Berlin synagogue restored to pre-war glory

BERLIN, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- The largest synagogue in Germany has reopened after restoration to its condition before Kristallnacht, a night of anti-Jewish violence in 1938.

One of the guests at the reopening ceremony Friday at the Ryke Street Synagogue in Berlin was Rabbi Leo Trepp, who preached there in the 1930s, The Jerusalem Post reported. The rabbi, now 94, was sent to the Sachsenhausen concentration camp.


"It is a miracle that there are Jews in Germany again," Trepp said. "And the synagogue on Rykestrasse, which survived two different regimes, is the symbol of that miracle."

The synagogue was heavily damaged on Kristallnacht or the Night of Broken Glass but was not burned, apparently because a fire would have spread to nearby buildings. The congregation continued to hold services there until 1940.

When World War II ended, the building was used to house Jewish refugees until 1953 and then became the principal synagogue in East Berlin.

Ruth Golan and Kay Zareh, the architects of the $7 million reconstruction, used old black-and-white photographs to restore the building.

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