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2017-03-15

Unknown Jewish monument in Świder?

A wooden building stands at 11 Piwna St. in Otwock's Świder district. Covered by a gable roof, it has been erected on a rectangular plan with approximate dimensions of 6 x 13 m.

Ilustracja

photo by Krzysztof Bielawski / POLIN   

Maciej Woźniak, a researcher of Otwock's history and the founder of the www.archiwumotwockie.pl website, became interested in the building in 2016. His research has revealed that the interior used to have inscriptions in Hebrew. However, he managed to contact the house's current owners and acquire more details only a few days ago.

It turned out that the building was probably a house of prayer before World War II. Not much is known about its owner. He is said to have been a businessman who committed suicide during the German occupation. The property was taken over by a person named Królikowski, and in 1956 the Samul family came to live in the run-down building. The single-chamber interior was divided into several rooms. During the works, a veranda that was placed at the western side was dismantled and a new entrance was made on the northern side.

It is rumoured that older Świder inhabitants knew very well that Jews had used the building for prayers before the war. However, the memory faded with time. "Hebrew inscriptions were still visible under new layers of paint until the 1960s, and I was called 'Tadek from the synagogue' by my friends", said Tadeusz Samul, a son of the owners.

The painted decorations, which could be texts of prayers, were located in the eastern part of the room. The residents do not recall any other paintings. They know from their neighbours that originally the building had an opening roof – perhaps a sukkah.

In Otwock and nearby Józefów, there are a few villas where Jews used to pray in designated rooms until the war. 

Krzysztof Bielawski

 

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