Photographer's Note

My city.
Ostrowska new synagogue opened its doors after the renovation.

Synagogue open to the public - 21.09.2011

The New Synagogue in Ostrów Wielkopolski, Poland, is located in the city's center on Raszkowska 21 St., which was the northern edge of the former Jewish district. Currently, this is the only preserved metropolitan synagogue. It is built in the once very popular Moorish Revival style. It is the most precious monument of religious architecture in Ostrów Wielkopolski. Currently it is undergoing restoration. See the municipal website for updates.
The construction of a new building was determined by the fact that the old one was very small and of a poor condition. It was build in Moorish Revival style, popular among European synagogues. On April 7, 1857, Rabbi Moses Stossel from Kępno, placed the cornerstone. The building was designed by Moritz Landé, who also supervised its construction. The synagogue was completed in 1860. Building the synagogue would not have been possible without support from outside the Jewish community. Special merits went to Józef Aleksander Nasierowski, heir of the village of Wysocko. On October 10, 1872, a tragic event occurred there. During the prayers on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) gas lamps went out. Women and children whose place was up in the gallery, panicked. While fleeing, the staircase collapsed killing 19 people (Jews and one Christian girl). They were buried (except the Christian girl) in a mass grave in the Jewish cemetery which no longer exists. In 1903, at the cost of 12,000 German marks a renovation took place. During World War II, the Nazis demolished almost the entire Jewish Quarter. Because liquor and food were stored in there, the synagogue was spared. After the war, in the absence of Jewish community, the synagogue served as a furniture warehouse. The communists made changes to its interior by removing its movable parts, ritual objects, and liquidated Aron Kodesh.
In 1946, the Polish Army unit stationed in Ostrów suggested that a theater with a symphony orchestra be founded there but the Supreme Religious Council of Polish Jews and the Ministry of Public Administration did not give their consent to use it for artistic purposes.
In the mid 1980's several projects were suggested to adapt the space; unfortunately only one has passed which was the renovation of the roofing, to protect the wooden interior from decomposition caused by rainwater. In 1988 the synagogue was registered as a local monument.
It used to be open occasionally as a stage for performances. A non-professional theater festival, and the Film in Slides festival took place there as well as a series of seminars: Past for the Future, about the dealing with the penetration of German, Jewish, Polish and Russian cultures. Shevah Weiss, Israeli Ambassador to Poland was the honorary guest at the Past for the Future event. Currently, the synagogue is undergoing restoration.
In 2006, the matter of ownership of the synagogue and the two cemeteries had been dealt with. In exchange for the waiver of claims to the synagogue, the local government paid 225,000 złoty to the Jewish community in Wroclaw, and promised to build a lapidarium, collection of stone monuments on the site of the former Jewish cemetery, at the government's expense.
In line with the 2005 Local Revitalization Program of Ostrów, the synagogue was supposed to become a Center of the Three Cultures named for Wojciech B±k, Israel Meir Freimann and Edzard Schaper. Symphonic and choral concerts, theater performances and conferences will take place in the main prayer hall.
In 2006 an Association of Friends of Ostrów's Synagogue was established and in January 2007, the local government had allocated almost one million zlotys for renovation of the synagogue.
The 150th anniversary of the synagogue was celebrated on April 16, 2007. On this occasion, the Association of Friends of the Ostrów's Synagogues, and Radoslaw Torzyński, the Mayor of Ostrów, organized a special conference with several lectures and discussions on the history of the Jews in Ostrów. Betina Landé-Tergeist, the great granddaughter of Moritz Landé, the craftsman of the synagogue, was a special guest at the conference.

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Additional Photos by Krzysztof Dera (Fis2) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 13686 W: 162 N: 23757] (162759)
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