The Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland (FODŻ), reports that urgent roof repairs were completed in mid-April at the Scheinbach synagogue in Przemyśl, in the southeastern corner of Poland. As reported earlier on JHE, water damage was discovered last summer during an inspection, particularly in the attic and upper floors, and there was concern about having this work done before the problem got worse.
In October 2014, a professional roof inspection was conducted for the Foundation, in cooperation with John Hartman, Director of Remembrance and Reconciliation Foundation, an American non-profit that restored the city’s surviving intact Jewish cemetery and hopes to convert the synagogue building into a Galician cultural center.
The inspection report estimated the cost of repair to the metal roof and damaged areas to be approximately $2,600 US and recommended immediate attention on such urgent work included repairing or replacing metal roof sheeting, re-flashing the gutters, and repairs to interior water damaged walls, ceilings, and chimney areas. (The report also included recommendations for a more complex and expensive roof renovation which must wait until additional funds are raised — approximately $80,000).
Following this report, FODZ and R&R both sent out appeals to raise the necessary funds before the onset of another winter. In the end, private donations met 20% of the repair costs, with 80% borne by the Foundation.
Built between 1910 and 1918 and designed by Polish architect Stanisław Majerski, the synagogue was known for its interior paintings of biblical scenes, and stained glass windows by Jewish Przemyśl artist Adolf Bienenstock. It was used as a stable by the Nazis, then a textile warehouse after WW2. From the late 1960s it housed the city’s public Library: the Library recently moved out to new premises. The building was restituted back to Jewish ownership (via FODŻ) in 2006. In 2009 a memorial plaque commemorating the history of the Jewish community of Przemyśl was unveiled on the synagogue building. (In a recent meeting with the City of Przemyśl, the Foundation made clear that it considerd the City responsible for the repairs, having vacated the synagogue before the end of its lease and used the building as the local public library.)