The Restoration of the Beth Midrash as a Museum of Jewish History and Culture in Poland’s Mazovia region has been completed.
Museum Web Site: http://synagogaplocka.pl/en
The Last/Lost/Restored Synagogue of Płock
Ada Holtzman, 1.03.2013
From my home in Tel Aviv Israel, I am sending you, the people of Płock, my greetings and my deepest gratitude!
I feel I speak in the name of all the Jews who graced this town since 1237. The Jewish community of Płock, together with that of Poznań and Kalisz, is considered to be the most ancient Jewish community of Poland. About 10,000 Jews lived there before the War. The Jews of Płock prospered and flourished for hundreds of years and enriched all aspects of Plock life, economy and culture by its scholars, artists, poets, Rabbis, scientists, writers, educators, musicians, doctors and leaders.
It all abruptly ended with the German Nazi occupation during World War II - 72 years ago… On 1.03.1941 the Germans started the deportation of Jews to various ghettos, and hideous forced labor camps and from these places later in the black years 1942-43, deported to the concentration and extermination camps... And they did not walk like sheep to the slaughter… We remember the revolts in the concentration camps where young Jews from Płock participated and led the revolts, like Tobka Beatus, Mosze Sklarek (Bahir), Marian Platkiewicz, Mojzesz Laks, Haskiel and Szmul Rosenberg, Ber Gutman, Kryczek, Galewski, Abram Koziebrodzki, Rudek Lubraniecki and many others. They will all be remembered in this holy place now restored…
My grandmother Rasza Holcman née Zlotnik was born in Płock. Her father Abraham Icchak came from Wyszogrod and settled in Płock, founding an oil factory. He gave birth to 13 children, among them rabbis and famous scholars. One of the descendants was R' Yona Mordechai, who served as the Rabbi of Płock in the early years of the 20th century. He was among the founders of the Hebrew Gymnasium of Płock in 1917. My roots are deeply implanted in this town as I am linked to many Płockers Jewish families as Walfisz, Lisser, Gawron, Cinamon, Kowaldo and others who spread all over Poland. Only from the Zlotnik family, more than 200 descendants young and old, men women, and the little children were murdered by the German Nazis, … Everybody was killed with the most brutal and horrifying methods, only because they were born Jewish. Shouldn’t they be remembered and their life and death be recorded? They have no cemetery. Their ashes are spread all over Poland, in the rivers and in the forests, in the mass graves and in the green lawns… So in this small site here in Płock, they are remembered. An as the old Jewish scholar, Baal Shem Tov” founder of the Hassidism said: “Remembrance is the Secret of Redemption”…
Also the Jewish culture and heritage was destroyed, the cemeteries, schools, libraries…
There remains the grand magnificent synagogue, which was filled with boats and served as a warehouse. In the early 1950s this remnant was also destroyed by the Polish Authorities, claiming it was a "dangerous" building… As I cannot go back in time I cannot verify if this was true or not, but this is what survivors told me.
There remained somehow also the Beth Midrash, House of Learning, one of many in town which served the community as a place of learning the "Torah", "Talmud", "Shulchan Aruch", it served also for prayers and inner contemplation about faith and life... The place was legally owned by the Union of Jewish Communities in Poland which did what they should never have done and sold it to the Polish Authorities of Płock. The municipality and some wonderful organizations of the people of Płock, after many years of public struggle, managed to restore it and make it a Museum of the Płock Jewry History and Memory.
15 years ago I started to explore my family past. Both my parents were born in Gąbin and managed to get to Palestine in July 1939 where they founded Kibbutz Evron in the north of Israel. As my research deepened, I learned how linked was my family to Płock. So I initiated a memorial web site in the Internet: P.R.I. Płock Remembrance Initiative. I did it with some survivors of the Holocaust, Helena Witkowski, Liber Taub, Yeszayahu Livni, Yochewet Braun, Dr. Zofia Pakula and many others. Unfortunately, the message about the restoration of Beth Midrash – Synagogue as a Jewish museum, was too late for them… nearly all deceased… and it was also too late for many many other Jewish Płockers and mainly I refer to more than 10,000 human souls, residents of this town, who were murdered and even their memory fades away by the course of time.
This modest museum inside the last synagogue in all the Mazowsze area, serves as a torch of reconciliation between Jews and Poles in Płock and in whoe Poland. I appreciate and thank you from the bottom of my heart for your great efforts. This is indeed the new Poland which is part of the enlightened Europe and the West and recognizes the memory of the Jews as integral part of its history and preserves the memory of that common history, so brutally erased off the earth 70 years ago.
