Tag Archives: Jewish Poland

Synagogues in Poland

Jewish Poland

synagogue poland

The synagogue in Schneidemuehl, now, Piła, Wielkpolskie, Poland, c.1905. It was destroyed by fire during the Nazi pogrom of 9th/10th November 1938.

Three old images from our archive of now lost Synagogues in present-day Poland. All three were once in areas, which were part of Germany until 1945. All three were destroyed by the Nazis during the pogroms of November 1938.

synagog poland

The synagog in Gruenberg, Silesia, now, Zielona Gora, Lubuskie, Poland, c.1905. This Synagogue was burnt down on Crystal Night, the 10th November, 1938.

Information on and images of former synagogues in present-day Poland:
- A Synagogue in Bialsko-Biala.
- A Synagogue in Grajewo.
- A Synagogue in Katowice.
- The Old Synagogue in Krakow.
- The ‘New’ Synagogue in Poznan (Posen) in Greater Poland.
- The Synagogue in Wolsztyn.
- A Synagogue in Lodz.
- A Synagogue in Warsaw.
- The conversion of the Synagogue in Miedzryzecz.

polish synagogue

An early 1900s image of the synagogue in Koeslin, Pommern, now, Koszalin, Poland. It was built to the ground on Kristallnacht in November 1938.

Related content on Polish Poland:
- A little-known and relatively well preserved Jewish cemetery in Poland.

Isaac Bashevis Singer

bashevis singer

Isaac Bashevis Singer was a Polish Jew born in 1902 in the village of Leoncin, just outside Warsaw, and brought up in the town of Radzymin in Poland. He emigrated from Poland to the United States in 1935. Singer is believed by many to be the most important Jewish writer of the Twentieth Century. Most of his short stories and books centre on life in pre-war Poland. Our personal favourite works by Singer include: The Slave, The Magician of Lublin, The Manor, Enemies. A Love Story. The Estate, Shosha, The Seance, The Golem, and Gimpel the Fool.

Isaac Bashevis Singer

A selection of books by the Polish Jewish writer Isaac Bashevis Singer.

In 1978 the Nobel Prize for Literature was awarded to Isaac Bashevis Singer “for his impassioned narrative art which, with roots in a Polish-Jewish cultural tradition, brings universal human conditions to life”.

You can listen to a 1964 radio interview with Isaac Bashevis Singer below.

A Jew in Lublin

A photograph of a male Jew in Lublin

lublin jew poland

A scan of an original photograph taken by a German official in occupied Lublin, Poland, in early 1943.

Today’s random image from our picture archive – A Jew wearing an armband in Lublin in 1943.

At the start of World War Two, more than 40,000 or one-third of the population of Lublin were Jewish. Less than 300 survived the holocaust.

lublin polen

A photograph of a flower seller on the street in Lublin, Poland. c.1940.

Come back again to see more of ‘Poland: Past and Present’ or use the search box to the right to view current content on our website about all things Polish and Poland. Online since 2004!

Lublin pOland

A photograph of shops, churches and streets in the centre of Lublin, Poland, c.1940.

Related content: images of Lublin during the Communist period.

Synagogue Conversion

A former Synagogue transformed in to a Chinese Shop

synagogue poland

Three photographs of what was the pre-war synagogue for the town of Meseritz (Miedzyrzecz) in Lubuskie, western Poland. It has recently been transformed into a Chinski Sklep (a shop selling all manner of cheap imports from China).

Synagogue miedzyrzecz

A closeup of the exterior of the former Synagogue, now the ‘Wielki Chinski Sklep’.

The synagogue in Miedzyrzecz was built between 1825 and 1827, on the site of an earlier synagogue, and served the Jewish population of the town. It went out of use as a place of worship around 1940 and was used as a storeroom until the end of the war. In 1945 the building was nationalized and used for a variety of uses before falling in to a state of disrepair. In the 1990s there was some extended discussion of the building being used as a Jewish museum but unfortunately this never materialised. It was sold to a private entrepreneur about ten years ago. Following which it was extensively renovated with the aim of using the space for office or retail purposes. It is now in use as a Chinese Shop selling everything from clothing to toys.

synagogue synagoge

The only visible sign that this was once a place of worship for the Jewish population of Meseritz / Miedzyrzecz.

