Wall paintings in Włodawa Beit Midrash to be restored with EU grant

The polychrome wall paintings in the Beit Midrash of the historic synagogue complex in Włodawa, Poland will be restored in a two-year,  €1.2 million operation mostly funded by the EU. The restoration will be the culmination of a fullscale revitalization of the complex, which has housed the town’s museum since 1986.

The museum announced the grant in interviews with Lublin Radio, where officials said the EU had funded 95 percent of the costs. They said work should begin at the end of November and continue until October 2022. There are also plans to create an education center in the Beit Midrash, which is current set up as an auditorium, with Jewish history information panels installed on the walls.

The complex includes three synagogues and is one of the most significant surviving sites of Jewish heritage in Poland. The Great Synagogue, an elegant late-baroque building dating from the late 18th century, was used as a warehouse and after WWII and anchors the museum, which has a focus on Jewish heritage. The Beit Midrash with the wall paintings was originally built in the 18th century and reconstructed in the early 20th century. There is also a Beit Midrash from the 1920s, used as offices and for temporary exhibitions.

Begun in 2017, the restoration project to date has included renovation of the facade of the Great Synagogue; replacement of roof, windows and doors; replacement of flashings and guttering; insulation of walls; and replacement of the heating system.

The polychrome wall paintings in the small synagogue (Beit Midrash) are severely damaged. They include the texts of prayers and also illustrations of the Zodiac and of musical instruments.

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