Roof collapses on dilapidated 18th-century former synagogue in Ukraine

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Roof collapses on dilapidated 18th-century former synagogue in Ukraine

The shul in Brody, which is listed as a monument, has been neglected by authorities who have not taken action to salvage the dilapidated structure for years.

The Great Synagogue of Brody in Ukraine, pictured in 2012. (Wikimedia Commons via JTA)
The Great Synagogue of Brody in Ukraine, pictured in 2012. (Wikimedia Commons via JTA)

Large parts of the roof of a centuries-old crumbling former synagogue in Ukraine have collapsed.

The latest damage to what remains of the Great Synagogue of Brody, an 18th-century house of worship near Lviv, in western Ukraine, was observed this month. It follows an earlier implosion from 2006, reported Wednesday.

The building is listed as a monument but authorities in Ukraine, one of Europe’s poorest countries, have not taken action to salvage the dilapidated structure for years. Ukraine has hundreds of former synagogues, some of them as old as the Brody one, in various states of disrepair.

The Turei Zahav Jewish Community, an organisation that helps revive Jewish life and heritage in Western Ukraine, has warned repeatedly in recent years that inaction on the synagogue would lead to its disappearance.

“At the moment, the synagogue continues to collapse, and if no changes take place in the near future, we will once again lose one of the most unique monuments of sacred architecture in Ukraine,” the group said on its website.

The synagogue was severely damaged during World War II, and the southern and northern outbuildings were lost. During the war, German troops tried to blow up the building but failed, according to Turei Zahav.

The synagogue was nationalised during communism and used as a warehouse. After Ukraine’s independence in 1991, internal scaffolding was installed to slow down the building’s collapse.

Brody had many thousands of Jews before the Holocaust; most were murdered. No Jews live there today.

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