New Synagogue in Munich

On the 68th anniversary of the Kristallnacht pogrom, Germany’s president Koehler joined with other dignitaries in inaugurating a new synagogue in Munich.

Neo-Nazis plotted to bomb the ground-breaking ceremony for the Munich synagogue exactly three years ago. Members of the group were arrested and their leader is now serving a seven-year jail term.

German President Horst Koehler warned of lingering anti-Semitism in the country and noted that neo-Nazi crimes have increased this year.

“This is painful … we must learn the lesson and remain watchful today and for all time,” said Koehler in a speech.

The opening went off without a hitch. Munich is now home to Germany’s second-largest Jewish community (behind Berlin), with roughly 9,000 of the country’s 110,000 Jewish citizens. I haven’t seen the new synagogue in person yet, but it won’t be long.

Mr K?hler Comes Back from Washington

Germany’s center-right and liberal parties have finally agreed on a candidate for the country’s largely, but not completely, symbolic presidency. Because these parties have been winning elections at the state level over the last few years, they have a working majority in the body that elects the president, even though they are actually in opposition.

(The selection itself has been a bit of an opera bouffe. Bild‘s lead yesterday showed various Muppets and cartoon characters over the headline, “Even more candidates!” The serious press had similar, if less colorful, opinions.)
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