NAfter initial investigations, the police assume that the arson attack on the Ulm synagogue was a planned and prepared act. “Anyone who walks through the city on Saturday morning with a bottle filled with a flammable liquid is sure not to do so by mistake,” said a spokesman for the FAZ police headquarters in Ulm. The public prosecutor’s office is investigating attempted arson. An investigation team is currently busy evaluating the traces, including viewing the video recordings. Actually, the alleged perpetrator should be seen on the recordings.
A police witness reported that a stranger set fire to the prayer house on Saturday morning at around 8 a.m. The witness immediately called the fire brigade and the police, minutes later the fire brigade extinguished the flames. The property damage was limited to a sooty facade including a pane of glass. The police are investigating attempted arson.
Only a few days ago, anti-Israeli posters were placed in front of the synagogue in German and English, which is why the anti-Semitic arson attack could have a similar, anti-Israeli background, especially since it occurred on the anniversary of the beginning of the Six Day War. On June 5, 1967, the Israeli Air Force carried out a pre-emptive strike against some Egyptian ground positions, one reason for this being the deployment of Egyptian troops on the border with Israel.
The Ulm synagogue was only completed in 2012, it is located in the Weinhof, in the immediate vicinity of the Schwörhaus and thus a few meters southwest of the Ulm Minster. The Jewish community had already worked closely with the police when planning the construction in order to protect the synagogue as well as possible against attacks. “We are still there regularly,” said the police spokesman. The fact that little has happened now is certainly also due to the architecture of the synagogue. In September 2017 there was already an attack on the synagogue: At that time the facade was kicked in by an apparently anti-Semitic lone perpetrator.
Synagogue built in 1868
The construction of the new and architecturally sophisticated synagogue goes back to the initiative of Rabbi Shneur Trebnik, who came to Ulm in 2000 and wanted to take account of the growth of the Jewish community. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the immigration of many Eastern European Jews brought about a noteworthy community life in Ulm. The then Mayor of Ulm, Iwo Gönner, and the member of the state parliament, Martin Rivoir (both SPD), as well as the other three parliamentary groups in the local council, had also significantly supported the new building initiative at the time. Trebnik has also been one of two police rabbis in Baden-Württemberg since last year.
The old synagogue in Ulm, built in 1868, was destroyed by the National Socialists on November 9, 1938; 141 Jews were deported from Ulm to the concentration camps by the National Socialists. During the industrialization in particular, some Jewish manufacturers played an important role in the city where Albert Einstein was born. The textile manufacturer Lebrecht, for example. Among the tradespeople, the famous “Pallas shoe store” founded in 1914 by the Fried family stands out.
The new synagogue – designed by the Cologne architect Susanne Gross – also includes a women’s gallery, a ritual bath (mikveh), a community hall, a library, a youth room and a kindergarten with an enclosed terrace playground. The Jewish community in Ulm has around 450 members today, and its catchment area stretches from Lake Constance to Heidenheim.
This Saturday at 6:45 p.m. there is to be a solidarity rally in front of the synagogue, in which, for example, the Mayor of Ulm, Gunther Czisch (CDU) and Michael Blume, the anti-Semitism officer of the green-black state government, want to take part. “It cannot be a question of making the usual never-again-speeches on the occasion of this attack, just as important must be the question of how we can better combat the anti-Semitic hatred that is spreading through digitization in social media,” said Flower of the FAZ Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) also wants to call the Jewish community to find out about the situation in the evening. He condemned the attack.