Synagogue in Vinohrady

The synagogue in Vinohrady, sometimes called the Vinohrady Temple, was built in 1895–1896 according to designs by the Viennese architect Wilhelm Stiassny (he also designed the Jubilee Synagogue, known today as the Jerusalem Synagogue, in Prague and the synagogues in Jablonec nad Nisou and Čáslav).Zdeněk Lukeš, Splátka dluhu: Praha a její německy hovořící architekti 1900–1938, Fraktály Publishers, Praha, 2002, pp. 186–187. The three-nave structure, built in Neo-Renaissance style with Moorish elements with a capacity of 2 000 people, was the largest synagogue in Prague (roughly comparable in size to St Ludmila Church on nearby Peace Square). Until the occupation, the building served as a synagogue and community center for a number of Jewish communities.

Beginning in November 1941, the synagogue served as a Treuhandstelle warehouse. This is where the belongings of deported Jews was stored, including drawings, graphics, tapestries, paintings, photographs, sewing machines, mirrors, picture frames, and bicycles.The Treuhandstelle was an occupational office for the administration of property; in particular, it was responsible mainly for the systematic classification and confiscation of Jewish property. Jiří Padevět, Průvodce protektorátní Prahou. Místa – události – lidé, Academia, Praha, 2013, pp. 390–391. At the same time, it also housed the Nationalsozialistische Volkswohlfahrt (National Socialist Charity).Jiří Padevět, Průvodce protektorátní Prahou. Místa – události – lidé, Academia, Praha, 2013, pp. 390–391.

The synagogue was heavily damaged during the Allied bombing on 14 February 1945; the damage to the building could have been reduced, but the German authorities did not allow the fire to be extinguished. As we can see in Sudek's photograph of the synagogue, published in the Prague Calendar 1946, the imposing facade with two towers and a huge rosette window with a star of David was almost entirely preserved. “The ruins of the Vinohrady synagogue symbolically represented the fate of the whole Jewish population in Prague; during the Protectorate only 6 percent of its members survived.” Jan B. Uhlíř, Bomby na Prahu. Nálety z roku 1945 objektivem Stanislava Maršála, Prostor, Praha, 2011, p. 92.

Despite protests by the Jewish community, the building was torn down in 1951 and a primary school stands in its place today.