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Synagogue renovated

SLOVAKIA had many synagogues in the past. But after most Jews fled the country or were transported to Hitler’s death camps, most synagogues were no longer used for their original purpose; some were demolished and others deteriorated. But a few synagogues have been renovated since 1989 to house culture and art centres and this is what is happening now to the synagogue in Levice in western Slovakia.

SLOVAKIA had many synagogues in the past. But after most Jews fled the country or were transported to Hitler’s death camps, most synagogues were no longer used for their original purpose; some were demolished and others deteriorated. But a few synagogues have been renovated since 1989 to house culture and art centres and this is what is happening now to the synagogue in Levice in western Slovakia.

The Levice synagogue had fallen into near-total disrepair but since 2010 it has been undergoing reconstruction with the help of funds from the European Union. The total cost of the renovation project is just over €1.5 million and the town is contributing only 5 percent of that amount.

Levice’s mayor, Štefan Mišák, told the SITA newswire that reconstruction might be completed by the beginning of 2012 and the building will then host concerts, exhibitions and theatre performances as well as displaying a permanent collection of Slovak art in its gallery.

“If we had not received the financial contribution [from the EU], then the synagogue would not exist at all as in two or three years it would have totally collapsed,” Mišák said.

The synagogue in Levice was built in the 1850s and became a warehouse after World War II.

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