News from Galicia

A new visitor on a bench at the entrance to Remuh Synagogue in Cracow. Monument unveiled on January 26th , 2016.

Three years ago Cracow as shaken with news about the MEZCAL Music Club opened in the Beit Midrash Hevra Tehilim in Kraków. The building dates to 1896 and was housing a large synagogue in the ground flor. The walls are still covered with frescoes, floral ornaments, Jerusalem panorama and mythical creatures as well as Hebrew inscriptions. Three years ago against the religious frescoes and quotations glass shelves were installed proudly showing colorful alcohols and liqueurs. The past religious greatness of Cracow Jewish community was then distorted with opaque alcohol bottles. The only way to see that beauty on the walls was ironically to drink, a rather risky historical exploration method. The building stands proudly at the intersection of Corpus Cristi (Corpses of Christ) and Rabbi Meisels streets, my favorite Cracow address for its schizophrenia. 

For the last few months MEZCAL became history. I hope the gravity of the address did away with this loud establishment.

Now major restoration works are underway. As for now restoration to the building as such not to its historical significance and frescoes. The question remains what next?

Rumor has it that one of the Kazimierz cafeteria / clubs will move it and adapt the space.

I am all for making this magnificent space broadly available if only done with respect, care and adding new meaning and understanding to this important historical space.

A good research of what was Beit Midrash Hevra Tehilim for close to 40 years before WW II is lacking.

 

 

In summer 2010 the Krakow's Historical Museum opened its new branch at the premises of the former Schindler’s Factory. This modern museum is to present the history of Krakow under the German Nazi occupation from 1939 to 1945. Large part of the exhibition is devoted to show life and annihilation of the Krakow’s ghetto. The museum is arranged chronologically, giving the visitor a unique opportunity to follow the war time narration and experience of occupation reality. The numerous artistic means and multimedia presentations enrich the exhibit and help to understand the complexity of Nazi occupation of Krakow and Poland. The first part of the exhibit narrates the city's cultural, ethnic and religious richness in the 20’s and 30’s of the XX century. Stereographic pictures take us into the streets of the city just before the war. Then comes the September Campaign and gradual implementation of the new Nazi regime aimed against local population. The museum creators were able to reconstruct city's streets, prison cells, war time apartments with an successful effort to show general anxiety, chaos and individual human tragedy inflicted by war. The exhibition has many layers of narration and in this way can satisfy people who want to have just a general orientation in the war time in Cracow as well as history experts looking for some additional history details. 

We offer certified guides and tours at the Museum in the former Schindler's Factory - "Krakow under the German Nazi occupation from 1939 to 1945".

In autumn 2010 the Historical Museum of the City of Krakow opened its brand new exhibition in the excavated undergrounds of the Market Square and Cloth Hall building. This museum is the result of many years of archeological works undertaken in the very core of 1000 years history of Krakow and close to 800 years since its location. The archeologists reached the base level, indicating the first human activities in this area around 8 meters below the present surface of the market.

The museum encompasses 700 archeological pieces, 500 digital models of buildings, 600 3D digital models of city structures in the time span of last 1000 years. During a visit we can admire medieval city stalls, cemeteries, cobblestone streets, jewelry and hundreds of artifacts well enhanced and enriched with multimedia presentations, 3D models and holograms. This new branch of the Krakow's Historical Museum provides a time vehicle across the last ten centuries of the city's history and makes every visitor feel the growing, accumulated city's beauty and potential. It will definitely become the main attraction for both inhabitants and tourists.

In early 2012 the city of Będzin has finished the five years renovation project of Mizrahi synagogue in the city. This XIX century synagogue was established by Będzin merchant Jakub Chil Winer in the basement of his house. The synagogue was the only one surviving the Holocaust in the city. It was re-discovered by local history enthusiasts in 2004, but its interior was very badly damaged with polychromies pealing off. 

In the last five years the city has invested over 120.000 PLN in restoration project. Now the interior is brought back to its colorful and splendid shape. The polychromies are following Zionist , religious narration by depicting holy sites of Israel with some religious symbols and signs of Zodiac inserted. This unique synagogue will become another focal point for Zaglebie (Będzin, Sosnowiec and Dąbrowa) Jews in the world.

Bedzin Mizrahi Synagogue

Ceiling of the Mizrahi synagogue in Będzin after renovation.

Bedzin 1943 Auschwitz Deportations Memorial

Monument of Deportations of Bedzin Jews in 1943 to Auschwitz.