Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Publication: New Book on Lviv (Lemberg, Lwow) Synagogues

Publication: New Book on Lviv (Lemberg, Lwow) Synagogues

(ISJM) A new book by architectural historian Oksana Boyko (in Ukrainian) has been published by VNTL-Klasyka Publishers
that documents the history and architecture of the known synagogues - standing and destroyed - of Lviv (now Ukraine) the former Jewish religion and culture capital of Galicia also known as Lemberg (German) and Lwow (Polish). The book's publication coincided with the conference at the Center for Urban History of East Central Europe that presented, for the first time in Ukraine, the Urban Jewish history of L'viv and other centers in the a broad multi-discipline context.

Boyko, of the Institute Ukrzakhiproektrestavratsia (Institute for Protection of Monuments) in Lviv, has compiled information, original plans and drawings and a range of photographic materials that provide a partial documentation of the city's many former synagogues and prayer houses. All but two of these were destroyed during the German occupation of the city. One synagogue - the Tsori Gilod prayer house built between 1924 and 1931 still stands and is in use. Another synagogue in the Jewish settlement area of the "Zhovkva suburb" is also extant, but is used only as the site of a Jewish club that meets only occasionally. The famous TaZ or Golden Rose synagogue remains a partial ruin in the area of the Old Jewish Quarter. The fate of this historic building was much discussed at the conference and will be the subject of a future blog entry.

Boyko's work is not long, and I hope it will soon be translated. In the meantime, the many illustrations are themselves instructive. Thanks to the bureaucratic diligence of Hapsburg Lemberg, good measured plans and drawings exist in the archives for many of the buildings discussed, including the important domed classical style Temple, built in the 1840s (photo, above), which if it survived would probably be referred to by scholars and visitors almost as much as the Seitenstettengasse synagogue in Vienna, which influenced the Lemberg Reform Temple design. .

The book is presently only available in Ukraine. The ISBN number is: 966-8849-30-2. To order contact VNTL-Klasyka Publishers at or go to

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I agree. The book is a remarkable piece of scholarship and I am working on a translation. If anyone else has an interest in the translation, just let me know.