Jewish Heritage Europe

Ukraine: progress at renovation of Glanzer synagogue in Lviv

Jakob Glanzer synagogue, Lviv, viewed from bus stop


Significant progress has been made in the renovation of the Jakob Glanzer synagogue in Lviv, one of only two synagogue buildings in the city that survive intact.

The synagogue, known for its tall arched windows, was built in 1841-44 and remodeled in 1912. Its complex has been used since 1991 as a Jewish cultural center, but the sanctuary has been empty for some time and is now in poor condition. In 2012, previously unknown wall paintings were discovered in the synagogue. They include at least three large pictures situated on the southern wall, under the women’s galleries, depicting (according to partly readable inscriptions) Babylonian rivers, Jerusalem Temple and Western Wall. Some remnants of color can be seen also in the piers between the windows, around the place of the Torah ark and on the ceiling.

Sasha Nazar inside the Glanzer synagogue, July 2017

Sasha Nazar, who heads the All-Ukrainian Jewish Charitable Foundation Hesed-Arieh, whose offices are housed in the synagogue complex, reports that donations from individuals since October 2017 have enabled urgent works to go forward.

He wrote in a Facebook post:

With the donations we’ve gathered we were able to significantly advance our project of saving the Jakub Glanzer Shul.

Works included:

–  Installation of 48 new radiators throughout the building, and removal of the old ones.
– 1700 meters of heating piping installed
– more than 20 tons of construction debris removed
– the furnace has been placed inside the boiler room
– reconstruction of the boiler has begun with new foundations already laid and walls reinforced

Nazar reports that “the main objective now remains the heart of the heating system
– connecting the furnace and the boiler, and finishing the boiler room.” He said that another $3,155 was needed to complete the project. 

Interior of Glanzer synagogue in July 2017, before recent works, showing some of the rubble

Nazar said he hoped that once the synagogue was restored, the sanctuary would house a “Hall of Synagogues” museum.

In this project we will recreate 3D models of synagogues that were destroyed during the Nazi occupation of Lviv, and put them into a museum-like space in the Great Hall of the synagogue. This will allow us to preserve the memory of what’s gone (the destroyed synagogues) and also what’s still here and can be saved – the Glanzer Shul.

Here are some images of the synagogue as it was in July 2017, showing the damage to the sanctuary and the recently discovered wall paintings:




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