Sunday, May 6, 2012

Synagogues in Northeastern/Eastern Poland

This post first appeared on my En Route blog for the Los Angeles Jewish Journal

By Ruth Ellen Gruber

I spent the past week in Sejny, a small town in the far northeast of Poland near the Lithuanian border—and coincidentally just ran across a very good video about the synagogues and Jewish quarters in Sejny and several other towns in eastern/northeastern Poland. It’s worth watching.


The video deals with the synagogues and Jewish districts in Sejny, Orla, Tykocin, and Bialystok. Lena Bergman, of the Jewish Historical Institute and one of the foremost experts on Jewish heritage in Poland, describes the architecture of the buildings and also the historical context in which they were/are set.

The 17th century synagogue in Tykocin was rebuilt in the 1970s as a Jewish Museum; that in Sejny, the so-called “White Synagogue”, now forms part of the premises of the Borderland Foundation, an innovative organization devoted to cultural, social and artistic interchange. (I was in Sejny for celebrations marking Borderland’s 22nd anniversary.)

The White Synagogue in Sejny. Photo (c) Ruth Ellen Gruber

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