Jewish Heritage Europe

Update: Restored Teleki synagogue in Oradea, Romania rededicated after restoration; will become a Jewish museum

Teleki synagogue Oradea, after renovation. Photo: Oradea City Hall

 

The Primariei (Teleki) Street (Hinech Neorim) synagogue in Oradea, western Romania, has been rededicated after restoration — and a Jewish museum is planned to be opened there as early as December, with a section devoted to a Holocaust memorial, with the names of local victims inscribed on the walls.

The synagogue was rededicated at a ceremony on October 9 — the date marked as Holocaust Remembrance Day in Romania. It is the latest of three synagogue restorations in the city in recent years.

According to a report on the City Hall web site

The Executive Director of the Foundation for the Protection of Historic Monuments, Angela Lupşea [said] the synagogue will soon become an exhibition space dedicated to the Jewish community in Oradea and the victims of the Holocaust. […] The mezzanine space will be dedicated exclusively to the Holocaust and those deported to Auschwitz, where the names of the deported Jews are being painted[…] The ground floor space will be an exhibition space where the colors of the State of Israel will be predominant: white and blue.

Names of Shoah Victims being inscribed on walls of restored synagogue Photo: Oradea City Hall

 

“It is an extraordinary moment in the life of the Jewish community in Oradea and in the city of Oradea that in a very short time, in a record time, this destroyed, profaned, burned building took [back] its life,” Oradea Jewish community president Felix Koppelman said at the inauguration ceremony, according to the City Hall web site

During the ceremony, the only surviving Oradea Holocaust survivor, Zoltan Blum lit six candles in memory of the six million Jews killed in the Shoah.

Interior, showing restored women’s galleries. Photo: Oradea City Hall

 

The work of conservation and restoration on the synagogue began in May of this year. According to the City Hall web site:

Interior works consisted of: plastering and painting repairs, ornamentation repairs, replacement of wooden doors, window repairs, underfloor heating, marble flooring, restoration of electrical installations and lighting installations, installation of IT network for internal use, installation video surveillance and anti-burglary systems, roof repairs, gutter and gutter installation.

The exterior repairs consisted of plastering and painting on the facade and the restoration of the decorative elements of the façade. The following will be followed by the works of fence repairing, the exterior fitting works and the thermal connection.

As we wrote in September, previewing the dedication,  the synagogue, constructed in the late 1920s and designed by the architect Istvan Pinter, is the last to have been built of the six synagogues in Oradea that still stand today. After the Holocaust, it was long used as a vegetable warehouse.

The building is owned by the Jewish community, but, as we reported earlier, the Heritage Property Department of Oradea took over the management in 2016.

The restoration of the building is the latest in a series of synagogue restorations in the town

The magnificent Zion Synagogue, a towering landmark on the bank of the Cris river in the city center that served the Neolog community, was rededicated in 2015 after a full restoration and now serves as a cultural center.

The Jewish community uses two synagogues that stand in the community compound. The Great Synagogue was rededicated in September 2017 after an eight-year renovation of both the exterior and interior.

See statement on the City Hall web site, with photo gallery

 

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