The official opening ceremony took place on May 6, 2010 as part of a five-day long series of events. The Synagogue was designed by the famous architect Carl Ferdinand Langhans the Younger, son of the creator of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. Its classic façade and light, airy interior lit by an enormous cupola was the pride and joy of the liberal faction of the Jewish community in Breslau, which financed construction of the building. It was built in 1829 on a lot belonging to Jacob Silberstein, on the spot where the White Stork Inn had allegedly stood. Throughout the nineteenth century, the Jewish community of Breslau was growing rapidly, getting richer and gaining in prestige.
The history of the Jews of Breslau was the subject of a two-day historical conference entitled “Jewish Religious Life in Breslau/Wroclaw” organized by the Jewish Studies Department at the University of Wroclaw. Speakers included Prof. Abraham Ascher, professor emeritus of the City University of New York and author of A Community under Siege: The Jews of Breslau under Nazism and the chief rabbi of Poland, Michael Schudrich. The celebrations continued with the opening of the exhibits “Wergeland’s Legacy: Jewish Life in Norway 1851-1945” and “History Reclaimed: Jewish Life in Wrocław and Lower Silesia,” both of which are part of a larger project “Jewish Life in Oslo and Wrocław – an exhibit.” Britt Ormaasen and Oskar Kvasnes, curators of the “Wergeland’s Legacy” gave a short presentation of their work, followed by Sidsel Levin, director of the Oslo Jewish Museum, who opened the exhibit.
The “History Reclaimed” exhibit will be on permanent display in the Synagogue, which is also home to the Wrocław Center for Jewish Culture and Education. The Norwegian exhibit will be in Wroclaw until the end of July.
On Thursday, May 6, a standing-room only audience, which included local dignitaries and clergy and foreign guests from Germany, France, the United States and South Africa, was treated to a gala event. The evening began with prayers lead by chief rabbi of Poland Michael Schudrich and rabbi of Silesia and Wrocław Yitzhak Rapoport, with translation by Jewish community leaders Jozef Kozuch and Jerzy Kichler. Keynote speakers included Wrocław mayor Rafal Dutkiewicz, the Ambassador of Norway Enok Nygaard and the Ambassador of Israel Zvi Rav-Ner. Bente Kahan greeted the guests and presented a special award – a unique White Stork hannukia designed by Wroclaw artist Ewa Rossano – to three individuals who had selflessly contributed their time and energy to bringing the renovation to a dazzling finish: Rafal Dutkiewicz, Marek Mielczarek and Maciej Sygit.
Program for the opening of the restored White Stork Synagogue,
May 5-9 2010,
prepared by the Bente Kahan Foundation in cooperation with The City of Wrocław
and the Union of Jewish Religious Communities in Poland.
Official ceremony of the opening of the restored White Stork Synagogue.
Thursday, May 6, 2010, 18.00 – 20.00
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
14.00 – 18.00 International conference „Religion and Beyond: Jewish Religious Life in Breslau/Wrocław.”
20.00 „David and Batsheba” an oratory by the Norwegian composer Stale Kleiberg, performed by Wroclaw Chamber Orchestra “Leopoldina” and the Nidaros Cathedral Choir from Trondheim, conducted by Vivianne Sydnes, organized by the City of Wroclaw in cooperation with the city of Trondheim (Norway), supported by the grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the Financial Mechanism Of European Economic Area and the Norwegian Financial Mechanism.
Thursday, May 6, 2010
09.00 – 14.00 International conference „Religion and Beyond: Jewish Religious Life in Breslau/Wrocław.”
16.00 – 17.00 Opening of the two exhibitions: “Wergeland’s Legacy – Jewish Life in Norway 1851 – 1945” and „History Reclaimed. Jewish Life in Wroclaw and Lower Silesia” within the scope of the project „Jewish religious life in Oslo and Breslau/Wrocław”. A presentation by the curators Britta Ormaasena and Oskara Kvasnesa of the exhibit „Wergeland’s Legacy – Jewish Life in Norway 1851 – 1945”.
18.00 – 20.00 Official ceremony of the opening of the restored White Stork Synagogue.
• Cantor Joseph Malovany (New York) with The White Stork Synagogue Choir under the direction of Stanisław Rybarczyk (Wrocław);
• Songs from the oratorium „David and Batsheba” by the Norwegian composer Stale Kleiberg, conducted by Vivianne Sydnes and performed the Nidaros Cathedral Choir (Trondheim) and “Leopoldina”, the Wroclaw Chamber Orchestra;
• A multimedia installation by the artists Bente Kahan (Norway) and Yoav Rossano (Israel).
Friday, May 7, 2010
15.00 Unveiling of a memorial plaque commemorating Willy Cohn, Rynek 49
15.30 Presentation of the book „No Rights – Anywhere. A Breslau Diary 1933-1941,” authored by Willy Cohn.
19.00 Open Shabat prayer service lead by Itzhak Rapoport, Head Rabbi of Wroclaw and Silesia, accompanied by kantor Joseph Malovany.
Saturday, May 8
09.30 Open Shabat prayer service lead by Itzhak Rapoport, Head Rabbi of Wroclaw and Silesia, accompanied by kantor Joseph Malovany.
22.30 Gala concert by the Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Krzysztof Penderecki, accompanied by kantor Joseph Malovany. Performance of „Kadish” by Krzysztof Penderecki.
Sunday, May 9
19:00 – A concert with cantor Joseph Malovany, accompanied by the White Stork Synagogue Choir and Wroclaw Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Stanisław Rybarczyk.
With the exception of the conference, which took place at the Oratorium Marianum at Wroclaw University, all the events took place at the Center for Jewish Culture and Education at the White Stork Synagogue, which is administered by the Bente Kahan Foundation.