BERLIN (Sep. 28)
With impressive ceremonies in which the participants included Berlin’s Mayor Willy Brandt, federal officials, and leaders of the Jewish community, a new, municipally built Jewish Community Center was dedicated here yesterday. The Center is on the Fasasenstrasse, off the fashionable Kurfuerstandamm, replacing the old Great Synagogue of Berlin which occupied the site until destroyed by the Nazis on “Crystal Night, “November 9, 1938.
Handing the key to the Center to Heinz Galinski, head of Berlin’s Jewish community, Mayor Brandt expressed the hope that the new structure “will become a symbol of tolerance.” Ernest Lemmer, Minister for All-German Affairs in the federal government’s cabinet at Bonn, pledged the government’s continued fight “against any new return to barbarism.”
Mr. Galinski recalled the glorious past of old Berlin’s Jewish community which numbered 175,000 Jews. Only 7,500 Jews live here now. “The building on these blood-drenched grounds,” said Mr. Galinski, “is a document of a new spirit in Germany. ” He warned, however, that there are still some Germans “who still preach anti-Semitism.”
The West Berlin Municipal Government contributed 2,000,000 marks (about $476,000) to finance the construction of the new center. The portals of the old, destroyed synagogue were saved from the wreckage, and now frame the entrance to the center. Inside the cornerstone are photographs of the old Great Synagogue, as well as earth from the soil of Israel.
The center includes a 600-seat auditorium, a library, classrooms and a refectory. The official consecration of the center, in traditional Hebrew ritual, will take place just before the High Holy Days. On November 9, the 21st anniversary of “Crystal Night,” an exhibit will be opened, illustrating through photographs the Nazi persecutions of Jews during which 177 Jewish synagogues were destroyed and, ultimately, 6,000,000 Jews were exterminated.