Speech in Bruchsal on the handover of the petition
Report in the Bruchsaler Rundschau from April 8, 2021
Jewish descendants want to have a say in Bruchsal synagogue site
from Christina Zäpfel
They all have roots in Bruchsal. But the National Socialists made sure that their families, if they survived, today live scattered all over the world. Jewish relatives now want to have a say in the design of the Bruchsal synagogue grounds.
Today they live scattered all over the world, in Europe, the USA, in Israel or even in South America. 131 people with Jewish roots in Bruchsal have written a petition which has now been handed over to Mayor Cornelia Petzold-Schick. It is about the re-use of the old fire department grounds, where - until its destruction in 1938 - the synagogue was located, which has been discussed for years.
"In 1995, I stood for the first time deeply touched at the grave of my great-grandparents in Bruchsal," Ulrike Schüler reports. She is one of four petitioners and has made contact with many other relatives. Her own relatives were named Straus, and the Nazi rule from 1933 to 1945 ensured that the family, if they survived, is now scattered all over the world. "I was overjoyed that there was a grave I could visit," Schüler explained during the presentation.
She shares this often very emotional, native feeling for her own roots in Bruchsal with the other signatories. Schüler reported that she was fascinated by the fact that a place of Jewish life might be created again at the historic site of the synagogue.
Jewish-Christian culture should be in the foreground
It is important to the signatories to bring the long common Jewish-Christian culture to the fore. That is why they support the proposal of the specially founded sponsoring association "House of Jewish History and Culture of Baden". Also the recent signals of the mayor and the administration, which go in a similar direction, met with goodwill.
The administration wants - assuming the approval of the municipal council - to combine a place of Jewish life with a center of civic education for firefighters and an extension of the commercial college.
"We, the descendants of Bruchsal's Jews, would like to be included in the further planning," the petitioners wish. The Jewish families had been a significant part of Baden society before 1933, according to a letter enclosed with the petition.
Another signatory can imagine a site of education about racial hatred and anti-Semitism being built in Bruchsal. "There is no better place for this than the former synagogue, the spiritual home of the Jews in Bruchsal," writes another.
Bruchsal's mayor sees petition as tailwind for her idea
Bruchsal's mayor, Cornelia Petzold-Schick, promised to send the petition to the municipal council and to disseminate it nationally, for example, when it comes to further voting in the district or in the state. She understands the petition as "tail wind" for her idea.
"Let's do it, let's make something good out of it."
Günter Majewski, Friends of the "House of History"
Günter Majewski from the "Haus der Geschichte" association emphasized that it was also important to his association to remember the fate of the Jews in the city "not only with a plaque". He envisaged a research center in which the history of the Jews and their great contribution to society would be reappraised. "Let's tackle it, let's make something good out of it," he appealed.
In addition to Ulrike Schüler, who lives near Hamburg, the four petitioners are P. Odenheimer from Switzerland, R. Schrag from the USA and S. Grosz from England.
SWR (German TV) report on the handover of the petition:
Press release of the City of Bruchsal
Petition of the descendants of Bruchsal Jews handed over
Lord Mayor accepts comments on the re-use of the Old Fire Station area
Bruchsal (PM) | "We want a place of remembrance, a place where visitors from all over the world can learn about the history and culture of the Jews of Baden. This should not be a memorial, no place of remembrance of the Holocaust, but should show the many exciting lives of the Jewish families of that time", says U. Schüler. Together with P. Odenheimer (Basel), R. Schrag (New York) and S. Grosz (London), she is one of four initiators who have compiled statements on the subsequent use of the site of the old fire station/former synagogue. In total, 131 short and longer statements were collected. Ms Schüler compiled these into a kind of petition, which was handed over to Mayor Cornelia Petzold-Schick at a digital press conference. It was handed over on behalf of the initiators and the numerous signatories by Dr. Günter Majewski, Chairman of the Association (Förderverein) for the Promotion of the House of History and Culture of the Jews of Baden.
Cornelia Petzold-Schick was impressed and moved by the statements from all over the world. The signatories live in Germany, Europe, the USA, Israel, South America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. They are all descendants of Bruchsal Jews. "The petition strengthens us in our approach and is tailwind for our conception," said the Lord Mayor. She placed the petition in the overall context of her concept for the subsequent use of the area of the old fire station / former synagogue. The core idea of this concept is to create a triad on the site - with a place for Jewish life in Baden, a state-political place of education, among other things for the fire department, and space for an expansion of the commercial school. At the same time, the design of the site also offers possibilities for commercial use such as gastronomy, housing and work (administration).
At the request of the initiators, the petition will be passed on to the city councilors in the upcoming committee meetings. It thus represents a further building block in the process of defining an after-use concept for the site of the old fire station / former synagogue. Due to the sensitive history of the site, the city council had defined a seven-step process. As a next step, the concept presented by the administration will be discussed in the town council before a decision is made within the board.
Press release of the city of Bruchsal from April 12, 2021