Rhineland-Palatinate's ShUM-cities of Speyer, Worms and Mainz apply for UNESCO World Heritage Status.
With their Jewish communities in Mainz, Speyer and Worms as one cradle of Ashkenazi Jewry and innovative centers of architectural, religious and spiritual impact for the whole Ashkenazi world, Jewish history in these three cities is unique and outstanding. During the Middle Ages, from the 11th century on, the communities were the "places to be", they were the centers of Jewish learning and renown Jeshivot.
Up to the devastating pogroms in the 1340s, this unique alliance played an influential role in shaping Jewish culture, religion and intellectual life in Europe. Religious edifices, unique examples of their kind in Europe, bear witness to this vibrant period in the Middle Ages. This liveliness despite the crusades, massacres and all kinds of discrimination shows also the bond Jewish communities developed for centuries to these three cities.
Although after the 14th century the Jewish communities never reached the same peak, the cities were, in the Jewish world, for ever linked to the period of ShUM. The Shoah left the three cities empty of Jews, as so many more in Germany and whole Europe. The remains and the cemeteries as well as the reconstructed Worms Synagogue leave the visitor with the knowledge about the blooming period of ShUM as well as of the destruction which swept time and again over the communities. Post-Shoah-communities are settled today in all three cities.
ShUM is an acronym of the initial letters of the Hebrew names for the cities of Speyer, Worms and Mainz in the Middle Ages: Schin (Sh) standing for Schpira, Waw (U) for Warmaisa and Mem (M) for Magenza.