ShUM-Sites of Speyer, Worms, Mainz – Jewish heritage for the world

Did you know that…


is an acronym out of the first letters of the medieval Hebrew names for the cities, even going back to the Latin names?

  • Shin (Sch) = Shpira = Speyer
  • Waw (U) = Warmaisa = Worms
  • Mem (M) = Magenza = Mainz

ShUM: more than simply an abbreviation and certainly not a simple crunching together of the names of three cities. ShUM is a full name – along the Rhine River and in the world. ShUM was the cradle of Ashkenazic Jewry.

Discover the Kehillot ShUM and the Nomination Dossier for UNESCO

In the Middle Ages, the Jewish communities in the cities of Speyer, Worms and Mainz on the Middle Rhine formed an association that deeply influenced the architecture, culture, religion and jurisdiction of the Central and Eastern European Jewish diaspora and continues to do so today. Monuments - synagogues, women's shuln, teaching houses, ritual baths - and the unique cemeteries in Worms and Mainz, together with religious traditions, bear witness to the immense importance and innovative power of the SchUM communities.
Here you can read the Nomination Dossier in English language: Nomination Dossier

Imagefilms on ShUM-Sites

Underneath you will find our Teaser with wonderful images from ShUM as well as the sshort version with English subtitles.
A long version with english subtitles is available under:

»I do not have to explain it to you, but in Ashkenazi Jewish history the Rheinland is the cradle of European Jewry. To be around in the ShUM cities is connecting to the earliest traditions of the pioneer Jews who entered Europe through Rome and Italy. It connects us physically to the Chasdei and Chachamim Ashkenaz, who shaped (world) Judaism so prominently.«
(Dannie Klompsma)

The Synagogue in Worms. A journey through centuries. A documentary by SchUM-Städte e.V.

Further clips on ShUM

Deutsche Welle TV in ShUM, 2020

Future for Religious Heritage in Europe, Krakau 2018

New Synagogue Mainz

Becoming a Supporting Member of ShUM-Cities Ass.

The Shum-Cities: A sponsoring membership can e.g. support the development of educational and museum programs, film screenings, publications and other events. Sponsoring members are informed about strategies and concepts within the framework of the UNESCO application and are invited to meet with other members.

Voices for ShUM: Engagement and Empathy

»Our membership campaign seems to be fruitful. The persons and personalities who engage themselves in the Shum-Cities Ass.are unified in their wish to experience how the Jewish heritage on the Rhine becomes a UNESCO World Heritage.«
(Mayor Michael Kissel, President of ShUM-Cities Association from 2015 to July 2019)

»When I grew up in Worms, with a view of the cathedral and the Jewish cemetery, as a child, I was able to walk and play between these two remarkable sites. It was unavoidable to form a relationship to this specific Christian-Jewish past. Again and again, as a child, I looked at the small stones on the weathered, obliquely and crooked gravestones stuck in the ground in the Jewish cemetery and tried to imagine what Worms probably looked like a thousand years ago when this cemetery - the oldest in Europe - and the Romanesque Cathedral were erected. Now I have been living in a city with a Christian-Jewish past again, for almost 20 years: in Mainz, the second of the three SchUM-Cities. Reason enough for me to contribute to the preservation and care of this particular heritage.«
(Petra Gerster, editor ZDF)

»One still feels the rabbinic genius loci in the ShUM-Cities. An excursion to these places always gives me inspiration. It is therefore a concern for me to promote the legacy of the ShUM-Cities with my membership.«
(Rabbi Dr Elisa Klapheck, Frankfurt/Main)

»In the 1000 years of Jewish history, monuments were built in the cities of Speyer, Worms and Mainz, which still mirror the significance of Jewish life beyond the borders of our region. In order to preserve this memory, we support the ShUM-Cities Associations’ application of this important cultural property for the title of UNESCO World Heritage.«
(Thorsten Mühl, Chairman of the Board Sparkasse Mainz)

»For many centuries, the Jewish communities of the Rhine towns of Speyer, Worms and Mainz formed a closely interwoven unity. Important scholars developed religious, philosophical and political ideas that were often taken over as binding decisions by the communities. The formative intellectual power of ShUM for Ashkenazi Jewry can not be overstated. Despite the destruction by the National Socialists between 1933 and 1945, there are still significant tangible witnesses to Jewish history in Speyer, Worms and Mainz: Synagogues, ritual baths and the cemeteries. To make sure that these treasures are recognized in their value and maintained in the future, their inclusion in the List of World Heritage is so important. Only in this way can they form the visible and tangible background to the literary heritage in liturgy, preaching, poetry and the order of life from ShUM.
(Prof. Dr. Dr. Otto Böcher, Worms, perished in 02 2020)

ShUM digital

Discover and experience the innovative power of the three Jewish communities in Speyer, Worms and Mainz since the Middle Ages with the help of a free app (Google and Apple Store).
With the ShUM app, you can experience the monuments in the Judenhof in Speyer and the synagogue district, as well as the old Jewish cemetery "Holy Sand" in Worms. On the finish line to the hoped-for recognition of the "ShUM Sites Speyer, Worms and Mainz" as UNESCO World Heritage Sites at the end of July 2021, you can digitally experience the unique monuments and cemeteries in ShUM.
Different perspectives on Judaism - traditional, orthodox, liberal - and thought-provoking debates about the role of women, the Jewish community's reaction to the Crusades, or the special building forms in Worms and in the Judenhof Speyer open up in this app. You will be guided through the monuments and cemeteries in a playful, educational and definitely also with funny and touching moments.
In German and English (text and audio)!
App Stores

