1.700 years of Jewish life in Germany

1.700 years of Jewish life in Germany

2021 is an anniversary year for Judaism in Germany: In 321 AD, the Roman Emperor Constantine made a public declaration in Cologne that allowed Jewish people to hold public offices and work in administration. This is considered to be the oldest evidence of the existence of Jewish communities in what is now Germany. On this occasion, which is now exactly 1.700 years ago, the cult Westmünsterland in Vreden went in search of stories about Judaism in the Borken district. With a kind of showcase cabinet, the cultural and historical center in Vreden joins the nationwide theme year “1.700 years of Jewish life in Germany”. The sources, which are on display in showcases until mid-April, show, for example, the fate of Jews in the Borken district, the culture of remembrance there and where in the region there are still houses of prayer today.
“Jews have lived in the area of ​​today's Borken district since the Middle Ages,” says Corinna Endlich, head of kult. “As evidence of this, we issue, among other things, registers with the names of Jews who were eligible to vote and who were available for election to the synagogue boards in the district at the time,” she reports. Ballot papers with different handwriting give the presentation a very personal touch, she adds.
Above all, the exhibition sheds light on private fates. "Original files provide insights into the exclusion and deportation of Jewish citizens," explains Renate Volks-Kuhlmann, archivist in the cult Westmünsterland. “But the records also tell of escapes and a successful escape, for example,” she adds.
The extensive knowledge that the cult holds can be seen in a showcase with numerous books about Judaism in Westphalia and Jewish places in the district. “All of this is part of the cultural heritage of the western Münsterland,” stresses Corinna Endlich. "We are always happy when those interested in kult become scientifically active", she emphasizes and adds: "In this context, we again call for people to deal with the history of the region and to use the sources of our cultural institution for this." After registering on Tel. 02861 / 681-4289, you can work in the kult library and archive, Kirchplatz 14 in Vreden, from Tuesday to Friday between 11 a.m. and 15 p.m.

About Berthold Blesenkemper

Berthold Blesenkemper is the founder and editor-in-chief of the platform Made in Bocholt