Jewish Heritage Europe


“Judapest”: Austria-Hungary and its Jews at the Fin-de-Siècle @ Online Zoom event
Apr 20 @ 18:00 – 19:30
"Judapest": Austria-Hungary and its Jews at the Fin-de-Siècle @ Online Zoom event

Lecture by Michael Miller, of CEU

Budapest is sometimes called the “Paris of the East,” but in the 1890s, it acquired a new, less flattering nickname: “Judapest.” Karl Lueger, the antisemitic mayor of Vienna – who hated Hungarians more than he hated Jews – is often credited with coining this derogatory nickname for a city that he thought had become more “Jewish” than “Hungarian.”  Budapest was Europe’s fastest-growing city at the time, with a flurry of cultural and commercial activity that fascinated — and sometimes appalled — contemporary residents and visitors. This talk will examine the image of Budapest in the decades before and after the First World War, exploring the ways in which Hungary’s capital city was imagined by Jews and non-Jews alike as a quintessentially Jewish metropolis.

The evening will be chaired by Professor Mark E. Smith, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Southampton. It will be hosted by Professor Mark Cornwall (University of Southampton, Parkes Institute)

The event will be held on Zoom. Please register by Monday 19th April 16:00 here:

Speaker biography: Michael L. Miller is Associate Professor in the Nationalism Studies Program at Central European University in Budapest, Hungary, and co-founder of the university’s Jewish Studies program. He received his PhD in History from Columbia University, where he specialized in Jewish and Central European History. Michael’s research focuses on the impact of nationality conflicts on the religious, cultural, and political development of Central European Jewry in the long nineteenth century. His articles have appeared in Slavic Review, Austrian History Yearbook, Simon Dubnow Institute Yearbook, Múlt és Jövő , The Jewish Quarterly Review and AJS Review. Miller’s book, Rabbis and Revolution: The Jews of Moravia in the Age of Emancipation, was published by Stanford University Press in 2011. It appeared in Czech translation as Moravští Židé v době emancipace (Nakladatelství Lidové noviny, 2015). He is currently working on a history of Hungarian Jewry, titled Manovill: A Tale of Two Hungarys.

The Preservation of Jewish Monuments in Eastern Europe @ Online Zoom event
Apr 25 @ 16:00 – 17:00
The Preservation of Jewish Monuments in Eastern Europe @ Online Zoom event

A series of three online talks by Dr. Samuel D. Gruber, president of the International Survey of Jewish Monuments. Part of the Orange County Jewish Community Scholar Program.

Click here to register and find more details

Seventy-five years after the Holocaust, and thirty years after the fall of Communism, how is the Jewish past being preserved and presented in Eastern Europe? In these three illustrated lectures Dr. Samuel Gruber reviews efforts in Eastern Europe by government and private agencies, institutions, and organizations to document, protect, conserve, and maintain Jewish historic and religious sites, especially synagogues, cemeteries, and Holocaust-related sites.  In the decades since the fall of the Iron Curtain, the quantity and quality of this work keeps growing, as well as increased engagement Jewish and non-Jewish communities, and the interest of travelers from around the world. 
Sunday April 11, 2021SAVING SYNAGOGUES – In the world of Jewish “monuments,” synagogues are the big-ticket items. There are always considerable political, financial, and technical challenges in restoring synagogues in Eastern Europe, but the biggest problem is always what will the building be used for. Does it have a Jewish use? Can it retain some Jewish identity? How can saving an old building most effectively do justice to past events and contribute to a better present and future. This talk will look at a range of projects big and small – many of which the speaker has been actively involved – including the restoration of the beautiful Tempel Synagogue in Krakow, Poland and synagogues in Boskovice (Czech Republic), and Plovdiv (Bulgaria). We’ll visit a range of projects in the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Ukraine.  Some have been successful, some not.
Sunday April 18, 2021PRESERVING CEMETERIES – For Jews, cemeteries are inviolable sacred sites, but Nazi and Communist regimes carried out policies that ruined Jewish cemeteries and often stripped them entirely of their gravestones and even despoiled graves. For decades, the only Jewish cemetery in Eastern Europe that was well known was the Old Cemetery in Prague. Since 1990 enormous strides have been taken in the identification and documentation of thousands Jewish cemeteries in Central and Eastern Europe. Some of these have often stunningly beautiful remaining matzevot (gravestones), but many have been stripped of their stones and have even been paved or built over. Beginning in 1991, as Research Director the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Aboard, Dr. Gruber was a leader in the identification and documentation of thousands of these sites. Since then efforts to protect and preserve these sites have been erratic, but there have been hundreds of successful interventions – ranging from simple cleaning of sites by local school and church groups,  to full-scale restorations of walls and re-erection of gravestones and mausolea by Jewish communities, government agencies and private foundations. Today several organizations are carrying out extensive mapping, fencing and conservation projects.
Sunday April 25, 2021COMMEMORATING HOLOCAUST SITES – In a sense, every place in eastern Europe where Jews once lived but now do not should be considered a Holocaust-related site.  A goal of educators and activists in many countries has been to bring back the history of Jews in a place especially when those communities were irrevocably destroyed. This talk will focus on the commemoration of those destroyed communities and their murdered members and how the places of their suffering – ghettos, deportation centers, concentration, labor and death camps, and mass grave sites are being remembered and identified. Dr. Gruber will discuss key examples of the memorialization process a Holocaust-related sites in Germany, Poland, Lithuania and the Czech Republic.
The Architecture of Greek Synagogues @ Online Zoom event
Jun 2 @ 19:00 – 20:15
The Great Synagogue of Vilnius – Finds from the Past and a Vision for the Future @ Both at Lithuanian Jewish Community Center and on Facebook
Aug 24 @ 18:00 – 19:00
The Great Synagogue of Vilnius – Finds from the Past and a Vision for the Future @ Both at Lithuanian Jewish Community Center and on Facebook | Vilnius | Vilniaus apskritis | Lithuania
Lecture by Dr. Jon Seligman – Archaeologist and the Director of the Excavations, Surveys and Research Department of the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Since August 9 team of archaeologists with led by Dr. Seligman continues the works of previous excavation seasons of Vilnius Great Synagogue and this August plan to fully expose the remainder of the Bimah, the Torah Ark/Aron Kodesh, the floor and the southeastern and northwestern walls of the synagogue.

