Mainz, Germany, 1999
1. The destruction of the synagogue in Mainz was an act of vandalism which let directly to the destruction of those who built and pray in it. A page was torn out from the book of Jewish History.
2. Rebuilding the Mainz Synagogue will not bring back to life those who perished, but it will be an evidence/sign to the continuity of Jewish life. A new page is going to be written.
3. As our present is indebted to our past, so the is new synagogue in Mainz indebted to the one destroyed. In the design of the new building one can trace and experience the form of the old synagogue. It is there to be discovered.
4. Praying in the new synagogue will therefore be not only an act of remembering the tragic past, but also a revocation of the great form it created.
5. The new synagogue, like the destroyed one, is directed very distinctly towards Jerusalem, the spiritual focus of all synagogues and of Jewish life over the centuries. Mundane functions like administration offices, services, and residences, align with the streets and the urban surrounds, stressing the Jewish participation in the life and urban culture of the city.
6. Preserving all the trees growing on the site was not an act of ecological conscience, but rather a desire to preserve the history of the place, of which the trees are a part of and evidence to.
7. The design has been inspired by the form of the old synagogue, restricted by the position of the trees on site, directed by its orientation towards Jerusalem and related to the existing buildings by the surrounding urban situation. But undoubtedly the very form of the new synagogue has been determined by the desire to shape a new, Jewish experience in our own time.
Zvi Hecker Architect, Berlin