Chandelier from Oświęcim’s Great Synagogue razed during WWII lovingly restored and placed in town’s Jewish centre
A chandelier which once hung in the Great Synagogue of Oświęcim, southern Poland, has found a new home at the Chevra Lomdei Mishnayot Synagogue, the only surviving Jewish house of prayer in the town.
The ceiling-hung candelabra was discovered during an archaeological dig on the site of the former Great Synagogue in 2004. The historical treasure was completed and underwent restoration work in a project lasting several months.
"We are still working on suitably exhibiting the piece," said Tomasz Kuncewicz, director of Oświęcim's Jewish Centre.
Kuncewicz also added that a replica of the chandelier will be installed in a small park commemorating the Great Synagogue. The opening of the remembrance site is planned for November 28, 2019. The event will take place on the 90th anniversary of the burning-down of the place of worship by German troops.
The replica chandelier will hang between trees growing on the site of the former Great Synagogue and will be positioned roughly over the centre-point of where the building once stood. The park will also feature an installation of historical photographs of the place of worship and a fragment of the original floor will be uncovered and on permanent display.
The Great Synagogue in Oświęcim was built towards the end of the 1860s and occupied the site of a previous house of worship. During the night of November 29, 1939, the temple was razed to the ground by the German army. In 1941 the area was cleared of rubble and until today the site has remained undeveloped. The land is under the ownership of Oświęcim's Jewish Centre who are now looking for funds to complete the remembrance garden project.
So far, 87 donors have covered the cost of 83 percent of the project costs. "This is a positive example of the joint willingness to commemorate history, as to a great extent donations were made by residents of Oświęcim. (...) This is the history of our shared town." said Kuncewicz.