What is Commemorated?
The Main Synagogue in München destroyed in June 1938
The monument stands at the place of the Main Synagogue and is intentionally put on the pathway so that a bypasser would stumble in. The memorial consists of five different-sized granite blocks brought from quarries of Flossenbürg, where prisoners from the Flossenbürg concentration camp worked in 1938-45. The monument alludes to the ruins of the synagogue.
The block looking toward the Maxburgstrasse has a Magen David inscribed with verse 18 of Psalm 74 in German and Hebrew. On the backside, Tablets of the Law with the Decalogue and a seven-branched menorah are carved in the stone. Under the menorah is verse 8 of Psalm 74 in Hebrew.
The side looking toward the Maxburgstrasse inscribed with verse 18 of Psalm 74 in German and Hebrew:
dies der Feind
74. Psalm / Vers / 18
Translation: Remember this, how the enemy has mocked you, Lord (Ps. 74:18)
Above and below of the Magen David, a German inscription in square letters reads:
Hier stande die 1883-87
Sie wurde in der Zeit
im Juni 1938 abgerissen
Am 10. Nov. 1938 wurden
in Deutschland die Syna-
Translation: Here stood the Main Synagogue of the Jewish community, built in 1883-87. In the time of persecution of Jews, it was destroyed in June 1938. On 10 November 1938, in Germany, synagogues were burnt down.
On the backside, Tablets of the Law with the Decalogue (first two words in Hebrew) are carved in the stone. A seven-branched menorah surmounts verse 8 of Psalm 74 in Hebrew:
Translation: They burned all the meeting places of God in the land (Ps. 74:8).
On the left side of the monument, another menorah surmounts verse 7 from Psalm 74 in Hebrew:
Translation: They burned your sanctuary to the ground; they defiled the dwelling place of your Name (Ps. 74:7).
A metal plaque with the name of the artist on the back of the monument reads:
Gestaltet 1969 von
Translation: Designed in 1969 by Herbert Peters.
The Jewish community of Munich (Die Israelitische Kultusgemeinde München und Oberbayern K.d.ö.R., IKG)
In the beginning of June 1938, the Jewish community of Munich (IKG) was forced to sell the synagogue (est. 1883-1887, arch. Albert Schmidt) for a symbolic price on the pretext of traffic-related needs. The synagogue was demolished in June 1938, i.e. before the Kristallnacht.
In 1964, IKG bought back the plot of the former synagogue, and in 1966, the competition for a memorial to dedicate the destroyed synagogue was announced. Among 70 artists that took part in the competition, IKG chose the design by Herbert Peters. The unveiling ceremony took place on November 9, 1969, on the 30th anniversary of the Kristallnacht.
In 2006, the plot of the former synagogue was built up; currently, it is occupied with the extension to the Munich department store Oberpollinger that was erected just several meters behind the memorial.
Kraus, Wolfgang, Berndt Hamm and Meier Schwarz, eds. Mehr als Steine… Synagogen-Gedenkband Bayern (Lindenberg im Allgäu, 2007-2010), 377.
Pfoertner, Helga. Mit der Geschichte leben. Bd. 1 (München: Literareron, 2001), 185-191., http://www.ns-dokumentationszentrum-muenchen.de/files/pfoertner1.pdf (accessed December 27, 2021)