Interview with Dr. Ludwig Spaenle

Dr. Ludwig Spaenle about his visit to the former synagoge Muehlhausen:

The former synagogue Muehlhausen and the opening ceremony for our events celebrating the anniversary “321–2021: 1700 years of Jewish life in Germany” on 11th of July 2021 left a lasting impression. In the current issue of the journal Denkmal Information Bayern of the Bavarian State Office for Monument Protection Dr. Ludwig Spaenle, commissioner of the Bavarian state government for Jewish life and against anti-Semitism, for memory work and historical heritage, looks back on the anniversary year “1700 years of Jewish life in Germany”.

Being asked which of the events has moved him the most, he explicitly names as an example the former Synagogue Muehlhausen. On the one hand he had not believed his eyes when he had entered the inconspicuous building through the barn door and had seen the decoration of the Prayer Room. On the other hand the Jewish prayers said by Dr. Salomon Almekias-Siegl, rabbi of the Jewish Community Bamberg, had been a goose-pimples moment.

The relevant passage of the interview in English translation:

“Which [event] has moved you the most?

I could name quite a lot. But I am particularly moved by an experience in Muehlhausen near Höchstadt a. d. Aisch. There stands an inconspicuous, dilapidated house of the 18th century with a huge barn door broken through the façade. And when you walk through it, you don’t believe your eyes! Behind the door hides a huge room with stucco ornaments at the walls and ceiling fresco!

The former synagogue, which was used as warehouse after 1938.

Exactly. Some time ago an initiative has been founded to preserve it as a place for memory and education. I was invited there for an exhibition opening. The rabbi of Bamberg was there, too. And for the first time since 1938 a Jewish prayer was said in the building. A goose-pimples moment!”[1]

These remarks about building and event confirm the importance of our memory work.

[1] Interview: Juliane Grimm-von Wedemeyer, „Das Bewusstsein für diese Denkmäler ändert sich“, Interview mit Dr. Ludwig Spaenle, in: Bayerisches Landesamt für Denkmalpflege (Hrsg.), DI. Denkmal Information Bayern Nr. 176, 2021, S. 52–53; English translation by Kristina Fleischmann.

The complete interview in German and the entire issue no. 176 of Denkmal Information Bayern can be read here.