Chewra Lomdei Misznajot Synagogue 5 Ks. Jana Skarbka Square
The only Jewish house of prayer in Oświęcim, preserved to this day. This historic building, forming part of the Jewish Museum, does not have its own rabbi, nor a congregation of the faithful, but serves as a place of prayer, reflection and remembrance.
Built circa 1913, the Nazis devastated its interior and used the building as a munitions warehouse. After World War II, Jewish survivors in Oświęcim once again used it as a synagogue. In the 50s, the last Jews of Oświęcim left, and the synagogue stood empty. In the 1970s, the Communist government nationalized the building and turned it into a carpet warehouse.
In 1998, the synagogue became the first Jewish communal property to be returned to a Jewish community in Poland and the recipients of the property, the Bielsko-Biala Jewish Community, donated the synagogue to the Auschwitz Jewish Center Foundation. The AJCF restored the building to its pre-war condition as described by survivors. It was reopened in September 2000 and it's a part of the Jewish Museum in Oświęcim.
Inside, there is a large prayer room adjacent to the former women's gallery. The rooms are illuminated by windows, the openings of which from the outside are closed with full or segmented arches. In the prayer room (in the men's section), there are, among others wooden Aron Kodesh (altar cabinet used to store the Torah scrolls, the first five books of the Bible, the most important revealed text of Judaism), bimahs (elevated place with a table for teaching and reading the Torah), shelves for prayer books and benches. A multi-arm, decorative, metal chandelier hangs above the room. Originally, there was a room for studying the Talmud (Torah commentaries) in the synagogue's attic. In the men's section, two historic plaques have remained.