... Jerusalem ... 22 Just as the new earth and the new heavens will endure by my power, so your descendants and your name will endure ... Isaiah 66 (GNT), 18 ... Jerusalem will be rebuilt, and its PALACE restored. Jeremiah 30:18 (GNT)

23
July
2012

Dresden a visit: a lasting impression!

Ninety percent of Dresden was destroyed by the bombing of the Allied Forces by the end of the second World War in February 1945. Before that Jews were deported in large numbers. What became of Dresden's Jewish Community?

So, this year our vacation took us to the city of Dresden. What's the impression this city made on me?

Actually, why visit Dresden and not another German city? The city of Dresden caught my interest and I became curious about it. while I was doing some research to write an article about the events that took place there during the second World War. We stayed ten days in Dresden, where we visited some interesting locations, most of which within walking distance. On a rainy day we took a bus tour through the old city center over the bridge to Neustadt at the other side of the river.

Dresden, which is situated on a valley of the River Elbe, is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. The Saxon Royal Family of the Wettins, Ernestine royal line, resided here. Their most notable Electoral Prince Frederick Augustus I also known as Augustus II the Strong (1670-1733) played as a patron of the arts and architecture a major role - building up an impressive art collection and having several palaces built - in achieving that Dresden would gain a long standing reputation of being one of the centers of art and culture which attracted artists from all over Europe.

This city has once been called the “Florence on the Elbe” by the Weimar writer Herder. A term that remained the most usual synonym to this city, that despite the destruction during the second World War by the Allied Forces in February 1945 has been developed over the years into a major modern German city of approximately 450.000 inhabitants. A city which once more plays a role of significance as a cultural center while at the same time Dresden has embraced the modern high-tech technological age as could be seen at one of Dresden's modern buildings, the futuristic transparent Volkswagen Gläserne Manufaktur where you can take an interesting and expert guided tour to see how Volkswagen's most luxurious cars are being made. Though there still is work to be done in the city of Dresden, there is already so much to see and enjoy.

One of the other places of interest we visited, actually the first stop of our visit to Dresden, was the Frauenkirche, the Church of Our Lady, where people were welcomed by the hostess whom beside giving instructions to the public present, red a passage in the Bible about Abraham. I believe the first part from Genesis 12 (NIV), 1 The Lord had said to Abram, “Go from your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you. 2 “I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you. ” 4 So Abram went, as the Lord had told him; ...

Of all the landmarks Dresden has, the Frauenkirche is one of the most famous. This church, which stands for the identity of this city and is by some referred to as the "Sint Peter of Protestantism", was constructed by George Bähr between 1726 and 1743, and was commissioned after Augustus II the Strong converted to Catholicism in order for him to become the King of Poland. It was until after the reunification of Germany in 1990, that this church, which was reduced to a huge pile of rubble in 1945, was rebuilt. This was made possible with the help of private donors. The work started in 1994 and reached completion in 2005. To take on the flight of stairs up to the dome from which you can have a spectacular view of Dresden, is worth the afford.

We also went for a walk over the Brühl Terrace and the Theaterplatz to visit the beautiful Semper Opera House - built by the famous architect Gottfried Semper - and the baroque Zwinger Palace which is a complex of galleries and pavilions. During Museumsommernacht - Museum Summer Night - we took a stroll through the Grosser Garten to visit the Grosser Garten Palace and the Hygiene Museum. It is really amazing to see and experience what the people of Dresden have achieved, together with those who helped them, through the years in rebuilding their city after the devastation of the second World War. One visit to Dresden just isn't enough to take in all this city has to offer while enjoying the art, the architectural achievements and it's cultural heritage in general. But, what was for me the high light of this vacation to Dresden? Something completely new to me that I have never done before.

