A Museum of Jewish history and culture in Poland’s Mazovia region (around Warsaw) is set to open March 15 in the renovated former synagogue there.
Here is the news release issued by the Polish news agency PAP in February, as carried by Virtual Shtetl:
In mid-February, the restoration works of the 19th-century Płock synagogue, which had been in operation from August 2011, were completed. The building will house the Museum of Masovian Jews. The official opening is scheduled for March 15th, 2013. The project of PLN 9 million has been carried out by Stowarzyszenie Synagoga Płocka. PLN 7.7 million comes from EU.
The restoration works were to fortify the building’s construction, including the foundations and the wells. Additionally, a new roof was placed and the 19th-century interior was renovated. The museum’s highlight is the multimedia exhibition on Jewish history and culture. The exhibition on the Holocaust will be displayed separately. The exhibition will include paintings by Feliks Tuszyński, a ninety-one year old painter who was born into a Jewish family in Płock and has been living in Australia since 1950. Forty paintings have been donated by the artist himself.
The Museum of Masovian Jews will show Jewish history, culture, customs and religious rites of Polish Jews, with a special focus on Masovia region, through state-of-the-art multimedia. The inside of the synagogue was adjusted to hold educational classes and concerts. All parties that are engaged in the project hope that the Museum will become a centre where various cultures will meet.
The restoration project received funding from the regional operational programme of the Mazowsze province for 2007-3013 after winning the competition held by the Mazowsze branch of the Mazovian Unit of EU Programmes Implementation.
The brick two-floor classicist Płock Small Synagogue had been running into ruin for years. It is one of very few synagogues which have survived in Mazowsze region and the only one throughout the Płock region. It was founded in ca 1810. In 1870, it underwent restoration works, during which aron ha-kodesh, the Torah ark, was arranged inside. During WWII, the building housed the office of Judenrat, i.e. the Jewish council which administered the ghetto. In 1959, the synagogue became the property of the State Treasury. Although it was landmarked shortly afterwards, it was continually neglected until 2004, when Stowarzyszenie Synagoga Płocka intervened and took the building over from the municipality.