HAUS DER GESCHICHTE der Juden Badens
EIN LEUCHTTURMPROJEKT FÜR BRUCHSAL
 

On this page you will find the latest information on the progress of the project Haus der Geschichte der Juden Badens.


Exposed synagogue foundation walls. Photo: private

 8 October 2019: Expert opinion of the Commission for Urban History on the preservation of the remains of the foundations of the former synagogue.

The Bruchsal Commission for Urban History was commissioned to send the members of the Bruchsal Municipal Council and the Lord Mayor of Bruchsal the "Expert opinion on the question of the preservation worthiness of the foundation remains of the former Jewish synagogue of Bruchsal" prepared by the Commission. The Commission suggests to the municipal council of the city of Bruchsal to include this expert opinion in its decision making regarding the possible development of the area. At the next meeting of the Commission for the History of the City, a possible re-use of the synagogue grounds will be discussed. Here is the text of the expert opinion:


Expert opinion of the Commission for Urban History on the question of the preservation of the remains of the foundations of the former Jewish synagogue Bruchsals

The Commission for Urban History is surprised that the invitation to tender for the plans to be drawn up by architects for the structural design of the former synagogue site does not contain any statements on how to deal with the remaining foundation walls.

The following theses do not apply to the structural design of the former synagogue grounds as a whole. They only deal with the question of whether and to what extent the remaining foundation remains should be preserved.

1. The Commission is of the opinion that the remains of the foundations are of no particular importance in terms of settlement history, archaeology or architectural history. There are better sources for the architectural structure of the synagogue.

2. The situation is quite different from the point of view of memory. More intense than any plan or model, the concrete remains of the building are able to show its central location in the middle of the city and its criminal destruction. In this respect, they possess a special, irreplaceable quality.

3. In order to fulfil their specific commemorative function, however, not all the remains of the foundations must be meticulously uncovered and conserved. Such a requirement would also inappropriately determine the continued use of the entire site.

4. The Commission therefore proposes that at least a part of the remains - as significant as possible - should be preserved and made accessible for inspection in an appropriate manner. It would make sense to supplement this with documentation of the synagogue building in the form of plans and models placed in close proximity.

5. This proposal should be the basis for any further planning for the use of the former synagogue grounds.

6. in order to be able to agree to a complete overbuilding, possibly combined with a complete removal of the remains of the foundations, it would require very convincing arguments that go far beyond financial considerations. For the Commission, they do not yet exist.





Letter to the editor in the Bruchsaler Rundschau of 5 October 2019, page 28:  

"Museum doesn't bring life into the city
To the article: "Chance for second magnets in Bruchsal" (September 19):
Bruchsal does not need a new magnet! A new museum does not bring life into the city. Instead, apartments for young families were to be created in the city, and Bruchsal would become their home. I was delighted to read that Mr. Ayrle, the city planner, is committed to an attractive use. The development of apartments close to the city on the fire brigade site can contribute to the revitalisation and attractiveness of the city centre.
Dr. Erich Trausel Bruchsal"


(Dr. med. Erich Trausel is a Bruchsal dentist who retired some years ago).




October 1st, 2019, Press release of the SPD Bruchsal:

What's the next step for the Synagogue land?
SPD member of the Bundestag informed herself about the project "House of the History of the Jews of Baden".  


The Bruchsal Social Democrats had high attendance. Gabriele Katzmarek from Rastatt, member of the Bundestag and parliamentary managing director of the SPD parliamentary group, and Christian Holzer, SPD district chairman, were on a visit to inform themselves about the planned subsequent use of the Bruchsal synagogue property, today the fire station is located there.

The chairman of the Förderverein (association) Haus der Geschichte der Juden Badens, Dr. Günter Majewski, explained the goals of the association and the current state of affairs. He considered the establishment of a House of the History of the Jews of Baden to be an option for Bruchsal, which would best do justice to the significance of the property, but also to the interests of the Bruchsalers. A commercial development of the property by investors or property developers would be bad for this city and its development, as Bruchsal as a middle centre needed more "stories" than castle or asparagus. It was not correct to erect a commercially driven building on this historic site, where the Bruchsal Synagogue stood until 1938 and was burned down during the Reichspogromnacht, and thus destroy the memory of what had happened. For this reason, the Association for the Promotion of the House of the History of the Jews of Baden became an open house of encounter, experience, learning and research for all parts of the population.

