Friday, 31 August 2007

Major German synagogue reopened

Germany's biggest synagogue has reopened in a special ceremony attended by political leaders and Holocaust survivors from around the world.

The building in the east of Berlin, topped with a stunning blue dome, has been described as one of the jewels of Germany's Jewish community.

The place of worship was built more than one hundred years ago.

This story is the triumph of hope over experience. The Nazis attempted to exterpate an entire "race" of people (a term I still find offensive). The Reich was supposed to "Jew free", but despite pursuing this goal vigorously, even when defeat was inevitable (diverting resources to killing Jews rather than defending their borders) it didn't work.

Years of neglect under the communists also did not end with this building disappearing, and now it is reborn, with "one of the fastest-growing Jewish communities in the world".

I am an atheist. I am not really a Jew - just, as Dr Johnathan Miller so memorably remarked, jewish. My father was a Jew (to be accepted by Jews as such you have to have a Yiddisher Momma) and his family appears to have come from a village called Rees. In Germany.

So this story gladdened my heart. "The best revenge is living well."

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