Exhibition "ShUM on the Rhine - From Middle Ages to Modernity"

Discover and experience the innovative power of the three Jewish communities in Speyer, Worms and Mainz since the Middle Ages. In the exhibition at Rashi-House Worms, in the accompanying catalog and now also in the free app (Google and Apple Store).
The Exhibition: Explore
The App: Read and listen

ShUM - Artist in Residence

The ShUM Sites Speyer, Worms and Mainz, nominated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites are unique and shine out into the world with their monuments, cemeteries and the stories associated with them. We hope for the positive decision of UNESCO at the end of July 2021.
ShUM has always been a place of Jewish cultural creativity and innovation. We would now like to take this up again. A first-time artist-in-residence program has been created, supported by the state and the three cities, which is international in its call for proposals! Up to three project grants will be offered for the realization of an artistic project dealing with the history of the ShUM communities and their religious, cultural and architectural heritage. A public presentation of the completed project is sought (exhibition, concert, reading, performance, etc.). An artistic approach to the ShUM heritage is desired, taking into account the history and present of Judaism and its views.
For more information, please see the call flyer.
Questions shall be addressed to:

A Shining Coin for ShUM

With the shiny ShUM Rhine Coin, you can not only carry ShUM on the Rhine with you and feel connected to the unique sites of Jewishhistory and innovation, but also get added value for yourself. More under: Info (in German)
The Taler costs 14.90 EURO and is available at: Shop
Also available at the Tourist Info Worms and the Tourist Information Speyer. LINK follows!

Echo from the Past

Michael Sill lives in the USA. Between 1964 and 1967 he was stationed in Heidelberg as a member of the American armed forces. During these years he travelled all over the world through all those countries that did not belong to the Eastern Bloc and the Soviet sphere of power. One day, in 1966, he and his girlfriend at the time, Janet, were driving to Worms. Together they visited the old Jewish cemetery »Heiliger Sand«. Both were overwhelmed by this unique, but at that time still rather forgotten place. Sill: »It was a lonely place, as if all people were absent and as if he had been put into a deep sleep.« Two photos mirror this visit. Michael Sill returned to the USA and studied history at the University of Washington. In spring 2020, he renovated his house and found the two photos. In April 2020 he wrote to the SchUM-Städte e.V. and sent the pictures as an attachment to his e-mail. These pictures from 1966 tell of a time when the inauguration of the synagogue, which was recovered after the Shoah, was already five years ago. In 1966, only a few Jews lived in Worms. The Jewish sites, however, were destinations for tourists, whether non-Jews or Jews. In addition, many US soldiers stationed in the Federal Republic of Germany at the time were interested in the history of this old city and thus also marveled at the old Jewish monuments.
Michael Sill: »I also accompanied students from the USA to the Dachau Memorial. I am not a Jew, but when I saw the cemetery in Worms, and it looked so abandoned, I thought a lot about it and wanted to know why there was no Jewish community any more«.
Today, Jews again live in Worms, and they are members of the Jewish Community Mainz. Thousands of interested people visit this Worms »house of life«. Jews associate here with SchUM and the great Jewish tradition. Non-Jews see the centuries-old Jewish presence in Germany reflected.

ShUM is networking across Europe - ShUM as part of an EU network

In August 2018, the starting signal was given: Representatives of Jewish heritage sites in Krakow, Wroclaw, Mantua, Hijar, Worms and the »Foundation for Jewish Heritage« in London got together and began, under the direction of the Partner in Krakow, the Malopolska Institute of Culture, to submit an application for EU funding.
As part of the Europe for Citizens program, they decided to build Moreshet – Jewish Heritage Network. The named cities got together to network on their extraordinary Jewish heritage, which has a variety of similarities and interdependencies, and to gradually involve other cities and institutions. In December 2018 the funds were approved.
The overarching goal is to build a »Jewish Heritage Network« of regions and cities that understand Jewish heritage as part of their cultural heritage in order to facilitate and consolidate dialogue and exchange on the preservation of Jewish heritage and its presentation. Fostering a common European approach to Jewish heritage intercultural dialogue is as much at the forefront as raising awareness of the dangers of intolerance and prejudice. There are (a) ways of working, (b) best practices, (c) new models and (d) experiences of successful and less successful projects. Professionals working with Jewish heritage throughout Europe should guarantee an even more professional and consistent approach to dealing with and preserving Jewish heritage. Following a kick-off seminar in July 2019 in Hijar, Spain, a seminar in Worms followed in November 2019 and another in Wroclaw in February 2020. Moreshet – Jewish Heritage Network project creates a network of regions, towns and cities that are driven by the aspiration to identify and share best practices and to create a channel for communication between partners. Among the already established networks dealing with Jewish heritage, this one distinguishes the participation and involvement of local administration (local governments). Leader of the project is the Malopolska Institute of Culture in Cracow,, the partners are: Wrocław (City of Wrocław), Worms (SchUM-Städte eV), Hijar (Ayuntamiento de Híjar), Mantova (Comunità ebraica di Mantova) and London (Foundation for Jewish Heritage).
Website under:

Future for Religious Heritage: Conference, May 2021

Future for Religious Heritage (FRH) is delighted to announce its seventh biennial international conference in May 2021.
The conference will provide a forum for policy debate and exchange of knowledge among decision makers, professionals and volunteers in the field of heritage and culture. The 2021 conference theme »Europe’s Living Religious Heritage« will ask questions about the heritage we received from past generations and which we still use. Living religious heritage, in continuous, extended or even new use, can help us to understand the present and to make choices for the future, contributing to the well-being of both heritage and to society as a whole.

Information FRH