsewhere have alienated themselves from German culture and German gentiles. However, she states, “we cannot go on living in a ghetto, we have to be part of German life, otherwise our children have no future.”

The new Jewish Center with all the cultural activities combined promises to become again a vibrant part of Munich.
*See “How we left Shanghai – A profound story” under the articles , Rickshaw Website.

Reference:

Germany Deutsche Post (Germany’s Postal Authority)

The Christian Science Monitor, November 10, 2006 edition

Deutsche Welle, culture / September 11, 2006

Philatelic documents from Ralph Harpuder’s collection of Shanghai memorabilia.

 

The stamp illustrated in this report may be obtained by sending a donation to Temple Knesset Israel, 1260 North Vermont Ave, Los Angeles 90029, California

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

Fig. 1 & 6
Fig 3

 

Fig 4
Fig 5
Fig. 2