See also: Pre-war images of the Synagogue in Meseritz / Miedzyrzecz.

Jewish Cemetery

jewish cemetery

Three photographs of a little-known Jewish cemetery in Lubuskie, western Poland.

Jewish cemetery poland

jewish cemetery juden

This somewhat neglected Jewish cemetery is located high on a hill overlooking the small town of Skwierzyna in the west of Poland. It contains more than two hundred graves with the earliest we could identify dating back to 1747. Most headstones are made of Sandstone. Many have unfortunately suffered damage since the cemetery went out of use before the Second World War.

Although, now very much a part of Poland this location was part of Germany until 1945 and the town named Schwerin an der Warthe.

Related content: more about Skwierzyna.

Jewish Cemetery Poland

Jewish cemetery

Some of the 200+ headstones in the Jewish graveyard in the Province of Lubusz, western Poland.

Three photographs of an old Jewish cemetery in the small town of Skwierzyna (Schwerin an der Warthe), Lubuskie, Poland. Prior to the Second World War this part of present-day Poland was East Brandenburg, Germany, and had a sizable Jewish population, which (after they had died) were buried on a hill known as Judenberg overlooking the town and Catholic cemetery. This little-known cemetery has more than two hundred 18th and 19th century graves and head stones. Some grave stones are smashed, some piled in a heap, others are near perfect. None appear to be tended.  The whole place has a very unusual atmosphere and is seldom visited by either tourists or local townspeople.

Jewish cemetery Poland

A Jewish gravestone in this fine old cemetery. In the distance is the Christian cemetery still very much in use today.

Unfortunately, many Jewish cemeteries in Poland were badly damaged or even totally destroyed by either Nazis or Poles, graves robbed, and the gravestones even used as road-building material. This, however, is one of the best-preserved and most atmospheric cemeteries we know of in Poland.

Jewish Polish cemetery

Looking up at the Jewish cemetery as dusk draws in on a winter evening. This is a very special place.

Other interesting Jewish cemeteries that we ourselves have visited are located in Banie; Sulecin; Szlichtyngowa; Trzemeszno Lubuskie; Turek; and Zielona Gora.

Related content on Polish Poland: photographs of and information on Skwierzyna.

Radzymin

Radzymin is a small town in the Wołomin area of the Masovian province of Poland, and is around 25 kilometres from Warsaw.

Radzymin

The main square are a of Radzymin, Poland, c.1930. Isaac Bashevis Singer was brought up on Radzymin.

The current population of Radzymin is approximately 8,500.

radzymin poland

A close-up of the same part of Radzymin, Poland, c.1930.

The Polish Jewish writer Isaac Bashevis Singer lived for most of his childhood in Radzymin.

radzymin jews

A photograph of a Radzymin bicyle shop with Poles and Jews outside, c.1940.

Poddebice

Poddębice lodz

The Jewish cemetery in Poddębice as it looked in 1917. Very little trace of it survives to the present-day.

Poddębice is a small but historically interesting town in the Lodz area of central Poland.

poddebice poddembice

The ‘Deutsche Haus’ in Poddebice during the German occupation. Note the Nazi eagle symbol on the wall.

Some things you may not know about Poddebice:
- In 1921 the census shows that more than 40% of the population of Poddebice were Jewish.
- After Germany invaded Poland in 1939, Poddebice was incorporated in to the Warthegau (Wartheland) and was renamed Poddembice and then Wandalenbrück. It reverted to its original name of Poddebice again in 1945.
- In 1940, Germany established a ghetto in Poddębice, in which they imprisoned approximately 1,500 Jews. In April 1942 it was closed and all of its inmates were sent to the Nazi extermination camp in Chelmno.
- The current population of Poddebice is around 7,700.

poddebice polen

The early 17th century St. Catherine’s Church in the centre of Poddębice, Poland, c.1974.

