Auschwitz treasure: Judaica found from destroyed synagogue in Poland

Folks, this article choked me up:

The town where Auschwitz was located has yielded a trove of Judaica.

During an excavation last month of the site of the destroyed Great Synagogue in Oswiecim, the town in southern Poland where Auschwitz was built, archeologists working from a Holocaust survivor’s memory unearthed a unique trove of Jewish ritual objects.

The objects, which had been buried since the Holocaust, include three bronze candelabras, a bronze menorah, 10 chandeliers and a ner tamid, or eternal lamp, that once hung before the synagogue ark. Tiles, marble plaques, charred wood and other material from the synagogue, which was burned to the ground in 1939 by invading Nazi forces, also were uncovered.

Before World War II, Oswiecim was a bustling town of 12,000 people, more than half of them Jews. Most local Jews were killed in the Holocaust, and only one of the town’s synagogues survived the war.

Long used as a warehouse, it was restituted to Polish Jews in 1998 and then refurbished and reconsecrated as part of the Auschwitz Jewish Center complex, which opened in 2000. The center tells the story of prewar Jewish life here and elsewhere in Poland.

The site where the Great Synagogue stood long had been an empty lot, with no indication that a building that could seat 2,000 people, constructed around 1800, had stood there.

In a related development, the Jewish center is developing a project to turn the house of Oswiecim’s last Jewish resident, a Holocaust survivor who died four years ago, into a museum that will show typical Jewish family life in Poland.

The house stands next to the Jewish center complex.

The Auschwitz Jewish Center’s exhibitions and activities, Kuncewicz said, serve to “give a broader context of the place. Here in this site, which symbolizes the destruction of the Jewish people, it shows that before this there was a thriving Jewish community, which lived here for over 500 years. This center is about this life, which was so tragically

destroyed.”

Click here for the whole article: JTA

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