First Synagogue Inaugurated in Basel in 80 Years

The Feldinger Chabad Jewish Centre is first synagogue in the city since 1929.

Rachel Hirshfeld ,

Jews praying at old synagogue
Jews praying at old synagogue
Israel news photo: Flash 90

A synagogue has been dedicated in Basel, Switzerland for the first time in more than 80 years.

The Feldinger Chabad Jewish Centre is the first new synagogue in the city since 1929.

Rabbis and government officials were present at the opening ceremony.

The inauguration of the centre was supported by Sami Rohr, one of the most notable philanthropists to Chabad-Lubavitch causes worldwide.

Mr. Rohr was born in Berlin but escaped Germany prior to the outbreak of World War II.  His parents were sent to a refugee camp but their 16-year-old son found refuge with Shlomo Zalman and Recha Feldinger, a Jewish couple living in Basel.

"They showed him rare compassion," says Rabbi Zalman Wishedski, who, along with his wife Devorah, runs Chabad-Lubavitch of Basel.

Local politician Daniel Goepfert addressed guests at the event, saying his is “ashamed” of the country’s history.

"I am ashamed by the fact that we did not accept the Jews that asked to come through our gates,” he said. "But I am also proud that those that did succeed to enter Switzerland survived and they numbered about 20,000 people."

Today, there are approximately 1,600 Jewish people living in Basel.