I would like to recommend and thank Mr. Michael Levi, who is deeply connected with Israel, and is a Levite himself, a descendant of the Maimonides (Rambam) and has no personal connections or roots in Płock nor in Poland. Mr Levi has helped to restore this synagogue and restore other Jewish sites, supporting Jewish life and culture in Poland, keeping the Jewish memory and restoring Jewish heritage. And thank you Gosia Zglinska for your courage in exposing the story at the time and thank you Mr. Jan Przedpełski, a citizen of Płock, for your continuous dedication to preserve the Jewish memory of your town.
I thank you, the mayor of Płock, I thank the Płock Synagogue Society and I thank the people of Płock who bought back the site from the Authorities, and with the financial support of of the EU, initiated and completed the restoration of the synagogue, so that the memory of my family and my community will be preserved, in my generation and the following generations to come.
Toda Płock… Shalom Płock…
Dedication Ceremony 15.3.2013
15.03.2013: in the dedication ceremony of the restored Beth Midrash as a Jewish Museum: Michael Levi (to the left) and Jakob Guterman, a painter and a writer, born in Płock 1935
Jakob Guterman, born in Płock 1935, a painter, an illustrator and a writer. He illustrated the Yizkor Book of Płock
Dedication Ceremony 15.3.2013
By Gosia Zglinska
The last/lost Beth Midrash (Synagogue and House of Learning) in
Council of Plock has decided to auction off its historic synagogue, one of the
oldest in Mazowsze. This decision means rejecting a former plan to host an art
gallery and a small
The synagogue was erected in 1822. In 1950 the buiding was taken over by the state and in 1997 ownership of the property was granted to the Union of Jewish Communities in Poland, which a year later relinquished its rights to the building in return for 224,000 zloties. The sale agreement stated that the synagogue was not to be used as a church, nor turned into a bath, tannery or public convenience. Further conditions prohibited using the building for purposes of “indecent entertainment”, especially any involving nudity, sex or dance.
Municipal Council decided to hand over the synagogue to the
On Tuesday 27th
January the Municipal Council of Plock voted in favour of auctioning the
synagogue. The opposition lost by only one vote. One of its representatives,
Wojciech Hetkowski, said that the synagogue should remain public property in
order to prove that the inhabitants of
The Mayor of
Mr. Miroslaw Milewski,
Dear Mr Milewski,
I am writing to
you on behalf of the Israeli and American branches of the
We have heard
the news that the old synagogue in
As you are no doubt
aware, very little of
In view of this, it is all the more important that what remains should not only be looked after and protected, but wherever possible put to good use.
that there were initially plans to convert the synagogue into a Jewish
Museum. We consider this an excellent idea
that would not only gladden the hearts of Jews throughout the world, but also
ada001 "at" netvision.net.il
ada "at" zchor.org
Newe Sharet – Tel Aviv 69185
By Mr. Tomasz Kolczynski, Vice
Click to enlarge
Appendix page 1
Appendix page 2
Jan Przedpełski: the
Jak wiadomo od 1992
r. budynek bożnicy płockiej jest nieużytkowany. Obiekt ten
niszczeje i obecnie znajduje się w stanie godnym pożałowania.
Jak tak dalej będzie, to zabytkowy ten budynek podzieli los rozebranej w
1951 r. starej, wielkiej synagogi.
Translated by Edyta Gawron
Who is responsible for the tragic lot of
As it’s well known the building of
In the years 1992-1997 the local government of the city of
According to the law of the
The Authorities of Union of Jewish Religious
Congregations have surely realized that they were selling the old Jewish
prayer’s house. The money for the synagogue was collected and nobody is interested in the future of that
prayer’s house. I am sure, that the people who lead the
I would like to draw the attention to the fact, that
in many Polish cities, like for example
I already know the answer of the Jewish Community
and City of
The decision of the local Council members in
As the native
A Vote on the Internet
Could you please all (and whoever you can quickly recruit for the CAUSE) vote in favour of the Museum
- scroll down the page (link below) and select the first button (next to "muzeum Żydów mazowieckich")- then click
on the box that says: glosuj
What Will Remain from the Remains...???
The grand synagogue of
The Small Beth Midrash
First posted in February 2004
Last updated April 1st, 2013