Munich Jewish Centre on St. Jakobsplatz

MUNICH JEWISH CENTRE: Seventy years after the Holocaust of World War Two practically wiped out Munich’s Jewish population, the community once again has a cogent presence in the city.

This resurgence is mainly thanks to decades of Jewish immigration from Russia and Eastern Europe.
A trio of buildings on Jakobsplatz form the community’s hub:
A Gemindehaus (community centre), a Jewish Museum and a stunning new synagogue.

Brilliant design

munich-jewish-centreThe new Munich synagogue. The lower section was built to resemble the
Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.

The centrepiece is the Ohel Jakob (Jacob’s Tent) Synagogue, in which a massive glass brick rises out of a jumbled-up oblong wall of stones. The stones are travertine, a kind of limestone deposited in hot springs, and the glass “brick” represents the tent, a symbol of Moses’ 40 years of wandering the desert.
The massive main door was built in Budapest and lists the 10 Commandments in Hebrew. Inside there’s space for about 550 worshippers. The synagogue is connected to the community centre via an underground “Hallway of Remembrance” in which the names of 4500 Munich Jews killed during the Third Reich are listed.

Rough past

The Hallway of Remembrance is located underground partly because of security concerns. In 2003 German police had already thwarted a Neo-Nazi attempt to bomb the cornerstone laying ceremony for the building. The synagogue opened on 9 November, 2006, the 68th anniversary of the Nazis’ Kristallnacht (Night of the Broken Glass) pogrom.
This dark day in Germany’s history saw synagogues burned to the ground, Jewish businesses attacked and thousands of Jews arrested, beaten and killed. The former Munich synagogue (also called the Ohel Jakob) was close to the site of the new but has since been turned into an underground parking lot.

Time to eat?

Also at the site is the Restaurant Einstein, which is, of course, named after one of Southern Germany's most famous Jews. Here you can enjoy kosher and/or vegetarian meals in elegant surrounds, lunch menu offers start at €6.90.

The Details:

Location St. Jakobsplatz, Munich. It’s a few hundred metres south-west of Marienplatz.
Tours of the synagogue are given Monday to Thursday at 12pm, 4.30pm and 6pm. On Sundays there are tours at 12pm, 2pm and 4pm.
Phone
089 202 400 100
Website (in German) www.ikg-m.de
Directions Take any S-Bahn to Marienplatz and walk south-west for 5m past the Rindermarkt square and the Stadtmuseum.

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