Anomalies of History. The Story of the Neue Synagoge Wall in Breslau

Excerpt from the article:

„This wall reminds me of the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, which is also the only remaining part of the Second Temple. Not even the Temple itself, just the wall that surrounded its outer courtyard – just like this one here in Wrocław,” says Lev Stern, a Polish-Israeli architect, describing the last standing fragment of the Neue Synagoge in Breslau that he discovered. The Synagogue was one of the most important places in the history of liberal Judaism in Europe.


“It was only when I juxtaposed old city plans against contemporary aerial photographs of Wrocław that I realized how large the synagogue had been,” says Kitty Hubbard, Professor of Art from the State University of New York and a Fulbright Scholar. She is fascinated by Jewish Breslau, especially its most elusive traces. She has visited Wrocław a few times, both on her own and with her students. She found it interesting that the impressive Neue Synagoge had been replaced by a rather dismal monument. She decided to dedicate her artistic project to the people who were in some way connected to this place. Thanks to a string of coincidences (confirming the six degrees of separation theory), just as she left for Wrocław earlier this year, a man contacted her and asked if she could photograph his grandfather’s tomb at the New Jewish Cemetery on Lotnicza Street. It turned out that the man lived in Rochester, just up the street from Kitty, and was the grandson of Selmar Cerini, a cantor at the Neue Synagoge. Kitty immediately started imagining Selmar warming up his throat and humming a melody, in a pre-Shabbat rush as he quickly walked out of his apartment located on the synagogue grounds. She imagined a mysterious garden surrounded by a brick wall.


Translation: Aga Zano

Proofreading: Barbara Pendzich

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