On Tuesday (2 September) seven graduates of the University of Potsdam’s Abraham Geiger College were ordained at the synagogue in Wrocław. Federal Foreign Minister Frank‑Walter Steinmeier participated in the ordination of the rabbis and cantors.
In his speech Foreign Minister Steinmeier mentioned the 75th anniversary of Germany’s invasion of Poland, which marked the commencement of the Second World War, and said it was a precious gift that Germans and Poles were now jointly shouldering the responsibility for a free and open Europe.
Steinmeier: This ceremony is a great blessing
Afterwards the Foreign Minister described as a great blessing the way in which Jews and Christians, and Poles and Germans, had been able to work together to organise the ceremony. Looking back on their sorry past, Steinmeier said it was also important to realise that German‑Polish relations had never been as good as they were today and that Jewish life was thriving again all over Europe.
With regard to the responsibility Germany bears as a result of the past, the Foreign Minister also stressed: “We must not allow anti‑Semitism to take root ever again.” Steinmeier warned that everyone had a duty to speak out wherever and whenever anti‑Semitic sentiments were still expressed.
The Abraham Geiger College was established in 1999 at the University of Potsdam as a rabbinical seminary. Since 2007 the institute, the first of its kind to be founded in Europe since the Holocaust, has also provided training for cantors. Today’s ceremony at the White Stork Synagogue in Wrocław is the first ordination ceremony to be conducted abroad.