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The Space of Synagogues: Jewish History, Common Heritage and Responsibility
The Space of Synagogues project is an initiative to commemorate the history of Jews in Lviv and raise awareness of common urban history and heritage among Lvivians and visitors of the city. The project consolidated efforts, knowledge and experience of scholars, experts and representatives of Jewish community of Lviv, of international institutions and city officials, of significant support of donators from different countries of the world, such as Israel, Germany, USA, and UK.
On September, 4, 2016, the first phase of the project was opened for the general public. It includes conservation of the remains of the Golden Rose synagogue, marking the foundations of the Jewish House of Learning (Beth Hamidrash) and assembling the Perpetuation memorial installation.
The Space of Synagogues is the first experience in Ukraine when commemoration of Jewish history sites was initiated by city administration in cooperation with the Center for Urban History, German Society for International Cooperation (GIZ), and Jewish partner organizations.
The initiative was suggested at the meeting of the Lviv deputy mayor with participants of the conference "Jewish Urban Heritage of East Central Europe" in 2008. During the meeting, they discussed further steps to commemorate Jewish history sites in Lviv. One of the sites that required change and intervention was the site in the heart of the historical inner city. The site used to have two synagogues, the Great City Synagogue and the Golden Rose synagogue (Turei Zahav), and a House of Learning Beth Hamidrash. The sites of the buildings were destroyed during the Holocaust. Over the last 70 years, the plots have become symbols of neglect and non-remembrance. Part of the space was fenced off the prying eyes with a huge metal fence, while another part was occupied by summer terraces of the nearby restaurants.
Lviv city council announced an international competition to commemorate Jewish history sites in Lviv. The winner of the competition to create a memorial space in the Jewish quarters was an architect from Berlin Franz Reschke. Practical works to implement the project started in July 2015 with the exhibition of photographs by Jason Francisco "The Golden Rose". During the period of over a year, they managed to conserve the remaining pieces of the Golden Rose synagogue and set up a drainage system on the site. Also, the authentic fragment of the Beth Hamidrash foundations was cleared off concrete and marked with "Venezian Terazzo" white stone; it was installed a memorial Perpetuation installation with the quotes of Lviv citizens and people connected with the city who were Jewish by origin; it was dismantled an outdoor terrace of the nearby restaurant and new trees were planted.
Hopefully, the public space is going to serve as the place for knowledge and remembrance of the long and rich history of Lviv Jews, the commemoration place for the Holocaust victims, and the place for a dialogue, that with the past and among contemporaries.
Start of implementation of the second part of the project, such as the opening of the memorial space on the site of the great City Synagogue, is planned for 2017. We also expect other new initiatives to emerge and be implemented to commemorate significant but yet neglected historical sites of Lviv.
Jewish history of Lviv is common heritage and responsibility.
You can learn more about the project and support it through the link below: