Sunday, February 12, 2012

Poland: Videos of Ongoing Transformation of Wielkie Oczy Synagogue into Library

Wielkie Oczy, Poland. Synagogue in 2006, before restoration. Photo: Ludek

(ISJM) The Wielkie Oczy Foundation, Inc., created by survivors and descendants of the Wielkie Oczy Jewish community, have posted several videos of their ongoing efforts to restored the ruined synagogue to be a library for the town. The buildings was once a handsome, spacious and well proportioned structure.  It now has a new roof, windows and rebuilt and plastered exterior walls.

The synagogue was built in 1910 and damaged during the First World War.  It restored in 1927 through the generosity of Eliahu and Rachel Gottfried of New York City.  Once again a tresotragtion campagin is underway, though now, since there are no Jews in the small town, it will be refashioned as a library memorial. You can tour of the synagogue as it looked in the summer of 2003.

You can see a new video here, a fragment from a larger work in progress,  shows the progress of the restoration.  

The Wielkie Oczy Foundation, Inc. a U.S.-based not-for-profit 501(c)(3) corporation that is contributing to this restoration by supplying materials and funding for a permanent memorial to the members of the Jewish community that at one time, up until the Holocaust of the mid twentieth century had been part of a diverse religious and ethnic population in the village and surrounding area.   The Jewish community was decimated; survivors spread far and wide across the globe. This memorial will be housed in the library.   

The Foundation has put out a call for old photographs of Wielkie Oczy to be used in the video documentary, They are particularly interested in early photographs of the Beit Hasmidrash (or House of Study that was destroyed in 1943), the synagogue, the Jewish cemetery and any old photographs of Vilkocher Jews and their life prior to World War II. 

For inquiries and additional information, visit the Foundation's web site at

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