Friday, May 1, 2009

Belarus -- More on Luban Synagogue Destruction

On his Jewish arts and monuments blog, Sam Gruber has posted more detailed information about the demolition of the historic former synagogue in Luban, Belarus -- as well as pictures of what he rightly describes as an "impressive vernacular building." The wooden synagogue, built in the 19th century, is being demolished to make way for some sort of commercial development.


Former Luban synagogue, c. 2005 -- photo courtesy of the Jewish Heritage Research Group in Belarus

Sam writes that according to Yuri Dorn of the Jewish Heritage Research Group in Belarus:
the Luban authorities did not inform Belarus Jewish community about planned demolition. He did not speculate why, but presumably they were either ignorant of the need to do so, or of any likely interest in the fate of the building, or they suspected that if word got out that their would be complaint. Based on my long experience in historic preservation I would assume the worst, and that is the reason for the rush to demolish, so that any protest will be too late. In 2004, the Jewish Community of Belarus tried unsuccessfully to include the Luban Synagogue building on the official registry of landmarks, but was unable to do so because of insufficient archival documentation about the building's history. Presumably it was deemed eligible on architectural grounds alone.
Sam also includes a picture of the English/Russian/Hebrew commemorative plaque on the building.

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