The night of November 9-10 marks the 85th anniversary of the so-called Kristallnacht pogrom — Reichspogromnacht — in 1938, when the Nazis launched coordinated violent attacks on Jews, Jewish property and Jewish places of worship all over Germany and German-occupied territory: more than 1,000 synagogues were torched that night; at least 7,000 Jewish businesses were devastated; nearly 100 Jews were killed and tens of thousands of Jews were arrested and sent to concentration camps. In the following years, hundreds — thousands — more synagogues and prayer houses were damaged or destroyed during World War II, and even after the War ended, hundreds more were either destroyed, left derelict and abandoned or converted for other use that totally obscured their original identity.
We feel that a powerful way to mark the anniversary is to counter the memory of destruction with images of some of the beautiful synagogues that still stand in Europe — or that have been renovated and refurbished — or that have been newly built. Some are used regularly for religious services; most have been converted for cultural use. (Some of the photos here are of synagogues that are owned by Jewish communities and used at least occasionally for religious purposes; others are used as cultural spaces.)
By now this is an annual JHE tradition. But we feel that it is particularly important to underscore the survival, revival, and perseverance of these places amid the current spike of antisemitism, which has also targeted Jewish built heritage and monuments, since the Hamas attack on Israel sparked the current war.