MUNICH - Nearly 70 years after Adolf Hitler declared Munich's main synagogue an "eyesore" in the center of his power base and personally ordered it torn down, the city's Jewish community celebrated a return to the heart of the southern German city.
Yesterday, the 68th anniversary of Kristallnacht, Torah scrolls were marched, flanked by hundreds of onlookers and secured by some 1,500 police officers, through the winding, cobblestone streets of downtown Munich to a newly built synagogue in the heart of the city.
Charlotte Knobloch, president of Germany's main Jewish group and a Munich native who survived the night when synagogues and Jewish businesses across Germany were attacked, praised the new synagogue and community center as a statement that Jews had survived and were thriving in Munich.
"It has always been my great wish to open the Ohel Jakob synagogue, Munich's new main synagogue, on November 9," Knobloch said . "Because today we can show the entire world that Hitler did not succeed in annihilating us. There are Jews in the former capital of the Nazi movement."
"There are synagogues that have been rebuilt, synagogues that have been renovated, synagogues that have been reconstructed, but those are totally different from building a center from scratch for a growing Jewish community," said Rabbi Israel Singer of the World Jewish Congress. "That builds hope."