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Damaged stained glass window likely from the desecrated Tempel Synagogue

Object | Accession Number: 1990.287.2

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    Brief Narrative
    Damaged stained glass window, likely from the Tempel Synagogue in Krakow, Poland, desecrated by German forces during their occupation of the city between September 1939 and January 1945. Enough details remain in the glass fragments to identify the image of a 7-branched menorah flanked by curtains. The prominent Reform synagogue was built between 1860 and 1862, on Miadowa Street in the Kazimierz Jewish district. The Renaissance revival structure has Moorish interiors with stained glass windows on both the ground floor and first floor. The windows were likely created in the late 1800s in the workshop owned by J. Zajdzikowski, and in the early 1900s by a company owned by the Zelenski family. The building was enlarged in 1868, 1893, and 1924, and the windows would have been installed during one of those periods. Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, and forces occupied Krakow within a week. By March 1941, 55,000 of the 70,000 Jews in Krakow were expelled. German troops badly damaged the synagogue and used it as a military warehouse and stable. The German forces left Krakow on January 17, 1945. On January 19, Soviet troops entered the city. Tempel Synagogue was one of seven synagogues in Krakow to survive the war. Fewer than 100 Jews were left in the city following the war, and pogroms from summer 1945 through 1946 led most of those to emigrate. In the 1990s, Tempel, the only intact 19th-century synagogue in Poland, was restored as a religious and cultural center by the World Monuments Fund.
    found:  after 1945 May-before 1990
    creation:  approximately 1875-approximately 1925
    found: Tempel Synagogue; Krakow (Poland)
    creation: Krakow (Poland)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Kongregacja Wyznania Mojżeszowego Kraków

    Physical Details

    Architectural Elements
    Physical Description
    Large, broken, stained glass window in its original wooden frame with fragments of multi-colored pot metal glass with painted details, depicting a menorah with curved branches flanked by curtains. The glass is smooth on one side, and matted and textured on the other. Nearly all the glass is missing, but enough details remain to identify the seven-branched, golden-yellow, flash painted menorah with detailed brush strokes on the opposite side. Still visible are three branches, two red flames, and portions of the central stem. The curtains are opaque and dark purple with flash painted golden-yellow and red rope ties and tassels. The background is composed of light and dark blue sections around the center and light and golden-yellow ones at the top. The glass fragments are inserted in channels of gray lead came, narrow metal supports, that are soldered together within a rectangular frame and adhered to the glass with cementing compound. The two-part, slatted wooden sash, reinforced with an iron saddle bar across the lower center, holds the stained glass panel. The frame has two flat, horizontal, metal reinforcing bars that sandwich the glass between them across the center. Along the left jamb, there is a single iron hinge, and along the right there are remnants of the locking mechanism. Many of the lead cames are twisted and deformed; and the glass fragments are not all firmly secured. There is a horizontal break in the right jamb and the wood is worn and discolored overall with many abrasions, cuts, and losses.
    overall: Height: 68.250 inches (173.355 cm) | Width: 57.000 inches (144.78 cm) | Depth: 1.750 inches (4.445 cm)
    overall : wood, glass, lead, iron, paint, metal

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Geographic Name
    Krakow (Poland)

    Administrative Notes

    The fragmented stained glass window was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 1990 by Kongregacja Wyznania Mojżeszowego Kraków.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2023-07-05 07:51:21
    This page:

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