In addition, the Förderverein presented the Emil-Belzner-Haus in its contribution to the ideas competition as a new history house on the Straße der Demokratie. The Municipal Collections (Municipal Museum) are to be newly presented there, the Baden Prison Museum is to be housed there as well as a place for learning democracy. Majewski also referred to the SPD politician Ludwig Marum, who grew up in Bruchsal, went to school and celebrated his Bar Mitzwa in the Synagogue, which was later burnt down. Ludwig Marum was murdered in Kislau concentration camp in 1934 by Nazi henchmen for his advocacy of justice, freedom and democracy.

In her opening statement, Katzmarek, member of the Bundestag, also emphasized the importance of the SPD member and member of the Reichstag, Ludwig Marum. She reported that in the German Bundestag in Berlin Ludwig Marum was commemorated several times, including the "Memorial to the 96 Murdered or Abducted Reichstag Members", which is located in front of the Reichstag building.

Gabriele Katzmarek emphasized that she likes the idea of a House of the History of Baden's Jews, because this House of History would be unique in Baden and would upgrade the city of Bruchsal.




September 13th 2019: The Bruchsaler Rundschau reports: "St.Peter-Förderverein wants to set an example"


The text of the letter of 26 August 2019:

Competition of ideas for the re-use of the fire brigade area

We have noted with interest the proposal of your association to build a "House of the History of the Jews of Baden" (Haus der Geschichte der Juden Badens) on the fire brigade area. We support your initiative.

At a time when anti-Semitism and oblivion of history are on the increase, our city has the unique opportunity to set a sign of remembrance and perhaps even reparation on this historic site. It was Bruchsal citizens who reduced the Jewish place of Worship in their city to rubble and ashes. This should not be forgotten and should be a reminder to the following generations.

As the "Förderverein zur Erhaltung der Barockkirche St. Peter" ("Association for the Preservation of the Baroque Church of St. Peter"), which survived the Second World War unscathed by fortunate circumstances, we want to send a signal of solidarity with you and your Jewish fellow citizens.

This institution (Haus der Geschichte der Juden Badens) should also document the relationship of the predominantly Catholic population to the Jewish community and their behaviour after the destruction of the synagogue.

We would be very pleased if the initiative of your support association would lead to success.

With all good wishes and warm greetings
Support association for the preservation of the baroque church St. Peter












August 11th, 2019: Publication in Wochenblatt-Reporter.de:


https://www.wochenblatt-reporter.de/bruchsal/c-lokales/die-zukunft-des-bruchsaler-synagogengrundstuecks_a110521


Future of the Bruchsal Synagogue Site

FDP member of the Bundestag Dr. Christian Jung advises against making hasty decisions.

At the invitation of FDP Member of Parliament Dr. Christian Jung, a historian, book author and former director of studies, members of the Friends of the House of the History of the Jews of Baden and Bruchsal FDP members and friends of this party met on Thursday 7 August 2019 in front of the Bruchsal fire station in Friedrichstraße to discuss the future of this site.

As the Bruchsal bookseller Dr. Günter Majewski, chairman of the association, explained, the focus of all considerations had to be that the unique, consecrated site of the former synagogue should not be desecrated any further or even again.

The Förderverein therefore pleaded for the preservation of the synagogue foundation walls on the spot and suggested the construction of a House of the History of Baden's Jews, a proposal which, incidentally, came from Ramin Suliman, Chairman of the Jewish Religious Community (Israelitische Religionsgemeinschaft IRG) Baden. However, this House of History should not be another Holocaust memorial, but a reminder of the many contributions made by Jewish fellow citizens to our history, especially Baden history, culture, politics, science and economy. There should also be an open meeting place for young and old.

Majewski emphasized that the House of History in Bruchsal would be a unique project for the whole of southwestern Germany, as a sign of remembrance and reconciliation, but also as a fascinating place of learning and history.

However, Majewski continued that a serious analysis of the historical background of the sale of the synagogue site was an important prerequisite for a serious discussion about the further handling of the site. He fears, however, that the enormous complexity of the subject will be underestimated by the local council and the city administration. Therefore he pleads for more time until a decision is made. You shouldn't just concrete over and say that you're building something now.