We visited, took a guided tour of the New Synagogue of Dresden which was consecrated in 2001 and is the center of the Jüdische Gemeinde zu Dresden, and participated in a service of the Jewish Community. The former synagogue, the Semper Synagogue, which was built in 1867 was destroyed by the Nazis on Kristallnacht, Christal Night, during a progrom through out Germany and Austria in November 1938. After the tour - the guide was an elderly Christian lady whom as she said wanted to show her support for the Jewish Community of Dresden - we had a cup of coffee/thee with some delicious Jewish cake and pastries at the kosher Café Schoschana in the community center of the Synagogue, while having a conversation with the café owners about the Jewish Community in Dresden. In Dresden's past the Nazis raged and the Allied bombs fell, but a group of about a hundred Jews survived, stayed while others joined them!

Today the Jewish community of Dresden - consisting of both German and Russian Jews - whose first beginnings could be traced to the 13th¢ury, whom were expelled by Frederick the Gentle in 1430, permitted to settle again in Dresden by August II the Strong in 1700 and centuries later deported by the Nazis beginning from 1942, is still present in Dresden, Saxony. When it comes to the Nazis, to this day every year marking the date - the 13th and 14th of February 1945 - that Dresden was bombed during WW II, anti-fascist in Dresden protest to block the neo-nazi march. The Jews still living in Dresden are a testimony to the fact that Hitler, the Nazis and those with them failed in their attempts to extinguish Jewish life also in Dresden. A fact that one of Hitler's own people whom was tracked down by the Nazi hunter and death camp survivor Simon Wiesenthal had to admit as is showed in an uncensored interview!

Now, I did visit a Synagogue before - the Snoa Synagogue on Curaçao, an island in the Caribbean - all be it a long time ago. But, this was the first time we actually went to a service, the Shabbat Kabbalat on Friday, which subsequently led to us going to the Kiddushim after the service and the following Sunday to the summer feast of this community. The singing of the song ♫ Lecha Dodi meaning "come my beloved" - a Jewish Hebrew liturgical song to welcome in Shabbat in based on a 16th century poem inspired by Isaiah's prophecies of the restoration of Israel, being the bride welcoming God Almighty as the bridegroom, which was written by Rabbi Shlomo HaLevi Alkabetz - was both beautiful and so joyous that it got me and those with me humming trying to sing along. Although I have to say, I do believe Jerusalem is the bride as mentioned in biblical prophecies such as the book of Revelations in chapter 21 and those of Isaiah.

We felt welcome in the midst of this community and we enjoyed their hospitality. Personally, taking part in all these, gave me inner joy and peace for which I'm grateful!

,,, 1 Jerusalem ...
4 ... Your new name will be  God Is Pleased with Her. Your land will be called Happily Married
Because the Lord is pleased with you And will be like a husband to your  l a n d.

5 Like a young man taking a virgin as his bride, He who formed you will  m a r r y  you.
As a groom is delighted with his bride, So your God will delight in you. ...
Isaiah 62 (GNT)

... 5 For your Maker is your husbandthe Lord Almighty is his name—
the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. ... Isaiah 54 (NIV)

This visit to and taking part in the service at the Synagogue, also gave us the opportunity to engage with the Jewish citizens of Dresden. Although for me this was only possible with those whom spoke English. I must say, I regretted not being able to speak German properly - just like I did on my visit to West and East Berlin in the past - in order to communicate with people in their own language. Maybe next time I'll do better, for I surly would like to visit Dresden and this Jewish Community again. 

The Jewish community of Dresden did leave a lasting impression on me. May the Almighty Father bless this community, those who support them and those living in the city of Dresden.

God bless you,

 

Related Articles
Dresden the forgotten war crime? Part 1 of 2
Dresden the forgotten war crime. Part 2 of 2

And yet, Hitler failed!
Prophecies spoken over Jerusalem!
Jerusalem: a visit
Bethlehem: heavy rain
A Symphony of Hope
Y'rushalayim Shel Zahav

Author: © Mrs A. vd Laan-LeitoPosted in: Stories