Presented by the Culture Ministry’s National Monuments Institute, the Awards, established in 2014, honour “positive and successful initiatives in the field of monument preservation completed in the previous year.”
The awards ceremony Tuesday night took place at the National Theatre in Prague and was broadcast live on Czech TV.
The Awards announcement states that the synagogue is the second largest surviving synagogue in Bohemia (after the Great Synagogue in Plzen):
…but since 1938 it has not served its purpose and had been falling into disrepair for decades. In its vacant state, together with the neighboring building of the rabbinate, it was bought in 2013 by Ing. Daniel Černý who started the challenging process of saving both buildings and restoring their social use. An exhibition is currently being prepared, after which both buildings will be made available to the public. Daniel Černý thus not only saved the physical essence of two cultural monuments, but also contributed to the rehabilitation and revitalization of another part of the historic city center.
Built in 1871-1872 and designed by the architect Johann Staňek, the synagogue, noted for its two side towers, was burnt out but not destroyed on the so-called Kristallnacht in November 1938. It was used as a military hospital and school during WW2; then as a warehouse.
Long empty and in deteriorating condition, the synagogue and rabbi’s house were bought in 2013 by Černý, who from 2019 oversaw a full-scale renovation of the buildings that was completed in 2022. Most of the €2 million costs of the project were covered with grants from the state and the EU.
Daniel Černý bought both buildings in 2013 in very poor technical condition, with completely empty interiors. It was clear from the beginning that due to the considerable volume of buildings (the synagogue is the second largest in the Czech Republic after the Pilsen Great Synagogue) it would be problematic to find a new meaningful and sustainable use for them. Daniel Černý decided to adapt the buildings into a cultural center which, among other things, will commemorate the history of the local Jewish community. The synagogue together with house No. 200 will form one functional unit, which will be used for cultural purposes in the future.