Public task financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland within the grant competition “Public Diplomacy 2021”
The opportunity to get acquainted with selected monuments of Jewish heritage in Poland (synagogues, cemeteries and a funeral home) and visit them without leaving home.
A series of three webinars, organized in late autumn 2021, inaugurating a discussion on the historical and cultural value of tangible Jewish heritage in Poland, as well as the challenges facing Polish and Jewish partners involved in its protection.
Blog about Jewish heritage in Poland. Interesting articles, fascinating photo reports presenting the beauty and symbolism of Jewish monuments.
The synagogue known as the Great Synagogue was built near the city walls in the 2nd or 3rd quarter of the 17th century (1637–1654), after the fire that consumed the earlier wooden synagogue. The brick and stone building was erected on a square plan with a side of 20 x 22 m. The synagogue was renovated several times. In the 18th century, a two-story women’s section was added to the north side (probably in place of the previous one, which was too small). In the next century, a one-story vestibule with a women’s section on the west side was also added, and the male main hall was covered with a wooden mirrored corbel vault. The building was covered with a hipped mansard roof covered with shingles. The whole structure bears the features of the Baroque style.
In 1861, the synagogue was damaged during a fire in the town. Subsequent renovations, probably also related to the renovation of internal polychromes, were carried out in 1875. The building could accommodate a total of 300 men and 400 women. Its value was estimated at 25 million Polish marks.
At the beginning of World War II, the Germans devastated the synagogue’s furnishings. They also burned the sacred books and scrolls found there. From 1940, the building was included in the ghetto, and from 1942, there was a labor camp called „Synagogue”. After the war, it was used as a warehouse and changes were made to the interior. The polychromes were painted white, and the men’s room was divided into two floors. In 1983, efforts were made to protect the historic interiors and organize a museum there. The synagogue and the beth ha-midrash were connected by an underground passage. Plans to create an exhibition there have not been implemented.
In September 2005, the synagogue became the property of the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage. At that time, the area around the building was cleaned up and the windows and doors were sealed. Proper renovation, including strengthening the walls and foundations as well as renovation of the roof and external plasters, were carried out in 2010–2014. Currently, the synagogue is open to visitors after prior notification to the Foundation.