Dr. Majewski received support in his considerations from the inviting FDP member of the Bundestag, Dr. Christian Jung. This assumes that all considerations will flow into the decision process of the local council. Personally he advises not to take hasty decisions, but to approach the topic calmly and cautiously and then make a joint decision, because to create something great for the future is, after all, also in the sense of the local council.

He also wondered whether the synagogue site was actually owned by the city in view of the opaque transfer of ownership. He considers the sales negotiations of 1950/51 to be at least ethically and morally questionable from today's point of view. An expert from outside could be of great help to the city here, as he could approach the matter without prejudice or emotion.

Homepage of the association: www.geschichtshaus-badischer-juden.de. Contact: kontakt@geschichtshaus-badischer-juden.de


From left to right: Dr. Christian Jung, Dr. Günter Majewski. Photo: private


Photo: private





August 8th, 2019: BadenTV reports about a meeting of the association with the Member of the Bundestag Dr. Christian Jung:


Bruchsal Synagogue Grounds: Association hopes for postponement of decision

Bruchsal. (ck) It could become a lighthouse project for the city and the countryside: So the advocates of a "House of the History of the Jews of Baden" on the site of the former synagogue in Bruchsal. At the invitation of FDP member of the Bundestag Christian Jung, embers met this morning (...)




August 3rd, 2019: Article in the Reutlinger Nachrichten:

A house of history about Jews?

Bruchsal Municipality discusses how a former synagogue site should be used in the future.

Bruchsal. Günter Majewski considers the previous use of the former synagogue site in Bruchsal to be "particularly macabre". First the synagogue was burned to the ground during the Reichspogromnacht (Night of Broken Glass) 1938. As in other cities, the fire brigade was called. "However, they only made sure that adjacent buildings were not damaged by the flying sparks. The actual fire was not extinguished," said the Bruchsal bookseller with Jewish roots. In the 195ies, the city of Bruchsal built the fire station on the demolished foundation walls of the synagogue. According to Majewski, this was a unique event nationwide.

Next year, the fire brigade will move to another building, the consecrated place will again be free. Now the city is discussing the further use of this land. Majewski is at the forefront. He is chairman of a specially founded support association that is committed to a "House of the History of the Jews of Baden".

No Holocaust Memorial

The association, which has been in existence since June, expressly has in mind an "open house of encounter, experience, learning and research". We do not want a Holocaust memorial, but the rich heritage of Jewish life and its achievements in Baden," he says. Thus the Bruchsal Jews had been of great economic importance for the city since the middle of the 19th century. In addition, other institutions should be at home in the museum. It can be financed with project funding from the state as well as through activities of the association, according to the association's homepage.

Whether the "Haus der Geschichte der Juden Badens" will be built depends on the decision of the local council in autumn. According to a spokeswoman for the city of Bruchsal, the city has initiated a multi-stage information and decision-making process. An ideas competition is currently underway, in which almost 50 proposals for connection use have already been submitted.


July 2019: A lighthouse project
House of the History of the Jews of Baden - a support association has a great idea, chairman Günter Majewski presents it

Foto: Günter MajewskiFoto: Günter Majewski

Their association wants to build a House of the History of the Jews of Baden on the property of the fire station. Why there? What is it about the property?
Günter Majewski: The history of the Jews in Bruchsal goes back to the Middle Ages, is not continuous and only more or less well documented. It is certain and interesting for us that at the beginning of the 19th century the idea arose to build a synagogue where the fire station stands today. The last new building was erected in 1881, an imposing building, renovated in 1926 and destroyed by the National Socialists in 1938. The foundation walls still exist. When it became known that the SEW EURODRIVE was providing a new location for the fire brigade building and financing the construction, the question arose as to what to do with the old property that the city of Bruchsal had acquired at the beginning of the 1950s. For us it is important that something is happening there that is connected with Judaism. It is important to reappraise the very rich history of the Jewish fellow citizens who helped to shape the cityscape. In Bruchsal, as in other cities, synagogues were set on fire during the Reichspogromnacht and the fire brigade was called in order to prevent the adjacent buildings from being damaged by the flying sparks. Of course, the actual fire was not extinguished. And of all places in Bruchsal, only here, a fire station was built on top of it. That seems particularly macabre to us. We are of the opinion that the foundation walls of the synagogue should be exposed again. According to Jewish ideas, the foundation walls should not be covered or built over where a consecrated synagogue once stood. If the current building were to be demolished, the foundations uncovered could perhaps be integrated into a park.


