Restoration of the neo-gothic, red brick ceremonial hall at the Jewish cemetery in Břeclav, Czech Republic, has been completed. The building will be opened to the public in the spring and used as a cultural venue.
Designed by the Viennese architect Franz von Neumann, the hall was built in 1892 and financed by the prominent Jewish Kuffner family, whose members were active for decades as businessmen, politicians and philanthropists. Sugar factory owner Hermann Kuffner was mayor of Breclav at the time.
The Jewish community was annihilated in the Holocaust, and after WW2 the building was used as an upholstery and drugstore warehouse.
Costs of the restoration, begun in early 2023, amounted to 22 million crowns (around €895,000), half of which was granted by the EU’s European Regional Development Fund INTERREG cross-border cooperation program as part of a broader project on the Kuffner family that involved Břeclav and the nearby Slovak town of Sládkovičovo.
Restoration work was carried out both to the interior and exterior of the building, under the supervision of historian Alena Káňová. Work included the restoration of the stained glass windows, stucco decoration and Hebrew inscriptions, the original oak entrance door and its decorative ironwork, and the iron railings lining the stairs. The ceramic tiled roof was repaired, and the facade and sculptural details were cleaned.
“We don’t have many historical buildings in Břeclav,” Mayor Svatopluk Pěček said on the city’s web site. “Eighty years after the [Second World] war, the Jewish ceremonial hall fell into disrepair. I am therefore very pleased with its reconstruction. We will have a beautiful facility for organizing cultural and social events.”