Public task financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland within the grant competition “Public Diplomacy 2021”
The synagogue building, surviving to the present day, bears witness to the high status held by the local Jewish community. Until the mid-20th century, the synagogue was one of a few stone buildings in Orla. According to the local legend it was converted from the building of a Calvinist church that once existed in the town. Princess Radziwłł is rumoured to have enabled the Jews to purchase the building if they collected 10.000 coins overnight. The Jews were so determined that they collected that amount within an hour. This tale, however, bears no relation to the historical reality. The stone synagogue built in the 2nd quarter of the 17th century, but archaeological research revealed that a small wooden synagogue had stood in the same place earlier. About 100 years after the foundation of the synagogue, women's galleries were added on each side of the building: wooden at first, and then made of brick. The synagogue combines Renaissance and Baroque styles. In the 19th century, the building was given a classical facade with a frieze resting on two columns. Unfortunately, the furnishings of the synagogue, including the large aron ha-kodesh, have not survived. Still, preserved to this day are remnants of colourful polychrome wall paintings with vegetal and animal motifs, as well as four columns surrounding the place where the bimah stood. Before the war, the square in front of the synagogue was called the school square, and the synagogue complex also included two wooden houses of prayer, the rabbi's house, and a mikveh. All the buildings burned down in a great fire that swept Orla in 1938. Although this priceless example of Jewish heritage has survived the turmoil of wars, it still awaits full scale repair after incomplete renovation work in the 1980s. The owner of the synagogue since 2010 has been the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage in Poland (FODŻ).
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.