Porozow Synagogue

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History of the Structure

 

There was a synagogue in the town of Porozow as early as 1731, and the location of the extant synagogue structure appears on an 1868 map. The original building is presumed to have been built around 1825, but it was burned and rebuilt in the various fires that struck the town, finally being ruined during World War II.

 

After the war there were no more Jews to rebuild it, and so it was repaired by townspeople in approximately 1964 and converted into a warehouse.


The 5,000 square foot, two-story structure, thought to be the only extant synagogue structure in Belarus built of what is known as “rubble stone,” originally included a foyer, a main hall, a staircase and a women’s balcony. The main entrance is in the middle of the west façade; a former entrance on the north side of the building has been blocked, as were many of the window openings when the building was reconfigured for use as a storage house. A former cornice no longer exists. Silicate brick was used on one façade during reconstruction.


The historical layout of the synagogue is unknown, although it is clear that the aron kakodesh, the ark in which the Torah scrolls were stored, was on the eastern wall, opposite the main entrance, and not in the center of the main hall. The niche in which the ark was located still exists.

 

Click on any thumbnail to view a larger image.

 

Synagogue Description

 

The Building of a Synagogue in the Village of Porozovo, documentation prepared in 2002 by Vladimir and Alexei Eremenko, gives a detailed description of the building as it stands today, with hints as to its historic appearance.

Click on the thumbnail to view the document.

Architectural Renderings

 

Architectural renderings of the Synagogue appear on the website of the website of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Bezalel Narkiss Index of Jewish Art. Click on the thumbnail to view all of the renderings on the University's website.

Synagogue for Sale

In August, 2019, the warehouse building in which the Jews of Porozow once worshipped was put on sale. It was put up for auction at an asking price of US$6,000, but there were no bidders. Click on the title above for the original announcement in Russian

Other Sources on the Porozow Synagogue

Belarus Holocaust Memorial Project. This site commemorates the July 17, 2018 placement adjacent to the synagogue of a monument to the 354 Porozovan Jews who perished in the Holocaust in the Spring of 1942.

Globe of Belarus. The Porozow page on Andrew Dybovsky's Russian-language website presenting thousands of photograps of architectural and other sights of Belarus.

The National Library of Israel. Physical description of the Porozow Synagogue.

The Bezalel Narkiss Index of Jewish Art. Architectural drawings of the Porozow Synagogue and "The Building of a Synagogue," extensive documentation compiled by Vladimir Pervishin and Alexei Eremenko in 2002, viewable here.

Jewish Heritage Research Group in Belarus. This web page has three images of the Porozow Syngaogue, one of which is an interior shot.

© 2004-2019  Scott D. Seligman