Kristallnacht: Marking the anniversary with wonderful synagogues, 2017 edition

Stained glass window in the Kazinczy street orthodox synagogue, Budapest


By now it’s a JHE tradition.

The night of November 9-10 marks the  79th anniversary of the so-called Kristallnacht pogrom in 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.

We feel that the best way to mark the  anniversary is to post images of some of the beautiful synagogues that still stand in Europe — or have been renovated and refurbished — or have been newly built. You can CLICK HERE  to see the selection of photos from 2013.  To see the photos from  2014 CLICK HERE –  for the photos from 2015, CLICK HERE — for the photos from last year, 2016, CLICK HERE.


Interior of the baroque synagogue in Mád, Hungary, restored in 2004


November 9 also marked the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1990. The collapse of communism sparked 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.


Ceiling, synagogue in Saluzzo, Italy


Modern synagogue in Mainz, Germany

The synagogue in Mád, Hungary viewed through a window in a room of the inn now housed in the former rabbi’s house/yeshiva

Kazinczy st orthodox synagogue, Budapest

The synagogue in Cuneo, Italy

Carpentras synagogue, Ark


Tourists wait to enter the synagogue in Carpentras, France

Medieval synagogue in Worms, Germany – destroyed by the Nazis, totally rebuilt in 1961

Inside the Garnethill synagogue, Glasgow, Scotland

Exterior, synagogue in Alessandria, Italy

Restored White Synagogue, Joniskis, Lithuania. Photo: EEA

Women’s galleries in the synagogue in Alessandria, Italy

Synagogue in Verona, Italy

Ceiling, Verona, Italy, Synagogue

Interior of the restored wooden synagogue in Pakruojis, Lithuania. Photo: EEA

Looking up the facade of the New Synagogue, Oranienburgerstrasse, Berlin

The synagogue in Casale Monferrato, viewed through the grille of the women’s gallery

Synagogue in Sighet, Romania



6 thoughts on “Kristallnacht: Marking the anniversary with wonderful synagogues, 2017 edition

  1. How delightful to see the Carpentras synagogue among this collection. We visited there in May 2017, and also Cavaillon, two of the three oldest synagogues in France, and Avignon as well. The tours were excellent and we learned a lot about these wonderful buildings and their accoutrements.
    Sadly, Cavaillon no longer has a community or holds regular services, though on the day we visited, a party from Paris was arriving to celebrate Shabbat there. They brought all their kosher food with them.
    Shortly afterwards, in Italy, we also visited Siena and Florence, two very different yet magnificent synagogues, both in regular use.
    Sadly, not all synagogue buildings are respected when no longer in use. The former Summer Synagogue in Ventspils, Latvia was, a few years ago, a motor mechanic’s workshop and we were abused for trying to photograph the building through an open gate.
    So we must be grateful for what we have, and visit as many as possible while we can.

  2. I am deeply moved by these outstanding pictures of renovated Jewish monuments all over Europe.
    In my opinion, there should be a way to present these pictures to Israelis and Jwes worldwide inorder to enhance heritage tours to these places, that truely represent the very vibrant and pride of Jewish life through history.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *