ShUM World Heritage
ShUM as World Heritage
The ShUM cities are of central importance for Judaism and Jews worldwide and are recognized as a significant Jewish heritage even in the non-Jewish world.
ShUM, that is scholars, that is knowledge and tradition, that is gravestones, mikvaot and synagogues, women's schools and teaching houses. At the same time, the history and tradition of these three cities and their Jewish sites also reflect how Jewish community life and scholarship developed in the midst of the Christian majority society, but was also repeatedly inhibited or even destroyed. ShUM means coexistence and exchange, togetherness and coexistence, flourishing and also decline through expulsions and murders. Jews have contributed to social and religious, economic and social discussions and developments, but also to culture, architecture, law and other disciplines in ShUM. ShUM was like a Jewish house of learning in many buildings and at three locations, the significance of which went beyond the concrete places. The anti-Jewish pogroms and persecutions up to the Shoah also left deep scars - and yet bridges were built across these trenches to care for and preserve the common heritage and to communicate its value to posterity.
UNESCO wants to depict the world in its diversity in the listed world heritage. The World Heritage List contains only a few sites with a primarily Jewish connection. Four World Heritage sites are listed in Israel, including Masada and the Bauhaus architecture in Tel Aviv.
The ShUM cities combine Jewish with European with global history, and are significant for Jews and non-Jews worldwide. The monuments are outstanding and serve as a space of remembrance as well as for one's own self-location in the present.
ShUM offers space for reflection.
ShUM leaves us with central questions also for the present:
- How can and should different cultures and religions live together without giving up their own roots? How does coexistence work? Assimilation or acculturation?
- How is it possible to live again side by side as neighbors after pogroms, destruction and expulsions?
- What do centuries-old comments of a Rashi mean e.g. for today's living together or for questions of business ethics? Why should religious texts and commandments be questioned, discussed and contemporary approaches and reinterpretations be found?
A World Heritage ShUM would do justice to the significance of this unique Jewish tradition.
A World Heritage ShUM would make clear that SchUM is not only history but also present.
The communities founded in Germany and Europe after the Shoah know and reflect the traditions from ShUM.
Taking up, discussing and rethinking these traditions is in keeping with the spirit and erudition of ShUM.