Jewish life: calls for class visits to synagogues | free press


Munich (AP) – In the fight against anti-Semitism, former president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Charlotte Knobloch, and Bavarian anti-Semitism commissioner Ludwig Spaenle consider visiting classes in synagogues wise.

She would like the Munich synagogue tours to become even more popular with school classes and adult education centers after the Corona crisis, Knobloch said ahead of the “1,700 years of Jewish life in Germany” ceremony in Munich on Sunday. “Anyone who wants to address the issue of Jew-hatred in society should be stimulated by education,” she emphasized.

Spaenle also welcomes the visits of school children to the places of worship. However, the former Bavarian culture minister does not think it wise that classes should do this, as is the case with concentration camp monuments. There are several thousand secondary schools and about a million students, on the other hand there are only 13 Jewish communities in the Free State. “That is simply not feasible logistically,” says Spaenle. In the case of visits to the memorials of the concentration camps, these are firmly anchored in the Bavarian curriculum.

The state commissioner said that in addition to the synagogues still used by the municipalities, there are many other places where cultural heritage is present and available for educational offerings. In the case of, for example, the former synagogue of Ichenhausen in the Swabian district of Günzburg, exemplary offers for classes have long been around, Spaenle said.

Knobloch said she has long advocated for stronger anchoring of citizenship and democracy education in schools. This should start in primary schools. Many people know too little about Jewish life and rarely come into contact with Jewish culture. “The gaps in knowledge are then often filled with assumptions or prejudices, and that even with children,” says the chairman of the Israelite community in Munich and Upper Bavaria.

As part of the anniversary year, the state capital is hosting an open-air exhibition “Jewish Stories from Munich and Upper Bavaria”. The show wanders alphabetically through Jewish life on eight advertising columns; there are three exhibition boards per column. The show can be seen through October 8.

In recent years, the number of anti-Semitic crimes in Bavaria and in the other federal states has risen sharply: recently the Kripo in the Free State registered about 350 crimes per year, mainly right-wing extremists were the perpetrators. Anti-Jewish incidents were also recorded at numerous demonstrations by opponents of the state’s corona measures.

At the opening of the exhibition on Sunday, Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter (SPD) emphasized that Jewish life and culture in the Bavarian capital are once again taken for granted. “This is a great gift, the value of which cannot be overstated.”

The earliest evidence of Jewish life in the territory of present-day Germany dates back to the year 321. At that time, the Roman Emperor Constantine passed a law that allowed Jews to be appointed to the Cologne city council. This year in Germany there are about 1000 events about Jewish life.