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Rededication of the Synagogue at the Jewish Hospital in Berlin-Wedding


Photo: Rededication of the Synagogue at the Jewish Hospital

Rededication of the Synagogue at the Jewish Hospital in Berlin-Wedding (1946)
© Jewish Museum Berlin, donated by Klaus M. Zwilsky

In the period just after the war, the reawakening of Jewish community life in Berlin was a tentative affair, the future of Judaism in Germany being extremely uncertain. The Jewish Hospital in the Iranische Strasse in Berlin’s district of Wedding became the center of community work. Here, in the small hospital synagogue, a Soviet army rabbi conducted one of the first services of worship in Berlin since the end of the war on 11 May 1945.

The synagogue’s festive rededication took place later on 3 June 1946, when the Torah scrolls were carried ceremoniously through the synagogue.

Alongside Rabbi Martin Riesenburger, the cantor Oscar Ruschin, and a number of dignitaries and Allied Military, Erich Nehlans, president of the Jewish Community of Berlin in the early postwar years, also attended the service. He is in the middle of the photograph wearing glasses and prayer shawl.
Second from the right is Erich Zwilsky, who had been a chemist at the Jewish Hospital since 1941 and was head of administration for a brief period after the war. He emigrated with his wife Ruth and son Klaus via Sweden to the USA in 1946.

This photograph is one of a large collection donated to the Jewish Museum by Klaus Zwilsky. He also had a personal connection to the synagogue: His Bar Mitzwah had been held there in July 1945, the first in postwar Berlin.

Object Details:
Jacobson-Sonnenfeld Presse-Illustrations Berlin
Rededication of the Synagogue at the Jewish Hospital
03.06.1946 Berlin
Silver gelatine print on baryt paper
17,5 x 12 cm

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