The long and often tortuous legal battles to win restitution of Jewish properties that were nationalized by communist governments have often overshadowed the pressing practical concerns of what to do with such properties, whether they are owned by Jewish communities or by others. Many of them are huge. Many are dilapidated. Many are recognized as historic sites. And most stand in towns where few if any Jews now live. Even basic care and maintenance can stretch already strapped financial and professional resources. Our conference in April in Krakow on managing Jewish immovable heritage dealt with these and related issues.
The Jewish Community of Krakow has posted on its web site a list of synagogues and other buildings under its ownership in several towns that it wishes to rent out.
Restoration of these former synagogues will be expensive — but we hope that whoever takes them over will adhere to best practices as outlined in the Bratislava Statement issued in 2009, conserving what traces of Jewish identity remain and marking them sensitively to identify their past history.
The list includes synagogue buildings in:
Czarny Dunajec — ul. Sienkiewicza 10
Small brick building with a gable, built around the beginning of the 20th century; devastated by the Nazis and then long used as a warehouse.
Grybów — ul. Kilińskiego 10
According to Virtual Shtetl, the stone and brick synagogue was built in 1909 and used until the Nazis devastated it in 1941. Virtual Shtetl has detailed architectural information about the building. Some basic renovation work (new roof) was carried out in 2007.
Słomniki — ul. Krakowska 23
An imposing two-storey building with arched windows, built about 1920 and easily visible as it is right on the main road between Krakow and Warsaw. Virtual Shtetl has architectural details.
Wieliczka — ul. Wiejska 11
According to Virtual Shtetl the synagogue, now very ruined, was built in the latter part of the 18th century and is on a roster of historic landmarks.