Controversies surrounding the excavation at Börneplatz, Frankfurt am Main, 1987
172 - 184
MetadataShow full item record
© 2016, © 2016 Taylor & Francis. In summer 1987, the remains of Frankfurt’s medieval Jewish ghetto were unearthed by construction workers excavating a car park to make way for a new municipal building. When no effort was made by the city authorities or by Frankfurt’s Jewish community to stop the building work, an action group called Rettet den Börneplatz (‘Save Börneplatz’) occupied the site. This article will investigate, firstly, why Frankfurt’s Jewish community failed to do anything to prevent the building work going ahead. Secondly, it will analyse the debates surrounding the excavation which were concerned with whether the Holocaust changed the meaning of this medieval ghetto. The questions raised in these debates included: Is it appropriate to characterize a pre-modern Jewish quarter as a ‘ghetto’ in light of the Jewish ghettos of the early 1940s? Is there any connection between these two types of ghetto? Does drawing a connection relativize the singularity of the Holocaust? How should we view the oppression of Jews in pre-modern periods in light of the Nazi persecution? Finally, this article will look at why young Frankfurt Jews, in particular, wanted to preserve the ghetto remains.
- History