Archeological Dig in Cologne Unearths Ancient Jewish History and Exposes Layers of Prejudice

Latent Anti-Semitism Has Caused Pushed Back on Project

haaretz

By Haaretz

Published April 06, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

“We are fighting over history here,” said Dr. Sven Schuette, as we toured an archaeological dig in this city in western Germany in late March. “They claim the Jews fell from the sky, that they are merely guests here, who came and left. But what can you do, the findings we discovered in the field prove otherwise,” he added excitedly, as he pointed out the ancient synagogue and ritual bath that were uncovered in the heart of the city in recent years.

Schuette, 60, specializes in the archaeology of the Middle Ages for the city. From his office in the oldest section of Cologne, he oversees the excavation that has had both local residents and elected officials in an uproar for several years. At the center of the controversy is opposition both to use of public funds for the project and to the extended digging that it has entailed in the heart of the city.

Schuette believes that those opposed to the excavations are motivated also by latent anti-Semitism, of the sort he says that’s common in Germany. “They think it would be more appropriate to build a nice plaza here, rather than a Jewish museum,” as is planned, he adds. Some people have tried to sabotage the dig and have left suspicious items − such as a suitcase that was feared to have had explosives inside − at the entrance to the excavation; others send him threatening letters. “They are not neo-Nazis, just foolish people who do not understand history,” Schuette says.

Read more at Haaretz.com.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.