Mazel tov! Nowy Korczyn synagogue has been saved!

17th-18th century Nowy Korczyn synagogue after preservation, April 2013. Photo: Tomasz Cebulski

Nowy Korczyn synagogue from the back, April 2013. Photo: Tomasz Cebulski

The 17th-18th century synagogue in Nowy Korczyn, Poland, long a poignant symbol of the destruction of Jewish communities and the neglect and abandonment of Jewish heritage sites in eastern and central Europe, has undergone partial restoration and preservation as a ruin — by the town. Mazel tov!

Thanks to Tomasz Cebulski, of Polin Travel Guide and Genealogy Services,for sharing this information!

The case is similar to that in Dzialoszyce, not far away, where the town preserved the remains of the ruined synagogue as ruins, which (once a plaque is affixed) will stand as a monument to the destoyed Jewish community. The two cases demonstrate that ruined synagogues need not be totally restored to be preserved in a meaningful way — and, with proper memorial plaques affixed (which we hope will be the case), send a powerful message.

Preserved ruins of Dzialoszyce synagogue, July 2012. Photo © Ruth Ellen Gruber

Tomasz writes that the local town authorities in Nowy Korczyn decided to partly renovate and secure the synagogue structure last year. The building had long stood derelict, in dangerous condition, covered with graffiti; though the distinctive colonnaded front portal and the Ark remained partially intact. The roof, however, collapsed several years ago.

Construction and cleaning works, he writes, cost 110,000 PLN (approx $35,000) and were covered by the community of Nowy Korczyn, the Marshal of Swietokrzyskie Region and the regional conservator’s office:

The local community very gradually was investing money into the local unique medieval churches now the time came for the ruined synagogue building. The structure for years was very dangerous as the roofing was half collapsed threatening occasional visitors. The cleaning and construction works were started last September. All the vegetation was removed from inside and outside the structure. The wooden beams of roofing were removed and the top part of walls was secured with bricks and metal sheds. The new roof was built [to] the cover the women’s section securing in this way the unique pillar facade. The men’s section floor was leveled to be accessible, this part of the building is not covered by roof. All it needs now is a small info plaque with text explaining what the building was and is now. The local community did great work protecting the site. Congratulations.

Interior of Nowy Korczyn synagogue after roof collapse, showing Ark. Photo: Tomasz Cebulski

Tomasz notes that:

Nowy Korczyn was one of the most important shtetls in the Kielce district. The earliest Jewish settlement dated back to the early sixteenth century. The town was an important trading center on merchandising route from Cracow to Lublin and Vilnus. In 1921, the town was home to nearly 2500 Jews, who made up nearly 70 percent of total population. During World War II in 1940 the German Nazis established ghetto in Nowy Korczyn for over 4000 Jews from the town and its vicinity. In autumn 1942 all of Korczyn Jews were deported to the death camp in Treblinka. The historical sources indicate that the synagogue was built in the second half of the seventeenth century. Bricks and stones used for this purpose were recovered from demolished Royal Castle in Nowy Korczyn . In the eighteenth century the building was very neglected and partly demolished due to wars and lack of funding. The community managed to renovate the structure. During World War II the Germans separated the men’s praying hall with wooden floor and converted the building into grain storage. In communist Poland the building was used as agricultural storage and community center soon abandoned and falling into ruin.

Nowy Korczyn synagogue in 2006. Photo © Ruth Ellen Gruber

 

 

15 thoughts on “Mazel tov! Nowy Korczyn synagogue has been saved!

  1. my Answer to gayle Zaks
    My great-grandmother’s name was rywka finkelstein & she was married to Szmelka cukeirman….Perhaps there is any connection between the families !!!
    By the way, my mother was also born in 1921
    Regards
    orly adut galitzenstein
    barak005@gmail.com

  2. my mother adela ( alte fajga) fisz Daughter of fiszel fisz & rochla fisz ( nee cukeirman ) was born in nowy korczyn at 1921, If someone has any information on the fisz / cukeirman family,
    kindly contact me

  3. Has anyone heard of Charna and Avraham Alter Finkelstein of Nowy Korczyn? I have been trying so hard to help my husband find some info on his family. Charna and Avraham are Erikas (my deceased mother in laws) parents. Erika was born there in 1921. Any info would be greatly appreciated.

  4. My great – great grandfather Michiel Shmucklierz left Nowy Korczyn in the 1880s and settled in England where he changed his name to Michael Salter. Any others in this family? We have photos of him just before he left and later in England – a remarkable transformation.

  5. MY GRANDMOTHER WAS BORNED IN THIS TOWN, SHE SIMPLY COULDNT SPEAK ABOUT THE ATROCITIES THEY ENDURED THERE AT THE BEGGINING OF 1900. SHE WAS REIZL CZERNY ZIETEL Z”L.

  6. Bonjour, Naftali Lixenberg was a witness at the wedding of my greatgrandparents Sarah Wilczyk and Alter Lazenga. This was in Nowy Korczyn in 1898. Polish archives (Kielce) mention “Naftali Lixenberg, student, 45 years old”. The rabbi was Haïm Maizelkorn.

  7. Answer to chaia Lior, to her message posted on November 5 th 2015, on the page related to the renovation of the synagogue in Nowy Korcyn, on the jewish-heritage-europe.eu web site

    Hi Haya
    My father, Leib Wajcberg, was your father’ s first cousin. He was born in Nowy Korcyn in 1901 and lived in France.
    He visited you in Israel in 1960.
    I have tried several times to contact you in Raannana, during my visits in Israel, in vain.
    Hoping to hear from you,
    Regards,
    Aline Wajcberg Bitan ( I live in Herzliya now)
    aline.bitan@icloud.com
    tel in Israel: 054 35741104

  8. Hi Chaya, I am also researching the Wajcberg family from Nowy Korczyn and Czestochowa. Perhaps we have names in common? My grandfather, Daniel Wajcberg, was born in Czestochowa in 1911, but his father, Szaul Janus Wajcberg was born in Nowy Korczyn in 1885. Let’s work out if we have names in common! Thanks, Naomi.

  9. My father , Gedaliah Warga, son of Chaim Warga, came from this town. I saw the house he and his 9 brothers and sisters were born in, and where my grandfather sold horses and grain for horses from. I have former mayor, Jerzy Weiss to thank for this. The man is a fountain of wisdom and an amateur historian of the town. Any body that knows or knew my family please contact me at varga96@aol.com

  10. my father, Perec Wajcberg, son of Mendel &chaya’ was born in Nowy Korczyn in 1914. If someone has any information on the Wajcberg (weitzberg) family, kindly contact me/

  11. I spent two years of the War (1940 – 1942) in Novy Korczyn. The Kupfer family was well known in the community. My father was born there. My grandfather was on the Board of the town and was a country lawyer. Before the War we lived in Warsaw.

  12. My grandfather, Szlama Blumenfeld, lived there as seen by a stamp with his name in a book.
    If you have any information regarding this posting or of any information on the Blumenfeld family in Nowy Korozyn, Kielce or Chinciny Poland kindly contact me. No commercial people please.

    DB

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