New “premium year” on the Hildesheim timeline recalls the killing of the Jews of Worms
Hildesheim. It was a Sabbath, a Saturday in May 1096, when the Christian crusaders killed more than 800 Jews in the city of Worms because they did not want to convert to Christianity. It was, however, a bishop who prevented further murders from taking place. 916 years on, 1096 has become a symbol of togetherness: on Monday 14 May, Michael Fürst, Chair of the Regional Association of Jewish Communities of Lower Saxony, took over the sponsorship of this year on the timeline of the Hildesheim cloister, in the name of the association.
Michael Fürst (right), Chair of the Regional
It was 1096 and Count Emicho von Leiningen was on his way with his men to take part in the first crusade to the Holy Land, when he stopped off in Speyer, Worms and Mainz. The nobleman left behind him a trail of devastation and numerous victims within the Jewish communities of each of these three cities, which was indelibly engraved upon the Jewish consciousness.
Speaking on Monday morning at the Hildesheim cloister the Chair of the association, Michael Fürst, , said the fact that the Regional Association of Jewish Communities of Lower Saxony had chosen to sponsor this particular year as the “premium sponsorship year” on the Hildesheim timeline should therefore be seen as a sign of reconciliation. The earlier religious conflicts have today, fortunately, resulted in a sense of togetherness, Fürst continued, saying that every effort would be made to maintain this status quo. For Dr. Konrad Deufel, too, the former City Director of the episcopal city of Hildesheim and now the Chair of the Cathedral Association, the sponsorshipof this year is a symbol of “building bridges” within the Judeo-Christian dialogue. Suffragan Bishop Hans-Georg Koitz, who as the cathedral’s dean is responsible for its redevelopment, was delighted that the timeline had also attracted so much attention among non-Catholics.
To illustrate the lengthy history of the diocese and at the same time encourage support for the cathedral’s redevelopment, the cathedral chapter launched the “1,200 years are seeking sponsors” project at the start of 2010 in its role as promoter of the redevelopment, together with the Cathedral Association. A metal band symbolising a 1,200 year-long timeline, which is divided into years, decades and “premium years”, runs along the cloister behind the cathedral apse – from the entrance to the opposite side. It costs 180 euros to sponsor a single year. A small copper plaque affixed to the timeline displays the sponsor’s preferred name. In addition, it is possible to buy an entire decade for 750 euros, which comes with a larger plaque. Exclusive sponsorship of a particular decade, without additional single years, costs 2,500 euros. Premium sponsorship of a single year costs double the amount. This includes the engraving of a name on a beaten copper plate with stylised rose.
According to Dr Ralf Tappe, the Director of the Cathedral Association, around 200 of the 1,200 years available on the timeline have so far been assigned. In other words, the Cathedral Association has so far taken around 100,000 euros for the cathedral’s redevelopment. The total amount should eventually reach around 320,000 euros.