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Przysucha

History of the synagogue

„Magnificent” - this is how visitors coming to Przysucha once described its synagogue. Even today, despite the fact that it requires renovation, the building is impressive. It is one of the few preserved late Baroque synagogues in Poland and the only one in the region. It was erected in the years 1775–1790, on a rectangular plan with sides of 35 by 19 meters. External and internal walls were made of split limestone jointed with lime mortar; the building is oriented to the east, the entrance is in the southern wall, and it is covered with a hipped, stepped roof. The facades are divided with pilaster strips, the corners of the building are rounded.

The synagogue was a place of worship until September 1939.

During World War II, the Germans used the building as a warehouse, and it remained so after 1945. The first project of the monument’s conservation was undertaken in the 1960s. However, the work carried out in the years 1968–1970 was carried out unskillfully and did not turn out to be good for the synagogue. The roof structure was changed, the stuccowork and most of the internal plasters were removed. The pillars supporting the bima were also cut, which threatened the very structure of the building. Attempts were made to restore its stability by adding a steel structure around the bimah, but it was not properly anchored.

Since 2007, the synagogue has been owned by the Foundation for the Preservation of Jewish Heritage, which is trying to save it. The roof and façade were renovated, the foundations and the structure were reinforced. Unfortunately, still much remains to be done. According to the Foundation’s plans from 2017, Przysucha, with its renovated synagogue, adapted for exhibition and conference purposes, would become the center of the southern part of the „Mazovian Jews Route”.

 

 

                Virtual tour of the synagogue in Przysucha  

 

             Virtual tour  
of the synagogue in Przysucha   

 

Virtual tour through the cemetery in Przysucha  

 

Virtual tour  
of the cemetery in Przysucha
  

History of the cemetery

The Jewish cemetery in Przysucha was established in the mid-18th century. It was devastated during the occupation by the Germans: its fence was pulled down, the matzevot were destroyed and used as building material, among others, for a construction in the backyard of the fire station. After 1945, the necropolis continued to deteriorate. In 1987, the Nissenbaum Family Foundation carried out cleanup work on the cemetery: the area was fenced, two ohelim were erected (Hebrew word for a tent, a building erected on the tombs of tzaddiks and rabbis and their family members; after World War II, in Europe, ohelim were erected in ruined cemeteries to commemorate the murdered tzadikim who used to be buried in a given necropolis). In Przysucha, one ohel stands over the grave of a preacher and one of the first promoters of Hasidism in central Poland, Abraham of Przysucha (died in 1806). In another, double ohel, there are eight brass plates. Two of them are to commemorate the founders, and the rest are dedicated to the memory of prominent tzaddikim associated with the school in Przysucha: Yakov Yitzhak Rabinovich, known as the Holy Jew (1766-1813))

Symcha Bunem (1765-1827), Yerachmiel of Przysucha (1784-1836), Yakov Yitzhak Elchanan (died 1873), Yerachmiel Yudy Meir of Przysucha (died 1897) and Tzvi Hirsh Mordechai of Przysucha (died 1865).

Przysucha and its ohelim are visited by Hasidim from abroad. Fragments of the surviving matzevot have been collected near the ohel. The oldest one comes from 1771 from the grave of Yakov, son of Zew.

 

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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.

Virtual Tours

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.

Webinars

Blog about Jewish heritage in Poland. Interesting articles, fascinating photo reports presenting the beauty and symbolism of Jewish monuments.

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