Temple Synagogue in Hamburg, Germany
In the early 19th century, Hamburg had the biggest Jewish community in Germany. The Neue Israelitische Tempelverein of Hamburg, founded in 1817, was one of the earliest Reform congregations and played an important role in the development of the Reform movement in its theology, liturgy, music, and architecture.
In the early 1840s, its members decided to build a new temple which was the very first Reform synagogue to be constructed in a major German city. It was an imposing building combining forms of neo-classicism with elements of neo-Gothic and Moorish style.
Today, the Temple is considered one of the most important architectural traces of the Reform movement of the 19th century in Germany.
In 1931, the Jewish community moved to a new location and the Temple was sold. During World War 2, the building was partially destroyed during air raids on Hamburg. Two parts of the structure are still preserved: the entrance in the west, and the eastern part with the apse.
The property has been in private ownership with parts serving as a garage. The rear of the building is out of use and in very bad condition. The whole site is in danger due to neglect.
An organisation was formed to campaign to preserve the Synagogue site called the ‘TempelForum – Verein zum Erhalt und zur Öffnung der Tempel-Ruine in der Poolstraße’ (Tempel Forum – Association promoting the protection and public accessibility of the Tempel-ruins in Poolstrasse, Hamburg).
As a result of the growing interest in the building, it was recently acquired by the Senate of the City of Hamburg which is now considering its future.
The Association is liaising with the City authorities regarding its own ideas on how the site could be developed to protect it and turn it into a memorial and educational centre. The idea of the building being used once again as a synagogue has also been raised.
Visit the Temple campaign website for more information.