Monday, May 31, 2010

Germany: Arsonists Attack Medieval Worms Synagogue, but no Lasting Damage Done

Worms, Germany. Synagogue after May 17, 2010 arson (showing damage to 17th vestibule to women's hall). Photo: DDP

Worms, Germany. Synagogue, 17th vestibule to women's hall seen from Judengasse.
Photo: Samuel Gruber, 1989.

Germany: Arsonists Attack Worms Synagogue, but no Lasting Damage Done

Five months after arsonists serious damaged the historic Etz Hayyim Synagogue in Crete, another restored historic synagogue has been attacked - but fortunately there was no serious damage. On May 17th fires were set around there the synagogue in Worms, Germany, apparently by pro-Palestinian protesters. The local fire department responded quickly. Reports say that police found eight copies of a letter that read, "Until you give the Palestinians peace, we will not give you peace."

Worms, Germany. Synagogue in in pre-1938 photos.

The Worms Synagogue in its post-World War II rebuilt condition, is the oldest intact synagogue in Europe. It consists of several sections built at different periods, beginning in 1170, when they rebuilt the building from 1034. The men's hall (1175) was divided by two columns on the east-west axis into parallel aisles of equal size. The ark stood at the east end; the bimah was between the columns. A women's annex, built at right angles to the men's section on the north side, was added in 1213. The synagogue is no stranger to violence. The first synagogue was destroyed during the Christian First Crusade of 1096. Centuries later, the rebuilt medieval synagogue was destroyed by the Nazis. It was totally rebuilt from the rubble in one of the first successful post-Holocaust synagogue restoration projects. It was reconsecrated in 1961 and is used as both a museum and a locus for occasional religious services.

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