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A century of Jewish life in Berlin: Fraenkelufer turns 100

A project from Friends of Fraenkelufer
in Berlin, Germany

The Berlin synagogue on Fraenkelufer turns 100 this year. A documentary and portrait project is collecting a century of memories.

W. Glucroft
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About this project

On 17 September 1916, the Fraenkelufer Synagogue in Berlin, Germany, was opened. The original structure could seat more than 2,000 congregants. This was burned down in 1938 by the SS and Nazi supporters. Shortly thereafter, the synagogue, like all Jewish institutions, was shut, and most of Berlin's Jews were deported and murdered in the Holocaust. The remains of the synagogue reopened immediately after the War, hosting High Holiday services for survivors, and Jewish members of the American and Russian armed forces. This historic event was photographed by famed Magnum founder, Robert Capa.

Fraenkelufer has struggled to remain open over the decades, despite the central role it's played in the Berlin Jewish community. However, as Berlin itself has found new life since the fall of the Berlin Wall, so too has Fraenkelufer. A new, young generation of Jews has come to the synagogue, founding a nonprofit to see this place of religion, culture and community be restored to its rightful place.

This new wave of congregants founded the Friends of Fraenkelufer (FdF) in 2015. In its capacity as a fully tax-deductible nonprofit charity under German law, FdF is planning a series of events to celebrate:

- An official gala ceremony on 4 September
- A concert on 17 September as part of the city's annual Long Night of Religions
- An exhibit of Robert Capa's photographs, in cooperation with the International Center of Photography in New York City
- An outdoor exhibit combining portraits and interview excerpts of people who have seen Fraenkelufer and the Berlin Jewish community change over the decades
- A documentary film of these living witnesses to history

Please help us make this historic occasion and testament to survival and revival possible!