German High School Students Demonstrate Against Antisemitism Outside Old Synagogue in Essen
A group of high school students demonstrated against antisemitism on Thursday in the city of Essen, where a building that formerly housed a synagogue was shot at last week.
Nearly 600 students from the Frida Levy School in Essen gathered outside the Old Synagogue carrying banners that declared “Against Antisemitism.” The demonstration came ahead of a resolution condemning the attack which is expected to be passed at a meeting of the Essen city council on Wednesday.
Local media outlets reported that the demonstration had been initiated by the students themselves, assisted by their teachers. “The Old Synagogue would like to thank the aware and committed students for this supportive initiative,” Uri Kaufmann, head of the Old Synagogue, told broadcaster WAZ.
The school attended by the students is named in honor of one of Essen’s most prominent Jews who was murdered during the Nazi Holocaust. During the early part of the Twentieth Century, Frida Levy was an outspoken advocate for women’s rights who ran a popular artists salon. She was deported to her death by the Nazis in 1942.
Four shots were fired at the Old Synagogue last Thursday night according to police investigators. A Byzantine structure that was first consecrated in 1913, the Old Synagogue survived the ravages of Nazi rule and now houses a museum and memorial center. The shots were fired at the neighboring rabbi’s house, which is now the site of the Salomon Ludwig Steinheim Institute for German-Jewish History at the University of Duisburg-Essen.
Police officers are meanwhile questioning a 35-year-old German-Iranian man in connection with the outrage. The man is reported to have instigated a fellow Iranian to carry out an arson attack against a synagogue in Dortmund earlier this month, while he himself is accused of having hurled a molotov cocktail at a Jewish school in Bochum on Nov. 17.