Monday, 3 January 2011

A star to remember

This photo was taken in the Frauenkirche in Nurnberg, Germany. The church was built between 1352 and 1362 on the site of a Jewish synagogue, which was destroyed in a pogrom after the locals were unhappy about the Black Death. For centuries it was the official display place for the regalia (crown, scepter, etc.) of the Holy Roman Emperors.

In 1945 Nurnberg was almost destroyed in bombing raids. It was not a military target, but the Allies were sending a message to this town that had so fervently embraced Hitler in the early days of his power. The Frauenkirche was badly hit and had to be almost totally rebuilt after the war.

When they redid the church, they put a Star of David on the floor directly in front of the main altar.

The signage explaining the star is a not-so-subtle reminder that this was not one of Christianity’s finest hours. It reads “Am Anfang ist das Pogrom” – in the beginning is the pogrom. It’s a twist on the opening words of the Gospel of John, which in German say “Am Anfang war das Wort” – in the beginning was the word.

The sign says on December 5, 1349 the Jewish Quarter (today the Market Square) was destroyed and 562 Jews were murdered.

Here's the long view of the altar area, with the Star of David visible to the right of the bench.