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TRACES OF THE PAST

Krasnik


Tourist Attractions
The Lateran Canons monastery complex: St Mary's Ascension church (ca 1469) with paintings by T. Dollabella and gravestones of the Teczynski family and the monstery (15th-18th centuries); the Baroque former hospital church of the Holy Spirit (1758-1761) and the hospital from the middle of the 18th century; the ruins of the Zamoyski castle from the 17th century.


We know about the Jewish presence in Krasnik from accounts dated as early as 1531, but the right allowing Jews to settle here was granted only in 1584 (at once annulling the privilegia de non tolerandis Judaeis). The local community, quite numerous in size (it sent one of the three representatives from the province of Lublin to sessions of The Diet of the Four Lands) was prevented from expanding freely. In 1654 attempts were made to limit the area in which Jews could reside to the territory around the synagogue, but this was not observed. The former Jewish quarter stretches around ul. Boznicza and down ul. Bagno. At the outbreak of the Second World War, 5,000 Jews lived here, which was 40% of the local population. They were all murdered in the death camp in Belzec in 1942.

The Synagogue with an Annexe
Two badly destroyed buildings, the synagogue (erected 1637-1654) and its annexe, are to this very daypowerful testimony to Krasnik's Jewish past.

The Synagogues, photo: A.Olej&K. Kobus:

The synagogue is square in shape (each side 20m in length). Its interior arrangement was typical: the prayer hall for men on the north-east side, two floors on the south-west side; the lower taken up by the vestibule and the upper by the prayer rooms for women. The single floor section is apart of the original building. The vestibule and the section for women were added later. The tablets containing the Ten Commandments, the recess for the aron ha-kodesh and the remains of wall paintings are all still there. The decorations once adorning the west wall depicted Shor Habor (ox) and Leviathan (fish). The dome was decorated with the image of an eagle surrounded by swallows, with an etrog in its beak and asheaf of lulavin in its claws, asymbol of the feast of Sukkot.

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Please join in our discussion forum about... Jews in the Lublin Region
In 1945, the synagogue was designated as a workshop for the local handicraft co-operative. It remained empty from 1980 to 1989 when repairs were undertaken, but after a new roof in traditional Polish mansard style was put on, the works were unfortunately discontinued.

The building on the right side is an addition to the synagogue and was used as an additional house of prayer and study. It was erected to support the main synagogue, which was not able to accommodate all of the worshippers. Construction took from 1823 to 1857. In 1948 a purchasing centre for agricultural products was organised there, and in 1966 some of the windows were bricked up. The additional synagogue was almost equal in size to the original one (19.5m by 22m). The interior was also laid out in similar fashion, with one and two storied sections. Even the framework of the bimah (four columns connected by archivaults) and the recess for the aron ha-kodesh survive. In the 1990s repairs to the annexe were started and soon abandoned, but not before the windows were faultily installed. It is not easy to have a look around either structure and it is advisable to do it in the company of Mr Chrusciel (his address is given below), as it is not obvious which parts have been repaired and strengthened and which still might give way at any moment. To get to the synagogue from the annexe, there is a recently constructed underground passage, which lends atmosphere to the journey, particularly as the cellars are shrouded in total darkness. If the repair work is ever completed, the monument complex in Krasnik might well become a major tourist attraction.
The synagogue and its annexe are in ul. Boznicza, very close to the square, on the left of the supermarket. The key is with Mr Chrusciel, ul. Boznicza 12 (please ring), phone +81 8843891.

The Mikvah and the Cemetery
The building which housed the ritual baths is not far from the synagogue. Just go down ul. Boznicza and after crossing ul. Lubelska walk along ul. Bagno. It is a large and easily recognisable edifice which has been converted into an old people's home. The same road goes on further to the right (1 km) towards the cemetery, honoured today with a memorial to the Jews of Krasnik. Unfortunately, most of the matzevot were stolen after the war and today serve as paving stones and steps.
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Adam Mickiewicz Institute, Mokotowska 25, 00-560 Warsaw tel. (48-22) 44 76 100,
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