The scaffolding is down, and renovation of the exterior of the synagogue in the town of Karcag is expected to be completed by the end of this month. The roof and windows were repaired, and the building’s façade was repaired and repainted — bringing it back to its original pale beige with darker tan trim.
Located in east-central Hungary, Karcag has a small but active Jewish community that uses the synagogue on main holidays and for other events. It is the hometown of the Hungarian-born Israeli Nobel Prize in Chemistry laureate Avram (Ferenc) Hershko.
The synagogue, designed Bolgár Blaum, was inaugurated on 20 March 1899, and last year the Jewish community celebrated its 120th anniversary with ceremonies that saw the participation of local people as well as local and national authorities.
You can watch the main anniversary ceremony here:
The renovation works started in May and according to local media, more than 70 million forints (around €200.000) were spent in order to repair the roof, strengthen the windows, renovate the façade, and repaint the entire building.
Jewish community leader Barbabás Csillag told local TV that one third of the funds were granted by the Hungarian government, while the remaining two thirds were provided by MAZSIHISZ, the umbrella organization of the Hungarian Neolog community.
He said research by the Monuments Protection Authority had established that the original color of the synagogue was light beige with darker trim, and not ocher, as it had been repainted after WWII, nor two-tone yellow, as it was painted as part of large-scale restoration works that took place in the early 2000s.
Watch a local TV report about the renovation, with an interview with Csillag — shot while the scaffolding was still up.
The garden that surrounds the building and a small monument in memory of the victims of the Holocaust will also be renovated. The Jewish community is now seeking funds to restore the interior of the synagogue and the iron fence that surrounds the property.
The synagogue underwent a full-scale restoration between 1996 and 2004. Today, the small Jewish community only uses it for the High Holidays, and some other events, such as the Holocaust Memorial Day. Holocaust memorials also stand at the Jewish cemetery, located in the outskirts of the city, where the oldest tomb dates back to 1840.