German Construction Workers Discover the Remains of a Destroyed Synagogue

In June, construction workers making improvements to a dam in the Isar River—which flows through the city of Munich in southeastern Germany—discovered remains of the city’s synagogue, which was destroyed by the Nazis. Paul Kirby writes:

They uncovered columns from the synagogue and a stone tablet showing some of the Ten Commandments. . . . There had been no sign of the building since it was torn down in June 1938, after Hitler demanded its removal as an “eyesore.” Five months later, Jews, synagogues and Jewish-run businesses were attacked across Nazi Germany in the deadly November pogrom widely known as Kristallnacht.

Rubble from the historic building is thought to have been submerged in the Isar River since it was used to rebuild a weir eleven years after World War II. The stone tablet originally came from above the ark (containing the Torah) on the eastern wall of the synagogue, which was one of Munich’s most famous pre-war landmarks. The old site is now covered by a Karstadt department store.

The Leonhard Moll building company that destroyed the synagogue had apparently stored the rubble on its site west of Munich until 1956. Some 150 tons were then dumped in the river to renovate the big Grosshesseloher weir, mainly from the synagogue but also from buildings bombed during the war.

Read more at BBC

More about: Archaeology, German Jewry, Holocaust, Synagogues

How to Save the Universities

To Peter Berkowitz, the rot in American institutions of higher learning exposed by Tuesday’s hearings resembles a disease that in its early stages was easy to cure but difficult to diagnose, and now is so advanced that it is easy to diagnose but difficult to cure. Recent analyses of these problems have now at last made it to the pages of the New York Times but are, he writes, “tardy by several decades,” and their suggested remedies woefully inadequate:

They fail to identify the chief problem. They ignore the principal obstacles to reform. They propose reforms that provide the equivalent of band-aids for gaping wounds and shattered limbs. And they overlook the mainstream media’s complicity in largely ignoring, downplaying, or dismissing repeated warnings extending back a quarter century and more—largely, but not exclusively, from conservatives—that our universities undermine the public interest by attacking free speech, eviscerating due process, and hollowing out and politicizing the curriculum.

The remedy, Berkowitz argues, would be turning universities into places that cultivate, encourage, and teach freedom of thought and speech. But doing so seems unlikely:

Having undermined respect for others and the art of listening by presiding over—or silently acquiescing in—the curtailment of dissenting speech for more than a generation, the current crop of administrators and professors seems ill-suited to fashion and implement free-speech training. Moreover, free speech is best learned not by didactic lectures and seminars but by practicing it in the reasoned consideration of competing ideas with those capable of challenging one’s assumptions and arguments. But where are the professors who can lead such conversations? Which faculty members remain capable of understanding their side of the argument because they understand the other side?

Read more at RealClearPolitics

More about: Academia, Anti-Semitism, Freedom of Speech, Israel on campus