Belsize Square synagogue visits Alexander Haus

On 3 May 2016, thirty members of London's Belsize Square synagogue travelled to Groß Glienicke. Their visit which was led by the rabbi Stuart Altshuler was part of a three-day 'roots tour' of Berlin. 

The day started with a visit to the Alexander Haus, where they were met by the mayor Winfried Sträter and the head of the Groß Glienicke Kreis, Dieter Dargies. 

After a tour of the house and gardens, the group gathered on the terrace overlooking the lake and shared memories. One of those to speak was the grandson of Dr Alfred Alexander Peter Sussmann, who had first been at the house in 1934 as a baby. He said that at first he had been unsure about the Alexander Haus project, but now that he had visited the house and met the local residents he was very enthusiastic about restoring the property and establishing a centre for education and reconciliation. 

The visitors then visited the village church and were given a tour by Burkhard Radtke. The various pictures and artefacts were pointed out, along with the building's beautiful renovations. 

The trip ended with a tea at the village community centre. The visitors from London were joined by twenty local residents who brought delicious home-baked cakes. The event provided an opportunity for people to get to know each other, to swap stories and memories.

At the end of the day, the rabbi stood up to express his thanks to the local residents for their hospitality and grace. He invited them to visit the synagogue in London, another step in the process of reconciliation. The mayor added his thanks and expressed his delight in the project's growing success.