Vanished World: Galicia’s Lost Synagogues

2018/5/20 16:43:13

Typical of the synagogues documented by Christian Herrmann is this crumbling building that served the Jewish population of the Galician town of Zalishchyky in Ternopil Oblast.


By Areta Kovalskа in Forgotten Galicia:


Galicia was once home to a large Jewish population. Before the war, Jews were the third most numerous ethnic group in the region, after Poles and Ukrainians, and all Galician cities and towns had vibrant Jewish communities. Much of this heritage was destroyed during the war and most of what remains is in ruins.


For many years Christian Herrmann has been documenting Jewish remnants in Eastern Europe, especially in Galicia. He shares his photographs and experiences on his blog Vanished World:  “Nearly 70 years after the holocaust Eastern Europe is still covered by neglected Jewish cemeteries, ruins of synagogues and other remains of  Jewish institutions – stranded ships on the shores of time. The traces of Jewish life are still there, but they vanish day by day. It’s only a matter of time until they are gone forever…This blog tries to recall those places into public consciousness and wants to encourage people for the rescue of a heritage we all share.”


For this post, I’ve selected twelve of Christians’ photographs of synagogues from across Galicia. Christian has beautifully captured what remains of these Jewish houses of prayer. Despite their decayed state, with the help of his images we can get a sense of the grandeur and beauty that they once embodied. As we can see in the photographs, many of the synagogues that survived the war were left abandoned and fell into disrepair. Others were used for various purposes in the post-war years, such as warehouses, factories, stores, sport gyms, apartments. All descriptions are Christian’s.


Access a large gallery of abandoned synagogues and cemeteries in Galicia at this link:


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