Yiddish: Lenchna

Tourist Attractions
The Mannerist parish church of St Mary Magdalene from 1618-1631 (belfry from 1827) and the 17th-century parish house, as well as the Town Hall and the cloth stalls from the 19th century.

Jews lived in Leczna as early as in 1501 and the community was established in the first half of the 16th century. From 1668 to 1685 the town hosted sessions of Vaad Arba Aratzot (Diet of the Four Lands). The first half of the 19th century saw the heyday of the Chasidic movement. This is when the town of Łęczna was home to the court of tzaddik Shlomo Yehuda Leib Lechner (d. 1843) whose ohel was in the cemetery (no longer existing) by the road to Lublin. Chasidism also created adivision between the members of the local community; its followers prayed in private houses of worship known as klozyn, while other Jews, referred to as Orthodox Mitnagdim, kept to the synagogue.
In the 19th century Leczna was renowned for its local rabbi Chaim Boruch Kowartowski (d. 1885) who was held in great esteem. From 1879 to 1902 the town belonged to Jan Gotlib Bloch, the European "railway king" (described more fully in the chapter on Warsaw). The merchant families of Geldman and Handelsman, as well as the descendants of rabbi Kowartowski, were among the most influential people in town. Abraham Rachmil Bromberg (1879-1939) was the last rabbi of Leczna. At the outbreak of the Second World War, Jews made up 53% of the local population (2,300 people). They perished in the extermination camps of Sobibor and Trawniki; the last group in April 1943 in Leczna itself.

The Synagogue and House of Learning
This magnificent rectangular building measures 9.5m by 15m. Particularly noticeable are the strong walls (up to 2.4m in thickness) and the traditional Polish mansard roof, which once may have been even larger and crowned with an attic. There are unconfirmed reports that the Jews were forced to make the synagogue lower, as it left the local parish church in the shade. After the fire of 1846, extensive reconstruction work was carried out and the women's prayer room was enlarged. During the Second World War the Germans used it as astorehouse.
The Synagogue, photo: A.Olej&K. Kobus:

After the war, the locals dismantled the floor, stole the windows and the doors and destroyed the vestibule as well as the neighbouring kahal building (the more recent western part of the synagogue does not contain much in the way ofhistorical value). The damage was so considerable (80%) that in 1952 a decision was taken, with the approval of the Lublin Union of Members of the Jewish Faith, to pull the building down. The monument was saved thanks to an absence of funds to pay for its demolition. Amajor overhaul was carried out from 1954 to 1964 and the synagogue was then converted into amuseum. At first it was the Coalfields Museum of Lublin and at present it houses the District Museum.

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The bimah is well preserved. It is one of very few originals in the Lublin area as well as the only one of its kind.

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

It supported the dome as well as the decorative canopy over the place where the Torah was read. The interior, once covered in wall paintings, is now coated white.

Inside the building the Regional Museum has organised an exhibition of Judaica entitled "The Gates of Time". The exhibits are arranged according to the Jewish cycle of festivals, starting with Rosh Hashanah and going on to Yom Kippur, Sukkot, Chanukah, Purim and Pesach. Here you will find objects used in religious ceremonies: vessels for the ritual washing of hands, Shabbat candles, kiddush cups, dishes for an etrog (citrus fruit), Chanukah lights, Seder plates and goblets, articles of clothing (such as a tallit from Kishinev, agift from adescendent of the well-know Geldman family of Leczna). The highlight of the exhibition is the extremely original part dealing with everyday life. Here you will find copper pots, snuff-boxes, wedding invitations, visiting cards and even actual bottles which once contained Haberfeld's famous Passover vodka. The original costume of a Jewish woman from Ostrowiec Swietokrzyski, composed of a sleeveless jacket and skirt, is anabsolute rarity nowadays.
Take awalk around the synagogue. The neighbouring building, now a public library, is aformer beth ha-midrash (early 19th century).

Beth ha-midrash, photo: A.Olej&K. Kobus:

On request the staff will open the closet in which the ritual wash-hand basin is preserved. Remnants of polychromies, painted over in 1993, are still visible.
The Leczna District Museum, ul. Bozniczna 17, phone +81 7520869. Open 8am-4pm; Sundays 9am-4pm. Tickets 2 zl, concessions 1.5 zl; guide 25 zl per group.
You are welcome to discuss about "Leczna"
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