Fundraising campaign launched to create memorial site commemorating the Great Synagogue of Oświęcim

Auschwitz Jewish Centre

The Auschwitz Jewish Centre has launched an international crowd-funding campaign to create a memorial park where the Great Synagogue stood before it was destroyed by the Nazis during the Holocaust.

The goal is to raise 36,500 PLN (8,500 EUR) in order to make the story of the Great Synagogue and the Jewish past of Oświęcim (renamed Auschwitz during WWII by the occupying Germans) known to the local community and greater public.

The Great Synagogue was burned down by the Germans in November 1939, and the space at Berka Joselewicza Street has remained an empty square in the heart of Oswiecim.

The crowd funding campaign will fund the construction of a memorial park featuring comfortable seating areas with newly planted trees and plants, offering a contemplative space.

“For decades the Great Synagogue was the place around which the life of the Jewish community in Oświęcim was concentrated. Hence, we came upon the idea to create a place of commemoration and, at the same time, a new, green space,” Tomasz Kuncewicz, Director of  the Auschwitz Jewish Centre, told the First News.

Auschwitz Jewish Centre

The project will include an installation of historical photographs and information about the synagogue. If the crowd-funding campaign is successful, the project will be implemented in spring 2019.

“The goal is to create a site that will be meaningful for residents and the increasing number of tourists coming to Oświęcim in conjunction with their visit to the Auschwitz Memorial,” added Kuncewicz.

The Auschwitz Jewish Centre has had previous success with crowd funding campaigns. A few years ago, it raised money to save the house of the last Jewish resident of the town, Szymon Kluger, from total ruin. Thanks to the support of people around the world, the former home was successfully transformed into “Cafe Bergson”.

“Today Cafe Bergson is a meeting place for residents and tourists from all corners of the world. Visitors can find out more about the history of the town, but also take part in interesting concerts, free workshops for children, and anti-discrimination activities,” Kuncewicz said.