JNS.org, Dec. 19, 2017
Most residents of Tübingen, Germany, probably don’t know that the local “synagogenplatz” (synagogue plaza) even exists. The rusted memorial to the synagogue that burned to the ground during Kristallnacht is one of the few tributes to Jewish life that once existed in the city—not that Jews ever really thrived there.
The source of Tübingen’s growth (its population is 90,000) and fame is its university, founded in 1477 by Eberhard the Bearded, who expelled all Jews from the medieval town. Upon the rise of Hitler, about 100 Jews prayed at the synagogue, which was built in 1882. The names and fate of each are inscribed in metal; most managed to flee in time.
An apartment building has long since taken the place of the synagogue. Just a handful of Jews live in the city today. But on the fourth night of Hanukkah, about two dozen people gathered to light a life-sized hanukkiah in the cold and rain to honor the victims, singing Hebrew hymns as a statement that light will overcome darkness, and that at least in this town, miracles can really happen.