1700 years of Jewish life in Germany – SWR Aktuell


Speyer, Worms and Mainz were important centers of Jewish life in Germany in the Middle Ages. But Jewish history also goes back much further in Rhineland-Palatinate.

Soldiers are not allowed to be billeted in synagogues! This decree by Emperor Valentinian I in Trier in the middle of the 4th century AD is considered to be one of the oldest evidence of Jewish life in Rhineland-Palatinate.

 The  very first documented Jewish community in what is now Germany’s territory was 321 in Cologne, i.e. exactly 1,700 years ago.

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Synagogue in Worms (Photo: dpa Bildfunk, picture alliance / dpa | Uwe Anspach)

Synagogue in Worms

dpa Bildfunk

picture alliance / dpa | Uwe Anspach

Monuments of Jewish history in Rhineland-Palatinate

In the Middle Ages, the Jewish communities of Speyer, Worms and Mainz were the intellectual center for culture, religion and jurisdiction of the Central and Eastern European Jewish diaspora. © www.de24.news The ir synagogues, ritual baths, teaching houses and the cemeteries prove the importance of the so-called ShUM cities – a designation that goes back to the old Hebrew city names. This year it will be decided whether the ShUM cities will be included in the Unesco world cultural heritage.

Man with kippah in front of the Bundestag in Berlin (Photo: Imago, imago images / Christian Spicker)

100,000 people of the Jewish faith live in Germany today.


imago images/Christian Spicker

“Jewish life belongs to us!”

“It is a gift and a great gesture of trust,” said Minister of State for Culture Monika Grütters (CDU), “that after the crimes of the Nazis and the Holocaust, there is Jewish life and everyday Jewish life in Germany. Jewish life belongs to us!” At the same time, she warned that anti-Semitic and right-wing extremist provocations would be displayed more and more unrestrainedly.

After the attack on the synagogue in Halle in 2019, the countless attacks on rabbis and Jewish believers, the insults and insults, the festival year seems to come at exactly the right time. It offers the opportunity to make Jewish life in Germany visible and to appreciate it.

A Hanukkah chandelier can be seen in the synagogue in Worms.  (Photo: dpa Bildfunk, Uwe Anspach)

A Hanukkah chandelier can be seen in the synagogue in Worms.

dpa Bildfunk

Uwe Anspach

Music, readings and discussions at the ceremony

With more than 70 events, the Rhineland-Palatinate state government wants to show how multifaceted and important Jewish life in Rhineland-Palatinate was and still is. Special highlights are a concert tour with Israeli musicians and a reading by the Berlin writer Maxim Leo from his new novel “Where we are at home” about the history of his Jewish family. Prime Minister Malu Dreyer (SPD) said: “We are also looking to the present and the future of Jewish life. Together we are making it clear that we have no place for any form of anti-Semitism.”

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years Jewish life Germany SWR Aktuell


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