New Synagogue

  ul. Wroniecka 11A ,   Old Town         11 May 2022

Consecrated on September 5, 1907, the New Synagogue on ul. Wroniecka was once a much more lavish structure. Designed by Berlin architects Cremer & Wolfenstein at a cost of one million marks (to put things in perspective, the cost of the Imperial Castle came to five million), the synagogue boasted a floor plan based on the Greek cross, space for 1,200 worshippers (600 men, 600 women), and originally included a copper-plated dome. Following the outbreak of WWII the building was commandeered by the Nazis and redeveloped into a swimming pool and rehabilitation centre for Wehrmacht soldiers. After the war the synagogue continued to function as a municipal pool - leading some to jokingly brand it the ‘swimagogue’ - until the poor state of the building forced its closure. Returned to the Jewish community in 2002, a gallery was opened instead, sporadically hosting free exhibits. Though plans have been raised to adapt it into a community centre complete with prayer halls, kosher restaurant, and conference facilities, the small problem of raising what was once estimated at $50 million USD (the number may be higher now) proved too large an obstacle. More recently, plans have been made to convert the building into a commemorative museum, with or without an upscale hotel attached, but for now the synagogue continues to stand empty.


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