Synagogue Rededicated in Lviv

A prewar synagogue has reopened in Lviv after a painstaking programme of renovation.

The Synagogue of Aaron and Israel is one of only two Jewish temples in Lviv to have survived the war. There were nearly fifty before the conflict broke out.

Originally launched in 1924, the synagogue was decorated with fantastical murals - typical features of synagogues in this part of the world.

The building managed to survive the war as the Nazis used it as a horse stable. After 1945, under the Soviet regime, the synagogue was used as a warehouse.

Prior to World War II, Lviv had one of the most significant Jewish populations in Central Europe, with about 110,000 inhabitants of Jewish confession.

Some Jews managed to flee the country on the eve of war in 1939. After the Soviet invasion, thousands of the city's bourgeoisie, Polish, Jewish and Ukrainian - were deported to Siberia, Kazakhstan and elsewhere. When the Nazis invaded two years later, anyone of Jewish descent was at risk. Only a tiny percentage survived the ghettos and camps.

The restoration of the synagogue has been led by London's HGSS Friends of Lvov (Hampstead Garden Suburb Synagogue). On 9th December 2007, a delegation flew in from London for the candle-lighting Chanukah ceremony. Several hundred Jews from the region attended.

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