Published On: Fri, Aug 28th, 2015

Lviv revives Jewish past as Ukraine bids to link with Israel

The conflict-hit country is keen to disprove Russian claims of rampant anti-Semitism

orker renovating the one surviving wall of the Golden Rose synagogue,   built in 1582 and destroyed by the Nazis in 1942. Photograph: Daniel McLaughlin

The glory days of Lviv’s Golden Rose synagogue, like those of the Jewish community in this beautiful Ukrainian city, lie far in the past.
Jews settled in Lviv soon after it was founded in the 13th century, and by the late 1500s two synagogues formed the heart of their quarter in the city centre.

The Golden Rose, designed by an Italian architect in the renaissance style, was considered one of Europe’s most beautiful synagogues, and over the centuries it traded places with the neighbouring Great City synagogue as the main Jewish place of worship in Lviv.

The fortunes of Lviv’s Jews fluctuated with its rulers – Polish kings from the 14th century until 1772, then Austria’s Habsburgs, until Poland retook the city after the first World War – and as anti-Semitism waxed and waned.

Before the second World War, about one-third of Lviv’s 320, 000 people were Jewish, and that community doubled in size as Jews fled here from the Nazi occupation of western Poland.

The Nazis captured Lviv and the surrounding Galicia region from Soviet forces in 1941, and forced Jews into a ghetto before sending them to labour and extermination camps. When the Red Army re-took Lviv in 1944, only a few hundred Jews remained in the city and their greatest buildings lay in ruins.

Read the full story at Irish Times by Daniel McLaughlin, in Lviv

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