What function should the house have?
Because it is not so desired on the Jewish side either, it should not become another Holocaust memorial, but a worthy memorial and memorial site; not a dead museum, but a real meeting place for people who want to deal with the subject of Judaism in Baden. Of course, there are museum aspects, but it should become a multicultural and multifunctional meeting centre, with seminar rooms and study areas. The focus should be on Jewish culture, but other users could also be brought on board. The adjacent school, for example, which could be equipped with seminar rooms or an auditorium in the building. Other themes from Baden's history could also play a role: the Baden Revolution, the peasant revolts, Joß Fritz from Untergrombach. One could set up a library, document the city's history, the city archive could use rooms and play with them. Personally, I could imagine that one could prepare a floor for guest rooms, for speakers or scholarship holders; that someone could reside there for a certain time, similar to a city clerk. And if the building had the appropriate height, it would of course be very nice to run a restaurant or a café upstairs with a view over the city - which would contribute to financial relief.


Why would such a house suit the city of Bruchsal so well?
We from the association, especially Rolf Schmitt, have researched all Jewish institutions around Bruchsal. There is no such project as we are planning. There are Jewish cemeteries, memorials, simple memorial stones or plaques on houses - or of course the University of Jewish Studies in Heidelberg. But our project is unique even in southern Germany. That would really be a lighthouse project. And of course Bruchsal would be well off, because the time between 1933 and 1945 was hushed up here for a long time. This did not officially take place here. I can remember my childhood, there was a history book of Bruchsal and exactly this time was omitted. With the Haus der Geschichte one would have another cultural highlight, within walking distance of the railway station, next to the baroque castle. Ultimately, it would also be a good thing for city marketing if, apart from the castle ...


... and the Badische Landesbühne ...
... and the Badische Landesbühne would have an additional magnet, another reason to visit the city. That's why the house shouldn't be a dead museum where you can see a few dusty exhibits, but rather offer something handy and lively with the help of modern museum pedagogy. For Bruchsal this would be an unconditional profit.


How did the name: House of the History of the Jews of Baden?
We wrestled for a long time, as we want to call it. We didn't want to call it "the Jews of Baden", that means only those in the area, but we mean the Jews who have something to do with Baden. At first it should be regionally limited. We do not want the claim for the whole of Baden-Württemberg or the whole of southern Germany, that would be a bit ambitious. But here in northern Baden, in particular, there were many Jewish personalities who achieved great things. In Germany, Baden has always been regarded as a model country, also with regard to freedom of religion. The Jews in Baden were among the first to have equal citizenship status. However, there was also massive resistance from the population against Jewish emancipation. There are many ugly documents. In Baden in particular, Jews were full citizens at an early age and many Jewish businessmen had large companies here until the beginning of the Third Reich. The Bruchsaler Farbenfabrik (paint factory), the Meerapfel family, who owned tobacco factories, or the Schrag family. Harry Ettlinger, one of the Monuments Men commissioned to locate the cultural assets hidden by the Nazis, was a grandson of the textile wholesaler Otto Oppenheimer. There is an unbelievable amount you can find out here. You could fill a huge building with interesting biographies.

Dr. phil. Günter Majewski, born in Bruchsal, opened his bookshop in 1982, earned his doctorate in Waldensian art in Württemberg and taught prospective booksellers.

This text appeared for the first time in "Weltgeschichte", this is the motto of the Badische Landesbühne's 2019.2020 season. The publication is courtesy of the Badische Landesbühne.




July 13th, 2019: Once again great interest in the information stand of the Förderverein Haus der Geschichte der Juden Badens e.V. (House of the History of the Jews of Baden).

Once again the second information stand of the support association Haus der Geschichte der Juden Badens, which took place on Saturday, 13 July 2019 in the Bruchsal pedestrian zone, met with great interest. The many visitors of the information stand were informed in detail about the considerations of the association for the further use of the synagogue land. The outstanding possibilities this inner-city "filet piece" offers for the further development of our city beyond the House of the History of the Jews of Baden attracted a great deal of attention, as the course for the urban development of the coming decades can be set positively here.

On this day, the active members of the association were able to welcome illustrious guests from administration and politics in addition to the many visitors to the pedestrian zone and the weekly market.

