Joachim-Lelewel-Gespräch: "The Orphaned Synagogue in the Urban Space. Why do We Recall Them?"


Di. 12.09.2023 | 18:00 Uhr
Prof. Dr. Ruth Leiserowitz
Dr. Christhardt Henschel

Das Lelewel-Gespräch "The Orphaned Synagogue" findet im Rahmen des Workshops "Jewish or Common Heritage? (Dis-)appropriation of Synagogue Architecture in East-Central Europe since 1945" statt, der gemeinsam mit dem Museum POLIN organisiert wird.

International panel discussion at the GHI Warsaw (12th September 2023) within the framework of the “Jewish Cultural Heritage DFG-Priority Program 2357” The orphaned Synagogue in the urban space. Why do we recall them?

After the destruction of the Jewish communities in Eastern Europe, synagogue buildings were left without function and reference in cities that, due to geopolitical shifts, often had new inhabitants. Often they were now used for secularized purposes, without reminding of their original purpose. Only in recent decades, have local historians, former residents and their descendants, and preservationists taken an interest in the material Jewish heritage, and begun to rediscover and appreciate it. In very different cities, buildings could be revitalized as part of the Jewish material heritage, even if in most cases no new use for religious purposes took place. These processes began in Poland, Lithuania and Western Ukraine at different times, took different courses and were promoted and accompanied by divergent actors. What motives feed these activities? Is it about the restoration of a historical urban space? Are general cultural-historical values at the center? Is it to commemorate Jewish history and culture? Is it (also) about a tourist attraction? These and other questions will be discussed in the panel debate on the eve of the conference: „Jewish or Common Heritage? (Dis-)appropriation of Synagogue (Warsaw, September 2023).

The Joachim-Lelewel-Talks of the German Historical Institute Warsaw are a forum, in which the contentious issues surrounding the Polish history are discussed in their European context. Each time they bring together representatives of the Polish, East and West European or international history respectively to a panel discussion, where the audience actively participates.
The intention of these discussions is not only a confrontation of the, not infrequently opposed, assumptions and views, but also an immersion of the various research milieus in an intensive exchange of ideas. This procedure enables continued development of the discussed issue as well as facilitates opening for the diverse methodical aspects.

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