Gdansk shul back in Jewish hands

1927 structure was used after the war by Poland as a warehouse to store furniture.

September 1, 2009 22:10
1 minute read.
Gdansk shul back in Jewish hands

gdansk new shul 248.88. (photo credit: Michael Freund)


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


In a gesture laden with symbolism, the sole remaining synagogue in the Polish city of Gdansk was restored in its entirety to the local Jewish community on Monday, on the eve of ceremonies marking 70 years since the start of World War II. "This is a special day," community president Mychal Samet told The Jerusalem Post. "We are pleased that the synagogue has been returned." While ownership of the building was officially transferred to the Jewish community in 2001, a Polish music school situated at the site had continued to use most of the structure, which left just a small wing available for Jewish prayer services and other communal activities. But the music academy relocated at the start of this week, in advance of the new school year, paving the way for the Jewish community to reclaim the remainder of the building, which includes the hall where the original main sanctuary once stood. Built in 1927 in the Wrzeszcz district of Gdansk, just 3 km. from the city center, the shul became known as the New Synagogue. It was partially destroyed by the Germans in 1938, and after the war Poland's Communist authorities used it as a warehouse to store furniture. Approximately 100 people are currently registered as official members of Gdansk's Jewish community, Samet said, though many more are believed to live in the area, either unaware of their heritage or afraid to reveal it. He noted that weekly Sabbath services are held in a small beit midrash, or study hall, in the building, which also houses the community's offices and dining room. The outside of the synagogue building is in an obvious state of disrepair, and much of the inside was remodeled while under Communist control. As a result, Samet said, a great deal of funds will be needed to renovate the structure, which he hopes will serve both as a center of Jewish life and as a place where local non-Jews can learn more about Poland's rich Jewish heritage. "Gdansk is a special place, and it is home to one of the only synagogues still standing in this part of Poland," he said. "It is our responsibility - we must preserve it."

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Joan Rivers
August 28, 2014
Joan Rivers rushed to hospital following throat surgery