Olav Gutting, CDU member of the Bundestag, used his presence in the region to inform himself about the idea of the History House. He paid tribute to the social commitment of the members of the Friends and his respect, he found the ideas and the draft for the implementation of the project appealing. His recommendation to the active members was to continue.

The Lord Mayor of Bruchsal, Mrs. Cornelia Petzold-Schick, was also a guest at the information stand of the association. She had the members of the association explain to her in detail the idea of a House of the History of the Jews of Baden, with the POLIN, the Museum of the History of the Polish Jews, being named as one of the role models. The members of the association underlined their view that a history house would do justice to the historical challenge as well as the social necessity. 



June 22nd, 2019: Information stand of the Förderverein in the Bruchsal pedestrian zone.

The information stand of the Förderverein (association) on Saturday in the pedestrian zone was very successful. Many people from Bruchsal had come to the city centre to inform themselves about the ideas of the association at the information stand. At least 250 interested people could be addressed, who not only took the new flyer of the association with them, but also supported an appeal of the association to the mayor and the local council in a signature list. These are to use themselves for a house of the history as a sign of the memory, the reconciliation and the cosmopolitanism of our city community whereby beyond that Bruchsal as middle center is strengthened and the power of attraction and amenity of the city center are increased.

Probably on Saturday, July 13, 2019, the next information stand of the Association for the Promotion of the House of the History of the Jews of Baden will take place in the Bruchsal pedestrian zone from 9 a.m. to 12 noon.



June 12th, 2019: A report of Baden TV.
        

The president of the Förderverein speaks about the future of the Synagogue land, the spokesperson of the community says, the decision about the use of the land will be made by the members of the town council.


https://baden-tv.com/altes-feuerwehrhaus-in-bruchsal-kommt-nach-dem-umzug-ein-judisches-museum/



June 11th, 2019: Press release of the Förderverein


Bruchsal "Förderverein Haus der Geschichte der Juden Badens e.V." (friends' association for the House of the History of the Jews of Baden) founded

The Bruchsal fire brigade will move into its new domicile in the railway city (Bahnstadt) from the beginning to mid-2020. Until then, the Bruchsal-based company SEW-Eurodrive had built a turnkey fire station for our volunteer fire brigade on the city grounds, which the city can use free of charge for 30 years.

Since this became known, there has been discussion in Bruchsal about the further use of the site on which the Bruchsal synagogue had stood since at least 1801. The new synagogue, built in 1881, which like the property was owned by the Jewish community, was burnt down in 1938 and the remains of the wall blown to the ground. In the 1950s, the town of Bruchsal built the Bruchsal fire station on this site. A process unique in Germany. No other German municipality built a fire station on a site on which the local synagogue had previously stood.

The discussions in Bruchsal about the further use of this historically burdened property are very broad in Bruchsal. These range from a senior citizens' centre to a school building and social housing.

The now founded Förderverein Haus der Geschichte der Juden Badens e.V. (House of the History of the Jews of Baden) pursues a different approach, especially for our town a forward-looking one, and advocates the construction of a House of the History of the Jews of Baden at this point, knowing full well that this can only set an example. What has happened cannot be made good again.

The Haus der Geschichte (House of History), supported by the Förderverein (friends' association), is expressly not intended to be a Holocaust memorial. In this lighthouse project, the contributions and merits of Jewish fellow citizens to the history of Baden, to culture, politics, science and the economy are to be honoured. Due to its central location, the synagogue site with its eventful history is excellently suited for fulfilling this claim. In addition, such a supra-regionally important institution strengthens Bruchsal not only as a medium-sized centre. It increases the attractiveness of the city centre, attracts tourists and creates jobs. The association emphasises that it is precisely such a history house that meets the historical challenge and social demands.

Dr. Günter Majewski was elected chairman of the association. Further board members are Eberhard Schneider, Rolf Schmitt and Jürgen Schoner.

On 22 June, the association will present its ideas and proposals to the public for the first time at an information stand in the Bruchsal pedestrian zone. The association can be found on the Internet at www.geschichtshaus-badischer-juden.de and can be reached by e-mail at kontakt@geschichtshaus-badischer-juden.



April 7th, 2019: Rainer Kaufmann: Thinking about the Synagogue ground (in German)



October 9th, 2018: Fundaments of the Bruchsal Synagogue were found beside of the fire station.

https://blog.bruchsal.org/2018/10/09/synagoge-bruchsal-grabung-9-10-2018/


 
 
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