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24 July 2015, 14:12 | Restoration, maintainance of cultural inheritance | 0 |   | Code for Blog |  | 

Synagogue Space is an initiative aimed at commemorating the history of Jews in Lviv, raising Holocaust awareness, visualization of the common past and creating new memorial and educational spaces in the city.
It was reported by the website Association of Hebrew organizations and communities of Ukraine titled ‘Vaad’.
The first stage of implementation of the project is conservation of surviving remnants of the synagogue "Golden Rose", marking the place of Beit Hamidrashu (training house), located nearby, and the creation of a memorial at the site of installation titled ‘Perpetuation’. Rethinking the history and significance of Arsenal Square and the Jewish Quarter in general as the common heritage is part of a broader social dialogue both with the past and between contemporaries.
The project emerged during an international conference in 2008, while the development of concepts and documentation lasted more than five years. The project completion is planned by the end of 2016.
“This year we start the restoration and conservation work on the arrangement of Arsenal area. Now there is an ugly metal fence, enclosing the ‘Golden Rose’ synagogue ruins. Guides come and tell us that there was a Jewish quarter and synagogues. But actually there is nothing left from the authentic place,” says Lilia Onyshchenko, head of the Department of Historic Environment Lviv City Council.
According to her, all the necessary documents have been prepared and the contractor has been selected. The project will be implemented in two phases: the Jewish Quarter renovation and land improvement.
“The speed of its implementation will depend on our financial capabilities. There are sufficient funds for conservation of the synagogue, we have some money to arrange the territory. We will do it within the budget funding, but we also look forward to the support of philanthropists,” says Lilia Onyshchenko, adding that project should be delivered in good quality to offer Lvivites another public space.
Sofia Dyak, Director of the Center for Urban History of East and Central Europe, believes that there should be both the memorial and public space. Compliance with applicable legislation and recommendations of UNESCO provides that projects in the historic district should be adapted, integrated into a public environment.
“Now this space is in such condition, which cannot last long: beyond the fence, under the tables’ platform and previously under the parking. The location is being destroyed. Now it neither honors nor saves, nor it performs the educational work,” Sofia Dyak says.
The Synagogue Space combines several mini-spaces: the ruins of the ‘Golden Rose’ synagogue; ‘Perpetuation’ memorial; the area, where Hamidrash Beit was located (the house of learning, where boys and men acquired religious education); the area where the Great City Synagogue was located.
According to Sofia Dyak, each mini-space will have its own function:
The area near the ruins of the ‘Golden Rose’ synagogue. Today there remain only the walls and a part of the foundation. They should be preserved in order not to be destroyed. There will be the space for architectural monuments of nationwide importance, to which is important to have access. Now there is no obvious way to the synagogue there. It can be reached via a terrace near ‘A Jewish Tavern’ or through the facilities of the Jewish religious community ‘Turei Zahav’.
The memorial titled ‘Perpetuation’. After discussions how the people may be added here, the idea of a memorial installation came up: to install stones on which are written quotations from the Jews, inhabitants of the quarter. The quotations have been worked out and selected by historians, researchers; the representatives of the Jewish community in Israel, America, Poland also participated. Of the 70 offered quotations 21 were selected. Men and women, children, adults and the elderly will speak out from boulders. “We want to show the fluidity of history through the voices of individuals. It is important to remember the names of people and to avoid abstractness of this installation,”Sofia Dyak says. In addition, the guides will now be able to tell tourists not only the already-known story of the Golden Rose, but other stories about the inhabitants of the Jewish Quarter, sometimes tragic and equally important.
The area, where Hamidrash Beit(house of learning)was previously located. This is a public space where there is green grass, which contrasts with the concrete. There the seats will be arranged along with the trees to protect from heat. It will be a pleasant environment for reflection for Lviv residents and tourists, a platform of peace and quiet to review the synagogue hall. “It is clear that this will be a public space with certain restrictions,” Sofia Dyak emphasizes.
The area, where the Great City Synagogue was previously located. This mini-space fully reflects the building in the perimeter. A slight slope of 1% creates a place to sit. Another feature: after rain, water will remain in cross-sectional cavities and reflect sunlight. This place is ideal for rest, reflection, and can be used as a convenient platform for various events and exhibitions. Now here is the summer terrace of one of the institutions with many tables. According to the Sofia Dyak, they are irrelevant here: “There ought to be a distance to observed due respect. Tables can be put in some other places. And here, where people still pray, where the building was blown up, the tables are superfluous.” She noted that the owners are ready to make concessions to the institution; they promise to remove terrace when the work begins. According to her, the project receives both support and criticism. In Lviv there are advocates of rather rebuilding than conserving the ‘Golden Rose’ synagogue.
“We have no clear answer how to do it and I do not know whether it is generally advisable,” Sofia Dyak says and adds: “The project is bidirectional, i.e. open for changes in the future. If they decide to rebuild the synagogue - it can be done. If they want to change something in the area, it also will not cause difficulties. The project does not impedeany other prospects that will appear in five or ten years.”
According to Sofia Dyak, it is important to successfully combine the history of buildings with the history of people, and not only to create yet another place for rest, but also a complete public space for reflection, reflection and commemoration of those who once were and now are part of Lviv.