Though less than 20 years old, the modern New Synagogue in Chemnitz, Germany needs extensive structural repairs due to leakage and other issues. The city has greenlighted a further €300,000 grant to continue repair work begun several years ago.
According to the Chemnitz city web site, already in 2015 “significant moisture damage” was found throughout the building, and “by 2017, a total of €595,000 in investment grants had been paid to the Jewish community” for two phases of repair works.
The synagogue, designed by the Frankfurt architect Alfred Jacoby, was inaugurated on May 24, 2002 — it replaced a grand synagogue destroyed on Kristallnacht. Costing around €4 million to build, it is shaped like a round column, wider at the top than at the bottom, and anchors a Jewish community complex that also includes a library. Jacoby has designed at least eight new synagogues in Germany since 1988.
Radio Chemnitz said problems began appearing soon after the Chemnitz synagogue opened.
The news site blick.de said damage due to structural defects included leakage through the roofs of the sanctuary, community center, and foyer; so that “water was penetrating, the floor was swelling, and mold was forming.”
The city said the new grant, announced in May, will finance a third phase of repair work, to include:
the renovation of the mikveh, including the balcony. Drainage and concrete renovation, painting, repairing the water basin in front of the synagogue, repairing the damage to the electrical system, renovating the flat roof above the administrative area, checking the ventilation system and possibly repair work and scaffolding.
It said plans for these repairs had already been drawn up in 2018, but conditions prevented their implementation at the time.