Great Synagogue, Katowice

Great Synagogue was the largest synagogue in Katowice (Kattowitz) , Poland then Germany. It was built in 1900, designed by Ignatz Grünfeld. The synagogue was set on fire by Nazis on 4 September 1939.


The plans to raise a new synagogue in Katowice arose around 1890, when the Old Synagogue (Katowice) became too small for the local worshippers of reform Judaism. The construction begun in 1896, and the architect in charge was Max Grünfeld, son of Ignatz Grünfeld who designed the old synagogue. The construction was finished in 1900 and the synagogue was opened on 12 October 1900.

In 1901 the newly build synagogue hosted the World Zionist Congress.

The synagogue was set on fire by Nazis on 4 September 1939, soon after they gained control of the city after the invasion of Poland (1939). After the war the few Jews who survived the Holocaust were unable to gather enough resources and support to rebuild the synagogue. Today in the place where this building once stood is a square (Synagogue Square). In the 1988 a monument was raised in the square, dedicated to the Jewish inhabitants of the city who perished during the Second World War.


The brick synagogue was designed on the basis of a modified rectangle in style mixing neogothic with neorenaissance, eclecticism and the mauretian style; similar to the style of reformed Judaism synagogues in contemporary Germany.

The synagogue had a large dome with a cross-ribbed vault over the main prayer chamberm which was proceeded by a large entrance hall with offices and the chamber of marriage. The main chamber was topped with a lantern. Other characteristics elements included large decorated windows and small towers.

The main chamber could hold 1120 people; 670 males and 450 females.

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