The lecture will be in English.

Place: Lithuanian Jewish community, Pylimo str. 4., III floor.

The project is partially financed by the Good Will Foundation.

Facebook event:

“Restoring the Memory of Jewish Communities of Upper Silesia” @ online
Aug 29 @ 19:00 – 20:00
“Restoring the Memory of Jewish Communities of Upper Silesia” @ online
31 year old Sławek Pastuszka is the grandchild of two Holocaust survivors. He is the new head of the Katowice Chevrah Kadisha (burial society). Sławek is doctoral student in Judaic Studies at Jagiellonian University, a cemetery guardian/preservationist and a prolific author of books and articles on Jewish history and Jewish cemeteries.
Most recently, Sławek was instrumental in retrieving dozens of tombstones that were vandalized many years ago from the Sosnowiec cemetery. The talk will be in English.
Here is the Zoom link:
Meeting ID: 892 5998 5966
Passcode: HLK4Wh
Exhibit of rescued matzevot fragments @ Huta Bedzin
Sep 25 @ 11:00 – 17:00
Exhibit of rescued matzevot fragments @ Huta Bedzin | Będzin | Śląskie | Poland

More than 1,000 fragments of Jewish headstones that the Communist authorities removed in the 1960s from the Jewish cemetery on Zagorska Street and used to build a railway station platform will be exhibited to the public.

Excavations have been going on for six months to recover them, and they will eventually used to create a memorial.

At 5 pm, at the Muzeum Cafe Jerozolima, there will be a presentation about the history of the cemetery.


Jewish gravestone images in Venice @ MAJH, Paris, Auditorium
Nov 25 @ 12:30 – 14:00

Les stèles funéraires de l’ancien cimetière juif de Venise. Art, histoire et poésie

Old Jewish Cemetery, Venice

A lecture in French by Sofia Locatelli about the carved imagery found in the Old Jewish Cemetery in Venice, 1386-1774.

Construit en 1386 sur un terrain stérile concédé aux juifs par la République de Venise au Lido, à l’Est de la ville, l’ancien cimetière juif San Nicolò précède de plus d’un siècle la clôture du ghetto. En raison de son emplacement favorable, face à la lagune, la nécropole fut parfois utilisée à des fins défensives et militaires. De nombreuses stèles funéraires furent perdues, détruites ou réutilisées, et d’autres déplacées sur un terrain situé plus au Sud, devenu officiellement le « nouveau cimetière » en 1774. Les tombes de l’ancienne nécropole sont des artefacts riches en histoire, en poésie et en art. Leur étude permet de restituer la vie et les événements des membres de la communauté, mais également de détecter des aspects significatifs de la culture littéraire et artistique de l’époque.

Les épitaphes, véritables poèmes en rimes et en rythme, et le complexe réseau iconographique et symbolique gravé sur les stèles, font de l’ancien cimetière du Lido une source de connaissance exceptionnelle sur l’art et la poésie juives dans l’Italie de l’époque moderne.


Koszeg synagogue opening-exhibit @ Koszeg, Hungary synagogue
Aug 28 @ 15:00 – Aug 29 @ 19:00
Koszeg synagogue opening-exhibit @ Koszeg, Hungary synagogue | Kőszeg | Hungary

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.

140th anniversary, Bordeaux Great Synagogue @ Grande Synagogue Bordeaux
Nov 9 – Dec 18 all-day

A series of events in  November and December celebrate the 140th anniversary of the Grande Synagogue. The series kicks off  November  9 with an official ceremony.

See the program below:

“Unsettled Heritage” event @ online
Nov 30 @ 20:00 – 21:30
"Unsettled Heritage" event @ online

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.

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