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Prague, Czech Republic
Pinkas Synagogue, the second oldest site in the Prague ghetto, was originally a private house of prayer for the prominent Horowitz family. Today, the synagogue’s importance lies in its role as a memorial to the 80,000 victims of the Holocaust from Bohemia and Moravia, whose names are hand-painted on the walls. The text of the inscriptions was compiled from sources such as extant transport papers and registration lists. Pinkas Synagogue is also the home of an exhibition of children’s drawings from Terezin concentration camp, intensifying the commemorative atmosphere.
Having been closed for several decades due to its poor condition, Pinkas Synagogue was reopened to the public following the completion of renovation work carried out after the collapse of the Communist regime. Floods in August 2002 forced the administration of the synagogue to close it once again. The basement and ground floor of the main hall of Pinkas Synagogue were greatly affected. About a quarter of the painted names of the Holocaust victims suffered extensive damage.
HOW WE HELPED
Although insurance covered the majority of the structural damage caused by the flood, this did not include the repainting of the main hall and the names washed away by the flood waters. With the support of WMF, the synagogue was fully restored and was reopened to the public at the end of 2003.
The synagogue has included information and photographs from the flood damage and subsequent repair into its exhibition program, acknowledging the international assistance it received to support the efforts to repair and reopen the building to the public.
In a secondary restoration project carried out in 2004, WMF, in collaboration with local partners, documented the upper floor, repaired the roof and insulation, and installed climate control and fire safety systems.
WHY IT MATTERS
As the second oldest building in the Prague Ghetto, and as a monument to the 80,000 victims of the Holocaust from Bohemia and Moravia, Pinkas Synagogue is a reminder of the Jewish community that once flourished in Prague. The building’s role today as a Holocaust memorial allows the public to learn about Jewish history in Prague and remember those lost during World War II.