Discuss: Prof. Dr. Maria Böhmer – President of the German Unesco Commission, Bonn, Florence Fischer – Art historian at Heidelberg University, Dr. Susanne Urban – managing director of the association SchUM-Städte Speyer, Worms, Mainz e.V.
In the Middle Ages, Mainz, Worms and Speyer experienced a unique blossoming of Jewish life. They are the SchUM cities, named after the first letters of their Hebrew names Spira, Warmaisa and Magenza. Here was the center of Ashkenazi Jewry. The most prominent scholars of the time taught in the Talmud schools in Mainz and Worms. Jewish cemeteries and ritual baths as well as the remains of synagogues still bear witness to this high Jewish culture on the Rhine.
But at the same time, the SchUM cities are also places of terrible pogroms that cruelly ended this epoch of fruitful coexistence. Nevertheless, the Rhineland-Palatinate government applied to UNESCO for the inclusion of the three cities in the World Heritage List. The aim is to protect and preserve the architectural remains and the spiritual legacy of this Jewish life.
What are the prospects for the application for the SchUm cities? And do places of worst persecution of Jews really belong on the list of world cultural heritage?