Events in Retrospect

Step by step towards the Enscription as World Heritage. A lecture series in Mainz, Worms and Speyer in January and February 2019

In 2004 an initiative started, promoted by the mayor of the city of Worms, Michael Kissel, with the Jewish Community of Mainz and the association Warmaisa, to recognize the SchUM-sites as World Heritage Site. Since 2006, the State of Rhineland-Palatinate works intensively on this task - together with the three cities, the Jewish Community Mainz, the National Association of Jewish Communities of Rhineland-Palatinate and the Jewish Community of Rheinpfalz. They aim that the unique monuments and their inspiring and influencing architecture to be listed as UNESCO World Heritage. In January 2020, the application will be submitted to UNESCO. A year before this, representatives from various institutions explained the current status of the proposal and underlined the importance of SchUM - the monuments, but also of the intangible heritage.
The first event - held in Mainz - was opened by Minister Prof. Dr. Konrad Wolf: »After many years of preparation and meticulous detail work, we are now on the home straight. In September this year, we will present the UNESCO World Heritage Application for the Schum sites for completeness review ... The present results of the scientific expertise confirm our assessment that the ShUM-Sites are an exceptional World Heritage in Rhineland-Palatinate.« Dr. Stefanie Hahn (Ministry) underlined: »In no other place in Europe is there a comparable spectrum of Jewish monuments and sites from the 10th to the 13th century. They illustrate the cultural achievements of European Jews in the formation phase of Ashkenazi Jewry in a special way.« Prof. Matthias Untermann from the University of Heidelberg and Dr. Christoph Cluse from the University of Trier reported on the scientific theses of the application. Dr. Peter Waldmann of the Jewish Community Mainz: »There is a Jewish story beyond the Shoah.« ShUM, however, is »not a history of harmony, nor is it a story of the wonderful life between Jews and Christians.«
The public interest was extremely large and also highlights the curiosity about these outstanding monuments and the Jewish life in past and present. Venues for the series of lectures organized by the Ministry of Science, Further Education and Culture and the Directorate-General for Cultural Heritage in Mainz were the Landesmuseum and in Worms the Worms Congress Center.

Lecture in Wiener Library, London, January 30, 2019

In the context of the exhibition »Shattered« on the Novemberpogroms 1938, Susanne Urban was invited to give a lecture.
Remembering and analyzing the so-called Crystal Night, the Pogroms from November 1938, is important as it touches upon many layers. The night when synagogues were set on fire, the mornings when everyone could see and smell what happened, these days were also the next step towards mass deportations – after the deportations of Polish Jews from Germany in the end of October 1938. The pogroms had a huge impact on the spaces and places where synagogues were desecrated, burnt and then finally torn down and removed from the city structure, the city’s image and the city’s commemoration. The pogroms were a turning point and a further escalation in German politics, which the Jewish World will remember forever. The burning synagogues are, much more than the thousands of shops, flats and community buildings, that were destroyed and vandalized, an iconographic reminder of this turning point. Immersing into the History of Worms Synagogue, its grandeur in the past, its destruction and how and why and by whom it was rebuilt is also a glimpse into the brightest and darkest eras of Germen-Jewish History and how Germany acted Post-Shoah - which was presented in the lecture in a multiperspective way.