Also of possible interest:
- The River Ner flows through Poddębice.
- A rather fine example of a Lutheran Protestant Church dating back to 1871 exists in Poddibice. It is not now, however, used for any religious purpose.
- The building which was once the synagogue for the Jews of Poddębice and surrounding villages exists to the present-day. It is currently used by a local business as an office.

poddebice poland

A photograph of the 17th century manor house (palac) in Poddebice, c.1989.

map of poddebice

A map showing the area round the city of Lodz with the town of Poddebice marked.

Related content on Polish Poland:
- Information on and archive photographs of the nearby towns of Kolo, Ozorkow, Sieradz and Turek.

The Old Synagogue Krakow

old synagogue krakow

A photograph of Orthodox Jews outside the ‘Old’ Synagogue in Krakow, Poland, c.1911.

Three archive images of the old Synagogue (Stara Synagoga) in the Kazimierz district of Krakow, Małopolskie, Poland.

synagog krakow

Another vintage photograph of what is known as the Old Synagogue in Poland.

The Old Synagogue in what was at the centre of the Jewish quarter of Krakow was built in 1570 on the site of an even older synagogue. Making this synagogue the oldest synagogue still in existence within the borders of Poland.

Old Synagogue Cracow / Krakow, Poland

The Old Synagogue in Cracow / Krakow, Poland, c.1918.

Some things you may not know about the Old Synagogue and synagogs in Krakow:
- The design of the Old Synagogue is of the type known as a Polish Fortress synagogue.
- In 1775 Tadeusz Kosciuszko gave a speech to the Jewish community in this synagogue encouraging them to join in the fight for the freedom of Poland.
- This fine synagogue was extensively damaged by the Germans during the Second World War, and, after renovation in the 1950s, has since 1961 served as a Jewish museum, known as the ‘Museum of the History and Culture of the Jews’.
- Before World War Two there were around one hundred synagogues within the city of Krakow serving a Jewish community of approximately 70,000.
- The Old Synagogue is just one of several surviving synagogues in Krakow. Others include: the Izaak Jakubowicz Synagogue, Tempel Synagogue, Wolf Popper Synagogue, High Synagogue. There are currently two active synagogues in present-day Krakow: Remuh Synagogue and Kupa Synagogue.

Use the interactive map below to explore the various sights around the Kazimierz area and wider Krakow.

Related content on Polish Poland:
- The synagogue in Wollstein / Wolsztyn.
- An index page of various synagogues in Poland.

The Synagogue in Posen / Poznan

synagogue poznan

The ‘New’ Synagogue in Poznan (Posen) as it looked not long after it was built in 1908.

Four images of the ‘New Synagogue’ in Poznan (Posen), Wielkopolskie, western Poland.

synagoge poznan poland

A early ‘Tucks’ picture postcard of the New Synagoge in Poznan, Poland, c.1909.

The early history of the ‘New’ Synagogue in Poznan, Poland.
- The New Syangogue replaced three earlier synagogues, which had fallen in to disrepair.
- The New Synagogue’s foundation stone was laid in May 1906.
- The opening ceremony of the synagogue took place on the 5th of September 1907.

synagog poznan

A vintage image of the New Synagogue in Poznan (Posen), Poland, c.1918.

The wartime history of the New Synagogue:
- Early in the Second World War the synagogue was converted into an indoor swimming pool for the soldiers of the Wehrmacht, who in the process completely destroyed the interior and demolished the dome.

synagogue posen poznan

An old photograph of the ‘New’ Synagogue in Poznan (Posen), Poland, c.1919.

The post-war building:
- The former ‘New’ Synagogue continued to be used a swimming pool until the late 1990s.
- The building was given to the Jewish Religious Community of Poland in 2002. Who at present have some plans to restore the building to something resembling to its prewar appearance and turn it into a centre of Judaism and Tolerance.
- There is some controversy over what should happen to the synagogue. Some individuals have asserted that it should be completely demolished as the building of this synagogue was in some way originally part of the German policy of Kulturkampf, the aim of which was to limit the influence of Polishness and Catholicism in Poznan.

Related content on Polish Poland: old images of pre-war Poznan / Posen.