Glorious surviving — and restored — synagogues to mark anniversary of Kristallnacht

Great synagogue, Plzen, Czech Republic, 2015

Great synagogue, Plzen, Czech Republic, 2015

The Berlin Wall came down 26 years ago, on November 9, 1989 — a day that also marked the anniversary of Kristallnacht, the night of Nov. 9-10 1938 when the Nazis launched coordinated violent attacks on Jews, Jewish property and Jewish places of worship all over Germany and German-occupied territory: more than 1,000 synagogues were torched that night; at least 7,000 Jewish businesses were devastated; nearly 100 Jews were killed and tens of thousands of Jews were arrested and sent to concentration camps. In the following years, hundreds more synagogues and prayer houses were destroyed during World War II, and even after the War ended, hundreds more were either destroyed, left derelict and abandoned or converted for other use that totally obscured their original identity.

The fall of the Wall enabled a sea change in the recovery, recognition and reconstruction of Jewish heritage sites, particularly in post-communist Europe. It is a process that is still going on, often slowly, but one that has seen the restoration and revitalization of scores of synagogues across the region — and  elsewhere in Europe — as well as the documentation, clean-up, and preservation of scores of long-abandoned Jewish cemeteries.

Two years ago, we felt the best way to mark the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht was to post images of some of the glorious synagogues that still stand in Europe — or have been renovated and refurbished — or have been newly built. You can click here to see that selection of photos. Last year, we continued this tradition — and this year we are doing it again, with more photos.

Most of the reconstructed synagogues are used today as cultural spaces, but an increasing number are used by revitalized Jewish communities.

 

General view of the restored exterior of the Great synagogue in Iaşi, Romania. Photo: FEDROM

General view of the restored exterior of the Great synagogue in Iaşi, Romania. Photo: FEDROM

 

Interior, synagogue in Split. Photo: World Monuments Fund

Interior, synagogue in Split, Croatia. Photo: World Monuments Fund

Photo © Ruth Ellen Gruber

Florence, Italy. Photo © Ruth Ellen Gruber

Boskovice, Czech Republic -- ark in restored synagogue

Boskovice, Czech Republic — ark in restored synagogue

 

The ornate wooden Bimah in the Padova synagogue. Photo © Ruth Ellen Gruber

The ornate wooden Bimah in the Padova synagogue. Photo © Ruth Ellen Gruber

 

Choral Synagogue, Vilnius, 2015

Choral Synagogue, Vilnius, 2015

synagogue-wm1

Choral synagogue, Vilnius, Lithuania 2015

Jicin, Czech Republic -- Ark in restored synagogue, 2012

Jicin, Czech Republic — Ark in restored synagogue, 2012

 

Roof/exterior, restored synagogue in Mikulov, Czech Republic

Roof/exterior, restored synagogue in Mikulov, Czech Republic

Heroes Temple, Budapest, built in 1931 next to the Dohany St. synagogue in honor of the Jewish soldiers killed in World War I

Heroes Temple, Budapest, built in 1931 next to the Dohany St. synagogue in honor of the Jewish soldiers killed in World War I

Budapest, Hungary -- Ark in the Dohany utca synagogue

Budapest, Hungary — Ark in the Dohany utca synagogue

Inner dome of the Rumbach street synagogue, Budapest

Inner dome of the Rumbach street synagogue, Budapest

Subotica synagogue, November 2014. Photo © Jasna Ciric

Subotica synagogue, November 2014. Photo © Jasna Ciric

 

Ark in the main synagogue in Milan, Italy

Ark in the main synagogue in Milan, Italy

Synagogue in Usov, CZ

Synagogue in Usov, CZ

 

Roman, Romania - Ark

Ark in the synagogue in Roman, Romania

Jubilee synagogue int wm1

Jubiliee synagogue, Prague

 

Great dome of the Sofia synagogue. Photo © Ruth Ellen Gruber

Great dome of the Sofia, Bulgaria synagogue. Photo © Ruth Ellen Gruber

 

Maribor synagogue. Photo: Tony Bowden via wikimedia

Maribor, Slovenia restored medieval synagogue. Photo: Tony Bowden via wikimedia

 

One thought on “Glorious surviving — and restored — synagogues to mark anniversary of Kristallnacht

  1. what this shows is how incredible the wanderings of the Jews where and that it was so important for them to have a synagogue in their location, they were no afraid at that time to show their place of religion, I hope we can return to such a time when it will not be a requirement to have a security guard in front of a place of worship

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