Two 19th century mikvehs have been discovered in Groningen, The Netherlands, in a room in a Jewish community building that was long used for storage.
According to the web site of the Groningen synagogue Foundation, the two ritual baths, which probably had note been used since 1943, are in “remarkably good” condition. “The seven marble steps, the side walls and almost two meters deep floor are completely intact,” it states. The marble edge of one of the pools, however, is partly damaged.
The Jewish community of Groningen, which was nearly wiped out during the Holocaust, sold the building in 1952 to the municipality, which renovated the building and rededicated it as a seat of the Jewish community in 1981. The mikvehs were covered up and exposed only recently, after members of the local Jewish community chanced upon blueprints of the building, the RTV Noord television station reported.
“The find is so important because Jewish life stopped here in 1943: the Jews were gone. A few buildings that were essential to the Jewish community remained: the synagogue, the old people’s home, the Jewish school, but the mikveh, which is also essential, was gone. No one knew where it was,” Marcel Wichgers, director of Groningen’s Folkingestraat Synagogue Association, or SFS, told RTV.
The mikvehs may be visited by the public on Wednesday and Sunday afternoons.
See a video about the discovery: