Viatcheslav Kantor, President of the Russian Jewish Congress and the World Holocaust Forum Foundation, appealed to the world to unite in the fight against xenophobia in his address after the opening of the new Ohel Jakob synagogue in Munich. The opening marked 68 years since the tragic events of die Kristallnacht, when, on the night of November 9-10, 1938, pogroms against Jews occurred throughout Germany.
“Opening a new synagogue is an important event in light of the escalation of xenophobia and anti-Semitism in Russia, Germany and many other countries,” said Kantor. He noted that it is vital for Jews living in different countries to maintain close ties and support each other.
The new synagogue was built on the site of an old Jewish synagogue that was destroyed by the Nazis in 1938. The official ceremony was attended by hundreds of guests, including German President Horst Köhler, members of government, politicians and community leaders. In addition to the synagogue, the new building houses a Jewish community centre and a Museum of Jewish History.
“Official support is instrumental in combating xenophobia,” continued Kantor. “As we know, nationalism can take over only when it is backed by authorities. Without their support, it stands no chance of winning in society.”
Kantor stated that “anti-Semitism and xenophobia are diseases of civilization.” “Ourtaskistostoptheirspread. To this end, we must speak more often and louder about the Holocaust and confront any attempts to deny the Holocaust, no matter who initiates them.”
“The forum in Kyiv, which took place on September 27 this year, was initiated and organized by us. It was the second year in a row for the gathering, similar to the Forum “Let My People Live!” in Krakow in 2005, and it made us think about the possible consequences of anti-Semitism and xenophobia if we don’t counteract these evils,” Kantor emphasized.
The third forum is scheduled for November 2008, in Berlin, Germany, to commemorate 70 years since the tragedy of die Kristallnacht.