Nuremberg: Synagogue at the Hans Sachs-Platz, 1874 – 10/08/1938, Architect: Adolf Wolff; © TU Darmstadt
Nürnberg: Synagogue at the Hans Sachs-Platz, 1874 – 10/08/1938 (ceiling); © TU Darmstadt
Nürnberg: Synagogue at the Hans Sachs-Platz, 1874 – 10/08/1938 (gallery); © TU Darmstadt

Nürnberg: Synagoge am Hans Sachs-Platz
1874 – 10.8.1938
Architekt: Adolf Wolff
© TU Darmstadt

Synagogues in Germany – a virtual reconstruction

The Synagogues in Germany exhibition was initiated by students of the Darmstadt University of Technology. After the 1994 arson attack on the synagogue in Lübeck they studied the 19th and 20th century architecture of the synagogue. They intended not to build a monument to human suffering and cultural loss, but to counteract oblivion with an active knowledge of what had been lost.

The exhibition space mirrors the complexity of the topic: the historical developments leading to the night of the pogroms, the period of escalation in 1938 an the reconstruction as a work-in-progress since 1994. The exhibition Synagogues in Germany intends to send a signal against the rise of racist or anti-Jewish ideologies. The idea is to use one of the most difficult chapters of German history constructively With the knowledge of what has been lost it makes one of the most difficult chapters of German history accessible to a wide audience.

The Reconstruction

Die virtuellen Rekonstruktionen wurden im Jahr 2000 zum ersten Mal in Bonn präsentiert. Aufgrund des internationalen Interesses konzipierten die beteiligten Institutionen eine tourneegerechte Version der Ausstellung. Bisher wurden 16 Synagogen aus 14 Städten rekonstruiert. Die genaue Zahl der 1938 zerstörten Synagogen ist nicht bekannt; sie wird auf 1400 geschätzt.

The virtual reconstructions were first presented in 2000 in Bonn. The exhibition stirred great interest abroad, and so the involved institutions created a touring version of the exhibition. 16 synagogues from 14 cities have been reconstructed so far. The exact number of the synagogues destroyed during the Third Reich is unknown - the estimate counts about 1400.

The exhibition visualizes the history and architecture of the synagogues at work stations, as slide shows and in a 3-D-CAD-film. The reconstructions are made complete by a documentary film and historical photographs. Books and the Synagogue Internet Archive of the Darmstadt University of Technology provide additional information.

After its premiere at the Bundeskunsthalle Bonn the touring exhibition Synagogues in Germany stopped at the Jewish Diaspora Museum in Tel Aviv (2004) and the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills (2010 and 2015) . From 2016, it will be additionally presented in three Canadian cities.

Plauen: Synagogue at the Senefelder / Engelstrasse, 1930 – 09/11/1938 (west gallery); © TU Darmstadt
Plauen: Synagogue at the Senefelder / Engelstrasse, 1930 – 09/11/1938 (interior view); © TU Darmstadt
Plauen: Synagogue at the Senefelder / Engelstrasse, 1930 – 09/11/1938 (Aron ha-Kodesh); © TU Darmstadt
Plauen: Synagogue at the Senefelder / Engelstrasse, 1930 – 09/11/1938 (exterior view); © TU Darmstadt
Plauen: Synagogue at the Senefelder / Engelstrasse, 1930 – 09/11/1938 (symbols); © TU Darmstadt

Plauen: Synagogue at the Senefelder / Engelstrasse
1930 – 09/11/1938
Architect: Fritz Landauer
© TU Darmstadt

Partner

An Exhibition of the Darmstadt University of Technology, Department IKA in Architecture (Manfred Koob), Darmstadt and the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany, Bonn realized by the Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations, Stuttgart and with special support by the Cultural Foundation of Deutsche Bank and the Deutsche Bank Americas Foundation.