The long-derelict 19th century synagogue in Kőszeg, western Hungary, is reopening to the public after a full-scale renovation that took place over the past two years. The synagogue, which is owned by the state, will become a cultural centre but also will be able to be used for religious services.
JHE’s Ruth Ellen Gruber is on the program of its first public event, Sunday August 28-29 — the opening of an exhibition about Philip (Fülöp) Schey (1798-1881), a Jewish philanthropist born in Kőszeg (known in German as Güns), who had grown rich as a textile merchant and later became a banker for the Hapsburgs. In 1859, Emperor Franz Joseph raised Schey to the Hungarian nobility — he was the first Jew to receive this honor and took the title Philip Schey von Koromla.
The exhibit is called “A Kőszeg Success Story: the Schey Family,” and it presents Philip Schey’s family, life and work: his economic and philanthropic activities, as well as his founding of institutions.
It begins at 3 p.m. and is organized by iAsk — the Institute of Advanced Studies in Kőszeg, which has played a role in the restoration of the building.
The opening is part of a two-day series of events, “Synagogue Week in Kőszeg,” including concerts, lectures, guided tours, and book presentations.
A conversation with Yechiel Weizman on his book
Unsettled Heritage: Living Next to Poland’s Material Jewish Traces after the Holocaust (Ithaca, 2022)
In Unsettled Heritage, Yechiel Weizman explores what happened to the thousands of abandoned Jewish cemeteries and places of worship that remained in Poland after the Holocaust. He asks how postwar Polish society in small, provincial towns perceived, experienced, and interacted with the physical traces of former Jewish neighbors. Combining archival research into hitherto unexamined sources and anthropological field work, the book uncovers the concrete and symbolic fate of Poland’s material Jewish remnants and shows how their presence became the main vehicle through which Polish society was confronted with the memory of the Jews and their annihilation. Leading the conversation with Weizman will be Monika Rice, and joining them will be Alon Confino and Amos Goldberg.
This event will be held via ZOOM Webinar.
Registration is required, register in advance here.
A two-day event celebrates the 120th anniversary of the New Synagogue in Szeged, Hungary, the masterpiece of prolific synagogue architect Lipot Baumhorn. The synagogue was inaugurated on May 19, 1903.
There will be a talk about the synagogue’s history and architecture, and that of the Old Synagogue, and also other presentations, including about the noted rabbis Lipot and Immanual Löw, as well as a talk by the Szeged mayor about the synagogue’s role in the city.
See the program here:
Opening of an exhibition of photographs by Daniella Grinberg to mark the 200th anniversary of the synagogue in the village of Kővágóörs, near the north shore of Hungary’s Lake Balaton. The exhibit runs until June 30.
Long abandoned and ruined, the synagogue is now under the care of a foundation that purchased the building and is working to restore it for use as both a synagogue and a cultural center. It already hosts cultural events there.
The Synagogue of Káli-valley Foundation (in Hungarian, Káli-medence Zsinagógája Alapítvány) officially acquired the building in October, 2020 after a year and a half of discussions, from a Canadian businessman of Hungarian origin, who had owned the synagogue since 2013.