WARSAW, Poland (AP) – The great synagogue in Warsaw, which was destroyed by German forces during World War II, made a brief resumption as a revelation of light in memory of the ghetto uprising of 1943.
The light was projected Thursday night on the modern glass building at the place where the synagogue used to stand. For two hours, a large building anchored by classic Greek-style pillars was returned almost to a city where most traces of a great pre-war Jewish community have disappeared. Recordings of the synagogue's cantor, Gerszon Sirota, revived the sound of Jewish Warsaw. Sirota died in the ghetto.
The light and sound show was the work of Polish multimedia artist Gabi von Seltmann, who wants Polish society to remember the great Jewish community that was once an integral part of a multicultural country. It was organized by Open Republic, a group that fights anti-Semitism.
"Awakening in Poland to me also means learning empathy because when there is empathy there is no more fear," said von Seltmann.
The synagogue "Re-creation" happened for the second year as part of memories for the anniversary of the uprising Friday. This year it took place the night before, not to interfere in the Jewish Sabbath, and the Easter holidays begin Friday night.
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On Friday, siren sirens in the city and people placed yellow daffodils in the memorial sites in the former ghetto.
Von Seltmann's grandfather was a Polish school director killed in Auschwitz along with many other members of the Polish intelligentsia. Her husband, whose surname she has taken, is the grandchild of one of the SS officers who inflicted atrocities on occupied Poland. The couple have written and spoken publicly about their own love story, which hits it as a story of generational reconciliation.
"If we don't & # 39; We are working on memory, we will put it on the shoulders of future generations, they will have problems. Your children will have problems , "von Seltmann said.
The Great Synagogue was opened in 1878 as a place of worship for supporters of moderate reformism, with Polish – not Hebrew – language of service. The use of choir and organ music marked another break from Orthodox tradition. It was the largest synagogue in a city where one third of the population was Jewish. The Warsaw Ghetto uprising erupted on April 19, 1943, when about 750 young Jewish warriors armed with just guns and fuel bottles attacked a much larger and heavily armed German force that "liquidated" the ghetto, which means sending its inhabitants to the Treblinka death camp.
In their last will, the warriors said they knew they were doomed but wanted to die at a time and place of their choice. They lasted almost a month longer than some German invaded countries did.
The Germans struck through the Warsaw Ghetto and killed most fighters, except for a few dozen who managed to escape through sewer channels to the "Aryan" side of the city. They blew the great synagogue into a symbolic victory gesture.
The Jewish rebellion continues to this day as a strong symbol of resistance central to the Israeli national identity.