Pre-World War II synagogue in Poland closed and faces imminent demolition

by JNS
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The owner of the synagogue building, a local real estate developer, “doesn’t want us there,” said community member David Gurfinkel.

The 120-year-old Reicher Synagogue in Lodz, Poland. Credit: Wikipedia.

The 120-year-old Reicher Synagogue in Lodz, Poland. Credit: Wikipedia.

(JNS) A synagogue that served as a Jewish house of worship in the city of Lodz, Poland, before World War II and, in recent years, has once again been used by members of the Jewish community there was abruptly shut down.

According to a report in the Israeli media outlet Ynet, members of the Lodz Jewish community said the locks to the 120-year-old Reicher Synagogue were abruptly changed, and that the building’s owner told them they could no longer enter because of safety concerns due to the building’s age.

The synagogue is one of the few to have survived the Holocaust and has continued to serve as a prayer spot for members of the small Jewish community in Lodz—the second-largest Jewish community in Poland before the war—and which saw a ghetto established there during the war.

The existing Jewish community volunteered to renovate the structure, but the owner declined, leaving many convinced that the owner plans to demolish the building to put up a residential complex instead.

The owner of the synagogue building, a local real estate developer, “doesn’t want us there,” said community member David Gurfinkel.

The leader of “Hakoach Lodz,” a group that seeks to promote Jewish culture in the city, Gurfinkel told Ynet that the Reicher Synagogue once saw 20 to 30 worshippers daily. Those figures vary based on the number of Israeli tourists and the time of year, he said, adding that the population of the local Jewish community has risen in recent months due to the influx of Ukrainian Jews.

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