The foundation

The New Synagogue Berlin – Centrum Judaicum Foundation was founded in July 1988. Its mission was to “rebuild the New Synagogue in the Oranienburger Straße in Berlin for present and future generations and create a center for preserving and fostering Jewish culture.”

The symbolic cornerstone for the restoration was laid on November 10, 1988. In the seven years that followed, the New Synagogue Berlin – Centrum Judaicum Foundation restored only the parts of the synagogue that had survived, so that history’s scars remain clearly visible. This included reconceptualizing the space that resulted from tearing down the synagogue’s main room in September 1958. The former inner wall and the remnants of the brickwork leading to the synagogue’s main sanctuary are protected by a glass construction. The outline of the building, as well as the supporting pillars for the women’s gallery and the organ, are marked by granite blocks.

 

The formal opening took place on the evening of May 7, 1995 in the presence of the German President, the chairman of the Central Council of Jews in Germany and representatives of Berlin and the Jewish community in Berlin. In his speech, Hermann Simon, director of the New Synagogue Berlin – Centrum Judaicum Foundation, recalled the hope voiced by the chairman of the Jewish community in Berlin at the time, Carl Heymann, at the topping out ceremony on July 17, 1861 “that this house be modern in form and content.” Hermann Simon noted that “these words are still as valid as they were then, as well as the demand that the house be completed ‘to praise the Lord and adorn the city.’”

The restoration was completed in May 1995, under very different political conditions from those prevailing at its start. The reconstructed complex, centered around the synagogue with its golden dome, is now located at the center of a united Berlin, the capital of a united country. The dome rises high above the city, restoring a part of Berlin’s former silhouette.

The rooms in the partially restored New Synagogue and the adjoining buildings were to be turned into a place of learning, teaching, exchange and prayer. In addition to the permanent “Open ye the Gates – The New Synagogue Berlin 1866-1995″ exhibition, the Foundation has presented important temporary exhibitions since 1995. Scholarly research is conducted in its archives and library. The archives receive approximately 1,300 inquiries every year from Germany and around the world. Through its many activities, the Centrum Judaicum has become a link between the past and the future—both a memorial and a center for the preservation and promotion of Jewish culture.

Additional information about the past and current history of the building can be found in:

 

 

Hermann Simon (in cooperation with Daniela Gauding), Die Neue Synagoge Berlin “. . . zum Ruhme Gottes und zur Zierde der Stadt,“ Berlin 2011 [Jüdische Miniaturen Band 44].

https://www.centrumjudaicum.de/cjudaicum_wp/publikationen/die-neue-synagoge-berlin-zum-ruhme-gottes-und-zur-zierde-der-stadt/