The synagogue in Rujany

The synagogue in Rujany


Churches, katolik churches, сathedral, monasteries

The building of a former synagogue perfectly suits architectural complex of the ancient settlement. It was made by a famous Saxon architect Samuel Bekker. This building could have become an architectural diamond if not time and wars…

Bekker in Rujany

The synagogue in Rujany is in the list of historical and cultural values of Belarus. It was erected in the end of the 18th century by Samuel Bekker, a court architect of Sapega family. Historians consider him to be the father of Belarusian classicism. He built the whole town for the Sapegas.

St. Peter and Pavel church, basilian monastery, Rujany palace and Trinity Catholic Church and a synagogue were constructed by Bekker. All the projects of the genius Saxon have grace spirit, exact proportions and laconic decoration.

  •  Later not far fr om the synagogue an yeshiva building was erected.
  • Architectural features of the synagogue:
  • "Stanislav classicism" ( late baroque switching to classicism ).
  • Ogival windows of the first level are combined with arched windows of the second one.
  • Central windows of the upper level are close to each other.
  • The entrance and window frames are not symmetric.
  • The façade is painted with thin decorative arches. The cornice is wide.
"Blood rebel" in Rujany

The building of the synagogue was ordered by Sapega only for 150 Jews lived there at those times.

Jewish community was mentioned in 1623 for the first time. 24 years later in Jewish quarter a dead orthodox baby was founded. Local people blamed the Jews and wanted blood revenge. Yan Sapega had to intervene this punishment. But in spite of the court trial that didn’t prove the blame of the Jews, disturbance didn’t stop. Two communities’ leaders were killed.

The center of Jewish science

In 1897 3600 Jews lived in the settlement (71,7 % of locals).

In th 18-19 centuries Rujany was the centre of Jewish science. In the place there was an yeshiva, several Jewish secondary schools and a primary one. There was even a Jewish theatre studio and 3 synagogues.

Emigrants of Rujany Jewish community were such famous persons as writer and teacher Iyehel Pines, poet Aron Luboshitsky and the former Prime minister of Israel Itshak Shamir. They all visited the big synagogue in their native town.

Victims of Nazism

Rujany was occupied by fascists on June, 24, 1941. Shooting started from July, in autumn the Nazis created a ghetto wh ere there were about 4 thousand people.

In 1942 a lot of them were transferred to the concentration camp in Volkovysk and after to death camp Treblinka. Some were killed in Rujany.

What is a special value of the synagogue in Rujany?

1 The interior has frescos of the 18th century.

2 It has a bima – a stone platform with columns. It is the place for reading Torah and the Book of the Prophets.

Unfortunately, the synagogue is in a breakdown condition. You can go inside but it’s not secure. The building is on the territory of a car station and there is a filling station in the yard of the synagogue.

Ideas and projects of its restoration exist only on paper.


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