Jewish Heritage Europe

Heritage & Heritage Sites

GENERAL & WEB

“Our Legacy: The CIS Synagogues, Past & Present”

Online version of a book by Michael Beizer that tracks the history of synagogues in the countries of the former Soviet Union, as well as their suppression, the restitution process, and the restoration of synagogues after 1991. The book includes photographs and information on dozens of sites. Note: the book came out in 2002, so some of the material is out of date. 

 Le Dor Va Dor Project 

Project documenting Jewish cemeteries in Russia, established in 2007 by young enthusiasts.

Jewish East Prussia

Web site about Jewish history, life & heritage in East Prussia (now divided among Lithuania, Russia & Poland)

INDIVIDUAL SITES

MOSCOW

Home to the largest Jewish community in Russia, with many resources for local Jews and visitors.

Choral Synagogue

Grand domed synagogue, the main synagogue in Russia, designed by the Austrian architect Semeon Eibuschitz with S.K. Rodionov. The construction of the temple was completed in 1891, but it was not formally inaugurated and open to the public until 1906, after further renovation and architectural work by the noted architect Roman Klein.

 See this documentary film (in Russian) about the synagogue:

BABUSHKIN (MYSOVAYA; MYSOVSK)

A stop on the Trans-Siberian Railway on the southern shore of Lake Baikal. There is a small, ruined Jewish cemetery, established in around 1825 and used until 1937.

Project to Restore the Jewish Cemetery

Initiative spearheaded by Russian-born, Canadian author Vladimir Rott. The web site has a list of names of people found on the surviving gravestones. See the JHE post on this project.

ROSTOV-ON-DON

Synagogue

Today’s Jewish community uses the so-called Soldiers’ Synagogue, built in 1872 and now the only functioning synagogue in the city. It has simple facades with tall arched windows and small cupolas at the corners of the roof. Damaged in anti-Jewish riots in 1905, it was renovated and restructured in 1913-14 under the direction of the St. Petersburg artist-architect  Jacob Germanovich Gevirtsa, who specialized designing synagogues. It was nationalized in 1935 and used for a decade as a factory. It was returned to Jewish ownership in the early 1990s, after which it was refurbished, restored and rededicated in 2005. See the building’s history on the Jewish community’s web site.

 ST. PETERSBURG

Great Choral Synagogue

Grandly ornate, Moorish-style synagogue with distinctive tall dome, consecrated on Dec. 8, 1893. The web page provides a detailed history of the synagogue, in the context of the history of the Jewish community. It includes pictures and architectural designs.

Small Synagogue

Part of the Great Choral Synagogue complex, this synagogue was dedicated in 1886. The web page gives its history (and more can be found on the web page for the Great Choral Synagogue): “Its stucco ceiling was created by sculptor Moisei Anoli; Aron-ha-Kodesh was made by cabinet-maker Berman and gilder Solomon Antovil. The Small synagogue functioned as Temporary synagogue until the Grand Synagogue prayer hall was ready (1893). In 1894, when the seven Jewish chapels officially existing in the city were closed down by Government’s decree, the Small Synagogue began to be used as Chassidic merchants’ chapel. It has remained Chassidic up to this day.”

Transfiguration Jewish Cemetery

Monumental cemetery with more than 80,000 graves. The web site includes a searchable database with information on almost all graves, and a map of the cemetery with listings by plot and row.

TOMSK

Synagogue

38 Ruza Luksmburg Street
Email: syntero@inbox.ru

The Great Choral Synagogue in this town in western Siberia was built in 1902. Confiscated by the Soviet regime, it was returned to Jewish community ownership in 1999. A decade later, It was completely restored inside and out and rededicated in 2010. The restoration included placing a new on the central tower — the original dome had been removed. In addition to a prayer hall, the complex now includes a community center, classrooms, a library, children’s playrooms,  a mikveh, a Judaica shop and a cafe.

The architect, Israel-based Ignat Feldblum, posted a Facebook gallery showing the renovation of the building and its completed form, as well as pictures on his web site.

Click to see the Facebook gallery of photos showing stages of the restoration, including “before” pictures

Click here to see some of the pictures on Feldblum’s web site