The Augsburg Synagogue Turns 100

The Augsburg Synagogue was dedicated on April 4, 1917. Today the imposing structure bears witness to a hundred years of history, including beginnings and upheavals, expulsion and flight, and the repeated resurgence of hope.

The architects, Dr. Heinrich Lömpel (1877–1951) and Fritz Landauer (1883–1968), designed the majestic building over one hundred years ago in the context of the Jewish Renaissance. The architecture unites ideas from classical antiquity, Art Nouveau and New Objectivity with Byzantine and Orientalizing elements. The Augsburg Synagogue is the only urban synagogue in Bavaria and one of the few in Germany to have survived the Nazi period. The interior was desecrated, but the building escaped destruction.

The sanctuary of the Great Synagogue remained in desolate condition until the mid-1970s, when public funds were finally allocated for its restoration. These efforts culminated in its rededication on September 1, 1985. At the same time, in the building’s west wing, the Jewish Culture Museum Augsburg-Swabia was established as the first independent Jewish museum in the Federal Republic of Germany. Even today the Augsburg museum remains one of the few Jewish museums in Germany to be housed in a synagogue that is still in active use, and one of the few to share its facilities with a Jewish community.

The hundredth anniversary of a synagogue is a rare occasion in Germany! From April to June 2017, the Jewish Culture Museum Augsburg-Swabia is hosting a number of events to commemorate the dedication of the Great Synagogue in Augsburg one hundred years ago. The program includes concerts, lectures, exhibitions, many public tours and a reunion of descendants of the Augsburg Jewish families who had to flee from the Nazis.

The official anniversary ceremony, hosted by the Jewish Community of Swabia-Augsburg, will be held in the synagogue on June 28, 2017, with admittance by invitation only.

Click here for an overview of the anniversary events and here for more information about the program.