September 15th, 2008

New synagogue inaugurated in Krefeld

Krefeld – On 14 September, Krefeld 's new synagogue was inaugurated after over four years of building work. The inauguration ceremony was attended by the President of the Central Council of Jews in Germany , Charlotte Knobloch, and the Prime Minister of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Jürgen Rüttgers. "We can be thankful, infinitely thankful for being able to witness this," said Rüttgers. He stressed that the new Jewish Community Centre built 70 years after the destruction of the previous synagogue clearly demonstrated the failure of the Nazis' plans. Charlotte Knobloch referred to the new Centre as "an adequate and impressive place" which would enrich the Jewish and non-Jewish life of the city. "Here we are, in the middle of society, and never again will we let anyone expulse us from here," she declared. The construction of the Community Centre cost €12 million funded by North Rhine-Westphalia and private donations. The Jewish Community of Krefeld has about 1,100 members most of whom come from the former Soviet Union, mainly from the Ukraine . Johann Schwarz, the head of the Community, said the immigrants were "the future of the Community" and emphasised that it was due to them that the public no longer perceived Jews only as victims of the Holocaust. (15.09.2008)