Synagogue gets new Star of David: Görlitz's moment of glory

A good 80 years after the Nazi pogrom, the synagogue in Görlitz is once again getting a Star of David. The Torah scroll is also set to return next.

A Star of David hanging from a crane

A 600-kilogram Star of David hangs from a crane and is installed on top of the synagogue Photo: Robert Michael/dpa

BERLIN/GORLITZ taz | The last hurdle is only the weather. Assuming calm wind conditions, a crane will lift the Star of David, symbol of the Jewish faith, back onto the top of the hill at 12 noon on Monday Görlitz synagogue heave where he fell nearly 84 years ago. Although the interior of the synagogue was partially destroyed during the Kristallnacht pogrom on November 9, 1938, the building itself remained largely undamaged. Firefighters extinguished the fire.

But the next morning, strangers had climbed onto the roof and chopped off the star. He fell on the street and was smashed to the applause of bystanders. the Görlitz news rejoiced that "the Star of David has finally disappeared, which up to now as a stranger disturbed the townscape of our towering towers".

Now he's back. A new star weighing 600 kilograms will enrich the silhouette of Görlitz. The synagogue was reopened on July 12, 2021 after extensive reconstruction, into which 12.6 million euros flowed. reopened as a cultural forum. What was striking: Although even light switches were reconstructed, a new Star of David was not planned.

There were different versions of why this was planned. Because the memory of the desecration should be kept open, was one. Because the Jewish community in Dresden recommended it as the legal successor to the Görlitz community, since the house was no longer designed as a synagogue, another said. Neither seemed really conclusive.

Mayor and City Council unanimously for the Star of David

"Put the Star of David back on the synagogue!" That is why the Görlitz Synagogue Promotion Group, which accompanied the reconstruction, demanded in July 2020. The appeal led to a rethink in the town hall. Octavian Ursuwho has been mayor with a CDU party book since 2019, spoke out, unlike one of his predecessors, vehemently in favor of the star.

But the situation in the city council was complicated, since the AfD has been the largest parliamentary group with 13 seats since the 2019 local elections. However, the Görlitz right-wing extremists also demonstratively supported the project and so the city council unanimously voted in favor of restoring the star in February 2021. The project was to be financed with donations.

And the donations for this came together faster than expected in 2021, because Jewish life is now stirring again in Görlitz. "Members and friends of the Jewish community," emphasizes Alex Jacobowitz, presented the city with a donation of 70,000 euros.

Jacobowitz, born in New York in 1960, is the chairman of the Jewish Community, an association with 28 members. In addition, there was another 11,000 euros that were raised in the city and outside of it. The town hall then commissioned a metalworker from the Görlitz area to produce a Star of David.

The Torah is also to return

In August 2021, Jacobowitz celebrated the first service after the desecration with almost forty guests in the synagogue. Another ceremony is expected to take place on Monday. In its 2020 appeal, the Förderkreis emphasized that the star would also be an expression of the fact that Jewish life is welcome. The town hall invites you to the official ceremony on November 9th in the synagogue.

For Alex Jacobowitz, the reconstruction is not yet complete. In December 2021, fragments of a Görlitz Torah, which had been considered lost since the night of the pogrom, showed up in town. In the meantime, Jacobowitz has bought another Torah from a Saxon junk dealer. His idea: to insert the Görlitz fragments into these scrolls in order to equip the synagogue with a permanent Torah again. Jewish life is welcome in Görlitz. From now on, the star will announce this.

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