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Old Synagogue, Essen

4.3
#7 of 18 in Sightseeing in Essen
Landmark Tourist Spot
The Old Synagogue is a cultural meeting center and memorial in the city of Essen in Germany. It is located in the center of the city on Edmund-Körner-Platz 1, close to the present city hall.The memorial center was founded in 1980 and is accommodated in the pre-war Jewish community's synagogue. The synagogue, together with the attached Rabbinerhaus, which today houses the Salomon Ludwig Steinheim Institute, was finished after a two-year construction period in 1913. It was originally consecrated as the Neue Synagoge . Today the building is one of the largest, best preserved and architecturally most impressive testimonies to Jewish culture in pre-war Germany.History of the buildingThe Essen synagogue was the cultural and social center of the Jewish community. In 1933 it claimed approximately 5,000 members. It served this function until the so-called "Reichspogromnacht" (also known as Kristallnacht) of 9 - 10 November 1938, when it was severely damaged on the inside by plundering, though the exterior remained nearly intact. Although Essen itself was very heavily bombed (see Bombing of Essen in World War II), the building itself managed to survive the Second World War without further damage.From 1945-1959 the former synagogue stood unused as ruin at the edge of the Essen city center. In 1959, the surviving Jewish community, after it had been using Rabbinerhaus as their center, built a new, much smaller synagogue, which is the current place of worship. In the same year, the city of Essen acquired the former synagogue and in the following years of 1960/1961 renovated it into a museum for industrial design, the "Haus Industrieform". For this purpose, all existing elements were removed or painted over. The ark for the torah was destroyed; the mosaics and ornaments were painted over. Following the spirit of the time, the inside was completely redesigned to a much more sober form to fit the purpose, no longer showing its former use as a synagogue. The main prayer hall was divided by a new floor and the ceiling was covered up.
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63 reviews
Google
4.4
  • The imposing building standing firmly on the corner of a busy, noisy road - is a testimony to how much work has gone on to make the inside a place of learning, of beauty, of fascination and quite simp...  more »
  • this place in the center of essen, located at one of the noisiest city center streets, gives you an inner peace through its perfect architecture and exhibition concept. don't miss it!  more »
  • We visited the alte Synagoge with our children (11,12 and 15 years old) and were positively taken on the unsusal approach to the everyday life of jewish people. The holidays, customs and traditions ar...  more »
Google
  • Very interesting museum about Jewish culture and heritage.
  • I like it as a museum. They have a very small collection but it was enough to give more or less some idea about Jewish tradition and history. It is free of charge to visit. If you are in town i would say it is a must to see!
  • A must see!
  • Excellent
  • Interesting