30 Years of the former synagogue association

30 years of the former synagogue association

The joy was written on the face of dagmar vobkuhler and her management team of the forderverein ehemalige synagoge kitzingen: the hope that the dozen or so chairs between the exhibition walls in the old synagogue would fill up on sunday on the occasion of the association’s 30th anniversary was more than fulfilled. Again and again, new chairs had to be carried into the hall. And in the end, a rather intimate hour of celebration became a genuine tribute to the work of the association.

This was helped not least by a rather illustrious crowd of visitors: headed by josef schuster, vice president of the central council of jews in germany. In addition to the oberburg mayor siegfried muller and his predecessor, former mayor bernd moser, another former mayor, rudolf schardt, also attended the ceremony. Under his aegis, after long and controversial discussion, the renovation of the synagogue building was planned and also the construction started. On the last day before his retirement, schardt recalled, the topping-out ceremony was celebrated. Among the guests was walter reed, born in mainstockheim as werner rindsberg, who by good fortune escaped the fate of his father and his two brothers, who probably all perished in the concentration camps.

In his speech, peter kneer spoke about the history of the association. As early as the 1970s, the bernbeck district had campaigned for the renovation of the former kitzingen synagogue. In 1982 the "forderverein ehemalige synagoge" was founded, which worked for the preservation of the building with an appropriate use. Kneer reported on conversations with politicians who had completely different priorities at the time and first had to be sensitized to the issue.

Creating awareness of history, not only among the mandate holders, but also among the population – this quickly developed into "another, a political moral dimension," according to the keynote speaker. "Information had to be collected and made known which had to do with the significance and history of the jewish community in kitzingen"."

Exhibitions, information events, documentations, conversations with contemporary witnesses, the establishment of a library and an archive – the work of the association became extensive and then also had the effect "that the attitude, the intellectual ambience among the political decision-makers as well as among the population improved over time," according to kneer. In 1989, the city council decided to renovate the former synagogue, which was done between 1990 and 1993.

One of the high points in the history of the association was the celebration of the "reopening", to which, not least after "energetic advocacy" by the association, a number of former kitzingen jews were invited and took part in the great event.

The work of the association did not end there. Today, it is still important to educate, collect and process documents, organize exhibitions, publish books, organize lectures and music evenings – to keep alive the memory of jewish life in kitzingen and its significance – and to help a little so that history does not repeat itself.

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