Jakub Glanzer's Synagogue

ID: 22


Jakub Glanzer's synagogue on vul. Vuhilna is the only Jewish temple in the Krakivske suburb, which survived the German occupation and has been preserved till today. The synagogue was built by Lviv Hasidim in 1844. The history of its construction and opening represents the whole complexity of the situation in which Hasidim and Orthodox Jews of Lviv found themselves after the establishment of the Austrian rule. According to tradition, the idea of the foundation of a new Hasidic synagogue belonged to the tzadik of Komarno; the responsibility for its construction was assumed by Jakub Glanzer, a merchant and the head of the Lviv Hasidic community. In 1840 Glanzer bought a plot on ul. Węglana (vul. Vuhilna), with an old house, where, in hope for a rapid construction of a new temple, the new Hasidic movement's Talmud-Torah school meetings started immediately. However, these meetings displeased progressive Jews who supported the Jewish Enlightenment ideas. They began to send complaints to the magistrate as the Austrians forbade Jews to pray in private homes after 1823. To buy off the adversaries, Glanzer had to allocate some funds for the construction of the progressive (reform) Tempel synagogue. In 1844 the construction of a synagogue on  ul. Węglana was completed; it was a place where Hasidim could meet legally. However, the progressive movement "Haskalah" representatives, who represented among the Jews of Lviv the official Austrian authorities, refused to authorize the opening of a new temple, arguing that the synagogue appeared to be bigger than planned. At that time, Glanzer's building really became the largest Jewish temple of the Krakivske suburb, though the "Haskalah" set this function in advance for their Tempel synagogue, which was still under construction. Permission to open the synagogue on  ul. Węglana was given to Jakub Glanzer only in 1846, after he donated a considerable amount in favor of the Tempel once again.

In the early twentieth century the synagogue on  ul. Węglana (vul. Vuhilna) became the property of Lviv's Jewish community. During the German occupation the workers of the market on pl. Sv. Teodora used the building as a commercial warehouse. After the war, when Lviv was occupied by Soviet troops, the remains of the Jewish community rallied around the Glanzer synagogue as the only surviving Jewish temple in this part of the city. It became a place of assembly for the newly created "Voluntary Jewish community of Lviv." According to reports, the synagogue was attended by 45-50 persons daily and by 1000-1200 persons on holidays (Гельстон). In Soviet Lviv, active cultural life of the Jews was seen as a challenge to the socialist system. The proximity of the Glanzer synagogue to the market on pl. Sv. Teodora led to the association of its visitors' involvement in speculative deals, they were collectively condemned or dismissed from jobs. Active activists were arrested or isolated from activities at the synagogue (Гельстон). In the early years of the "Khrushchev thaw" the situation around the synagogue was somewhat neutralized. In 1954 the community even managed to get permission for the arrangement of the ritual mikvah bath in the temple and for the baking of ritual matzah bread in city bakeries. The synagogue on vul. Vuhilna 
was visited by hundreds of visitors from other towns of Western Ukraine, where local synagogues were not preserved. It was there that aid flows from international Jewish organizations were directed. Perhaps it was because of these facts that in 1961 the synagogue and its visitors again became an object of interest for the relevant authorities. The community members found themselves under pressure, and then arrests began. The Jewish community members were accused of speculation of currency and gold. In 1962, after a show trial of the "speculators," the Jewish community was denied the right to have the synagogue, whose building was handed over to the sports department of the Lviv Institute of Printing. The temple's property was distributed among Lviv museums. In 1989 the building of the Glanzer synagogue was handed over to the Lviv Sholom Aleichem Jewish Culture Society.

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