Attended by the German consul and additional dignitaries, the Jewish community of Russian Kaliningrad (formerly German Königsberg) gathered for an emotional event commemorating the night in which the unique synagogue – rebuilt 80 years later – was burned to ashes by the Nazi regime.
“In this exact location, 84 years ago,” said Rabbi Avraham Baruch Daitch, Chabad’s emissary to Kaliningrad “the infamous Kristallnacht took place. This is the only synagogue in Russia that was completely destroyed by the Nazis, and as you can all witness, it has been restored to its previous glory.”
“Many years ago, the glass in the windows of this synagogue was broken, today the windows are intact, but most importantly, the lights are on showing that the Synagogue is active. Jews gather and unite for Shabbat and holidays, Torah and tradition classes, and Jewish cultural events. This is our true response to the Nazis,” concluded Rabbi Deitch. “This is why we celebrate on this important night.”
Among the speakers addressing the ceremony, which included prayers and speeches, were the Chief Rabbi of Kaliningrad David Shwedik, the historian and author Mr. Victor Shapiro, community leader Mr. Leonid Filtamn, the German consul Mr. Hans Gutner Metran, and the director of the local Chabad House Rabbi Avraham Baruch Daitch.
The event was accompanied by Jewish songs performed by the synagogue’s choir.