The synagogue in Warsaw's Praga district

Because of the strict regulations related to the acquisition of property by Jews and their freedom to settle in the city, they were not allowed to live in the center of left-bank Warsaw until the Enlightenment-era reforms, when regulations were relaxed. The coming decades saw the decline of the Commonwealth, partitions and positivistic social changes that brought about a change in the attitude towards the Jewish population. Their settlement was looked on with approval, particularly in depopulated areas and those destroyed by numerous wars and armed conflicts (i.e., uprisings).

As the audit of 1819 in Praga notes, the first synagogue was housed in a “…wooden house of Berk Szmul, covered with shingles…”, and served as a place of prayer for approximately twenty Jews. Around the year 1835, the number of Jewish families in Praga began to grow, and families appeared that would become very important there, including the Pasmenters, Posners, Datyners, Dancyngiers, Rubinlichts, Bergsons and Feigenbaums. As the Jewish community expanded, plans were made to build a more impressive synagogue than the place of prayer had been up to this point – improvised and wooden. The municipal authorities granted a lot for this purpose at the intersection of today's Ks. Kłopotowskiego and Jagiellońska streets, which had remained in ruins after the Russian storming of Praga in 1794. The Jewish Community, comprised primarily of the families of craftsmen, was not able to engage any of the well-known architects to
design it.
In 1840, they commissioned the city's master-builder, Jóżef G. Lessel, to design the synagogue. He had built the nearby observation tower for the fire department. A rather small classical building in the shape of a rotunda was constructed, with four vestibules, more reminiscent of an ancient Roman grave than a synagogue. It was nevertheless in keeping with the architectural style at the time.

In the late nineteenth century, Praga's Jewish Community expanded its social and religious activities significantly. Next to the synagogue, several buildings were erected for various purposes, including the Israelite Orphanage, which came to be called the Michał Bergson Jewish Educational Center, named after the wealthy merchant and community activist.

The building was designed by the well-known architect Henryk Stifelman, who also designed the hospital at ul. Krochmalna, where the famous physician and pedagogue Janusz Korczak worked. Its style was inspired by traditional Polish palaces and late-Renaissance buildings and granaries, such as those for which Kazimierz nad Wisłą is famous.
The synagogue was spared, relatively speaking, from the destruction of the Second World War and the German occupation. It was burned, but the structure still stood. Unfortunately, the building was demolished as the result of a rash decision after the war, during the reconstruction of Warsaw. Only a few photographs of it remain.
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