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Sat Mar 6, 2021, 09:46 PM

In Eastern Europe, historic synagogues are sold for the price of a used car

On a visit to the city of Slonim in Belarus, Ilona Reeves fell in love with a 380-year-old dilapidated building that used to house one of the areaís largest and oldest synagogues.

Reeves, a 40-year-old author who lives in the Belarusian capital of Minsk, is a Christian, like virtually everyone who lives in the country. And the synagogue hadnít been operational since before the Holocaust, when three quarters of Slonim residents were Jewish. Virtually all were murdered by the Nazis.

Still, Reeves looked at the structure, which had fallen into disrepair after years of use as shops, and saw something she wanted to save.

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Before the genocide, Europe had an estimated 17,000 synagogues. Only about 3,300 of the structures remain standing today. Among those, only 776, or 23%, are being used as synagogues, according to the Foundation for Jewish Heritage.

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Reply In Eastern Europe, historic synagogues are sold for the price of a used car (Original post)
Behind the Aegis Mar 6 OP
70sEraVet Mar 6 #1
Grasswire2 Mar 6 #2
frazzled Mar 6 #3

Response to Behind the Aegis (Original post)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 10:10 PM

1. Fascinating article: the thought of those grand sacred structures

waiting to be saved, and the work and massive funds it would take to save them, is staggering. Bless Ms. Reeves.

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Original post)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 10:34 PM

2. We have been watching a fascinating youtube channel by a chipper Brit who...

...has a passion for finding, visiting, examining everything the Soviets left behind, abandoned, in the former Soviet states. Moldava, Armenia, Kyrgistan, Belarus, etc. etc. etc.

Absolutely interesting! He goes on foot to the ends of the territories to hunt down relics and Stalin statues, and talk to villagers all along the way -- people who were displaced and treated so very badly and now live with little, left behind.

The name of the youtube channel is "Bald and Bankrupt"

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Response to Behind the Aegis (Original post)

Sat Mar 6, 2021, 10:47 PM

3. There is a film, "Raise the Roof"

that follows a project to reconstruct a Polish synagogue. I saw it on PBS several years ago, and itís fascinating, both for the history and the remarkable craftsmanship and effort documented.

I should mention that my paternal grandparents emigrated around 1913 from Brest, which is now in Belarus (but then traded back and forth between Poland and Russia).

Rivaling the greatest wooden architecture in history, the synagogues of 18th-century Poland inspired artists Rick and Laura Brown of Handshouse Studio to embark on a 10-year pursuitóto reconstruct the elaborate roof and painted ceiling of the Gwoździec synagogue. Leading over 300 students and professionals from 16 countries, the Browns grapple not just with the echoes of World War II when these buildings were destroyed by the Nazis, but also with warped timbers, tricky paints, and period hand tools. By the end of the project, they have done more than reconstruct a lost synagogue: they have recovered a lost world. The Gwoździec roof was unveiled in 2014 as the centerpiece of the POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw.


https://www.polishsynagogue.com/

https://

About the only place in Central Europe where the synagogues were not destroyed is Prague (reputedly only because Hitler wanted to make the Jewish Quarter there a museum of the lost race, with relics from all the looted and destroyed synagogues of Europe). Six synagogues, dating from the 13th to 19th centuries, in Gothic to Renaissance to Spanish styles, can be visited there. Fascinating.




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