Jewish Heritage Europe

Searching for a lost synagogue in Lodz

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The Marek Edelman Dialogue Centre in Łodź, Poland, together with the Institute of Archeology of the University of Łodź, will organize archaeology workshops August 26-30 aimed at seeking out the foundations of the “Alte Szil,” or Old Synagogue, an elaborate, Byzantine-Moorish-style building with striped exterior that was built in the 1860s to a design by the  architect Jan Karol Mertsching. It was located at 8 Wolborska Street, but was torched by the Germans in November 1939, along with other synagogues in the city.

Excavations will take place in Staromiejski park, though the precise location of the synagogue remains unknown. Virtual Shtetl reports:

A comparative analysis of historical and contemporary city plans has resulted in many conclusions. The results of cartographic investigation are contradictory. Radiography examination is impossible due to the limited space. The researchers hope, however, that they will manage to unearth at least part of the synagogue’s remains and expose its residual traces. This year’s research will lead to broader investigation in 2014. Eventually, the foundations will be fully exposed and secured as best as possible.

The work will be headed by Paweł Zawilski from the Institute of Archeology of the University of Łódź, and scholars from the university will supervise volunteers.

Adults of all ages are invited to volunteer. Organizers say the project will give you “an opportunity to participate in the discovering of the synagogue, delineating the excavation area, exploring, preparing documentation and cleaning the findings after completing the excavation works.”

Other events will form part of the synagogue project, Virtual Shtetl reports.

On 29 August, next to the excavation site in the Staromiejski park, a concert ‘The imagined synagogue’, accompanied by a presentation of archival photographs of the synagogue, will take place. These events coincide with the ceremonies in honour of the anniversary of the liquidation of the ghetto.

The project has obtained the financial support of the National Cultural Centre (NCK) as part of the ‘Kultura-Interwencje’ programme.

See details at the Virtual Shtetl web site

See details and applications to volunteer at the Dialogue Centre web site




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