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October 12, 2020 5:25 pm

Human Chain Formed Around German Synagogue in Message of Solidarity to Jewish Community

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ILLUSTRATIVE: A ‘kippah rally’ in Berlin in April 2018 expressing solidarity with Germany’s Jewish community. Photo: Reuters / Fabrizio Bensch.

Residents of the German town of Bad Neuheim formed a human chain around their local synagogue on Friday night in a gesture of solidarity with the Jewish community.

Around 80 people participated in the event, which took place as Jews worshiping inside the synagogue marked the arrival of both the Sabbath and the final days of the Sukkot holiday.

Initiated by the Society for Christian-Jewish Cooperation Wetterau (GCJZ), the chain included local politicians and church representatives.

Those present were addressed by the Mayor of Bad Neuheim — a town of 30,000 people north of the city of Frankfurt — Karl Kress, who warned against the “shadow of antisemitism.”

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“We stand together against antisemitism and discrimination,” the mayor declared. “Above all we stand together for our values ​​of tolerance and openness, freedom of opinion and belief.”

Volkhard Guth, dean of the Protestant Church in Bad Neuheim, referred to the first anniversary of the attack on a synagogue in the city of Halle by a neo-Nazi gunman in which two people were killed.

“As Christians we have to say: ‘Antisemitism is a sin against God!'” Guth told the crowd. “The Halle victims remind us that antisemitism is always a crime against humanity.”

The crowd was also addressed by Manfred De Vries of the Jewish community in Bad Neuheim, who praised the turnout.

“What would have happened in 1938 if a similar action had taken place in front of the synagogues? I think it would have made a difference,” De Vries remarked. “These are different times. Today’s Germany is a democratic country and that is worth fighting for.”

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