Chewra Nosim Synagogue on 10, Lubartowska Street in Lublin
The only preserved pre-war synagogue in Lublin is the Chewra Nosim synagogue. It is located in the 19th century apartment house no. 10 on Lubartowska Street. In 1987 Symcha Wajs’ initiative led to Izba Pamięci Żydów Lubelskich (Hall of Remembrance of the Lublin Jews) being established here. Nowadays, it is home to the Lublin branch of Towarzystwo Społeczno-Kulturalne Żydów w Polsce (TSKŻ - Social and Cultural Fellowship of Jews in Poland).
No. 10, Lubartowska Street (originally no. 4, Lubartowska St.)
Function of the building
Residential and commercial apartment house with sacral section - Jewish house of prayer.
The building was erected before 1889 (probably ca. 1885). Proprietors were: Berek Cygelman and spouses Szlema and Frajda Goldsobel. The first floor was earmarked for the house of prayer. Backyard, hallway and staircase were property of all of the landlords. In 1905, part of the house was perpetually leased to Lubelskie Żydowskie Towarzystwo Dobroczynne (Lublin Jewish Charitable Society). The temple was named Beschamedresz de Nosym.
1914 saw general renovation of the building. The house has had numerous owners throughout the years. Results of surveys indicate that shortly before the Second World War, the 1st floor belonged to the Jewish community, while the remaining part - to Halberberg and Szwer families. In the pre-war times daily attendance amounted to 100 people, which meant that the synagogue was one of the largest houses of prayer in Lublin. Talmud lectures in the temple were given by outstanding talmudists, Mosze Ajzenberg and Dawid Muszkatblit. The temple functioned until 1939.
During World War II, the temple was used as textiles storehouse and also as shoemaker’s and gaiters production workshop. After the war, the place was turned into a paper and writing materials storehouse. In 1948, part of the house was taken over by Apolonia Tarłowska, while ownership of the rest was transferred to the State Treasury.
Regular services had been taking place in the synagogue until 1984. In the early 1990s, a Bar Mitzvah - ceremony, during which a 13 year old boy becomes an adult and is therefore allowed to participate in religious ceremonies - took place in the synagogue.
In 1987, the Hall of Memory of the Lublin Jews and the seat of Towarzystwo Opieki nad Zabytkami Kultury Żydowskiej (The Society for the Care of Antiquities of The Jewish Culture, now named Towarzystwo Opieki nad Dziedzictwem Kultury Żydowskiej - Society for the Care of the Heritage of the Jewish Culture) were established here. The temple also accommodates the Lublin branch of Towarzystwo Społeczno-Kulturalne Żydów w Polsce (TSKŻ - Social and Cultural Fellowship of Jews in Poland). Opening of the Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva synagogue in 2006 meant that Chewra Nosim house of prayer lost its status of the main synagogue of Lublin.
Since 2008 an exhibition titled “Jesteśmy” (“We are”) is displayed in the synagogue building. It presents photographs taken after the Second World War, depicting the post-war life of Lublin Jews. Photographs were taken by Jewish citizens of Lublin in the city itself as well as in other places where they had ended up after the war. Those photographs come from private house archives and depict family festivities as well as other occasions. The exhibition was prepared by Luba Matraszek and her son, Paweł Matraszek.
After the war, there was a Jewish school on Niecała Street, with educational programme extended to encompass Yiddish and Hebrew languages. TSKŻ also functioned in Lublin, fulfilling the role of a community centre, located in 13, Krakowskie Przedmieście St. After the war and throughout the whole Socialist period, the Jews of Lublin were meeting in the Hall of Remembrance. Nowadays those meetings take place once a month. Collective celebrations of Shabbat take place in Chachmei Lublin Yeshiva on 85, Lubartowska St.
1905 - transfer of the part of the building to Jewish Charitable Society.
1914 - renovation of the house
1954 - restoration works
1972 - repairs of the façade
1984 - religious services are put on hold
1987 - creation of the Hall of Remembrance of the Lublin Jews; seat of the Society for the Care of the Heritage of the Jewish Culture
1995 - burglary into the Remembrance Hall; valuable exhibits, as well as elements of equipment of the prayer hall were stolen
2003 - thorough repairs of the basement
2008 - arrangement of the exhibition “Jesteśmy”
Building with classicist elements.
The apartment house is situated along the western frontage of Lubartowska St., the back elevation faces Wodopojna St. Terrain bears form of a steep declivity, descending westward.
Layout of the building is almost square, with an avant-corps facing the west. The building is two storey in its frontal part and three storey in the back bay. Pitched roof has two dormers in its western part.
Rooms were laid out in two-bay configuration. Frontal section contains offices and commercial rooms. In the rear section, there is a staircase, break rooms and offices. There is also a basement underneath the building.
The temple occupies the entire first floor (laid out in an almost square shape). The men’s hall is located in the eastern section, shaped in rectangular pattern. The staircase is situated on the western side and two rectangular rooms (formerly serving as accommodations) are located to the north of it. Women’s section of the synagogue was located in the attic.
No elements of the original decor of the synagogue have been preserved. At present, liturgical instruments in the temple originate from post-war times. Following the tradition, the Aron Kodesh was located on the western wall, in a niche. Wooden cabinet covered with parochet serves as a case for enshrining the Torah scrolls. A cantor’s lectern stands nearby, with sheet of fabric on top of it and candlestick and prayer books standing on it. Central part of the synagogue is occupied by bimah - cuboidal wooden case, covered with fabric. Bookcases stand adjacent to the western wall, containing 273 books from the second half of the 19th and the 20th century. The chest containing books from the 2nd half of the 19th century stands in the northeastern corner. Niche in the southern wall, where prayer book shelves had stood, now serves for exhibiting elements of the prayer apparel (tefillin and tallit). In show-cases standing along northern and western walls one can see, among others, a mezuzah, a hanukkah menorah, a megillah, a red laced tallit bag and a siddur. Walls of the synagogue bear no painting decoration.
Materials and techniques
The house was built of bricks and plastered. Flat ceilings were made of wood. The pitched roof, covered with sheet metal, is supported by queen post truss. The fireproof staircase comprises two panelled courses and wooden baluster. Timber subfloors support grès and ceramic flooring.
Ground floor - rustication, string course, rectangular shop windows.
First floor - windows with fanlights, flanked by pilasters. Design of this storey corresponds to the style of adjacent houses, at the same time reproducing the patterns used in other synagogues.
Crowning cornices serve as coping of the building.
The back elevation is devoid of architectural decoration.
western side – 14.1 m
northern side – 12.2 m
eastern side – 14.3 m
southern side – 13 m
Compiled by Katarzyna Kruk
Additional information by Anna Kończanin
Edited by Monika Śliwińska
Translated into English by Jarosław Kobyłko
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