Synagogue safe says mayor

Lviv's mayor has assured that the remains of one of the city's oldest synagogues will not be bulldozed to make way for a new hotel.

Large sections of the city are building sites at present in the lead up to the Euro 2012 soccer championships, of which Lviv is a host city.

A flurry of criticism in international newspapers which claimed that the Jewish complex was under threat prompted Mayor Andriy Sadovyy to release a statement on the matter.

"Construction of a hotel in the neighbouring Fedorova Street, which has drawn criticism from some civic organizations representatives, has nothing to do with the site of the former Synagogue, he said.

The mayor also pledged his commitment to restoring the area, as well as other neglected Jewish sites in the city.

It is extremely important to us, that, together with the Jewish community, civic organizations and everybody concerned with the fate of Lviv heritage, we resolve the issue of synagogue fragments' conservation, as well as the issue of their worthy setting.

An international group of experts is at work on a project commemorating the most significant Jewish memorial sites in Lviv, he said.

I also invite all interested parties to join the works aimed at commemoration of the Jewish history of Lviv, he concluded.

Although the mayor's remarks appeared to calm some voices, others claimed that the hotel construction will still affect a former mikveh (Jewish ritual bath), the foundations of a kosher butchery and other Jewish relics that were clustered around the synagogue.

Prior to World War II, when the city lay within Polish borders, Lviv's Jewish community numbered about 110,000. Only a few thousand survived the Nazi occupation.


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