The Great Synagogue in the German city of Munich has not been completely lost despite the Nazis destroying it 85 years ago.
Worthy News reports large fragments of stone columns and tablets have been salvaged from a river eight kilometres from where it originally stood. It appears that around 150 tonnes of the synagogue rubble was used as landfill for underwater infrastructure in the mid-1950s.
Construction workers have recovered multiple pieces of massive stone tablets including one inscribed with the Ten Commandments and a large section of the Torah shrine. The city is arranging to transport all the recovered stones to a storage area and will continue searching the river for more segments of the synagogue. It will be a complex task with the Ten Commandments stone alone weighing more than half a tonne.
Bernhard Purin, director of the Jewish Museum in Munich, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the museum has many historical photos of the synagogue which will help the identification of the architectural fragments. “I am hopeful that in a few months, we will see that more parts of the Torah Ark are among the stones,” he said.
The museum director explained that the discovery is “quite important to me for two reasons. On one hand, the main synagogue was one of the biggest in Germany. And on the other hand, it was a document of the positive Jewish life in Germany from the 1870s to 1933. The broken stones are also a monument for the Holocaust.”
Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial, says the Great Synagogue in Munich was the first synagogue the Nazis destroyed in Germany. On July 8, 1938, Jewish community members were given just a few hours’ notice for volunteers to spend that night removing the Torah scrolls and ritual objects before its destruction.
Image: Jüdisches Museum München