Armed guards dressed in balaclavas descended on a Krakow synagogue on Monday morning, turfing worshippers out onto the street and chaining the entrance.
Jews were left to daven outside the Chabad-run Izaak Synagogue in the historic Polish city, in bizarre scenes captured on camera by residents.
Jewish worshippers, who preferred to remain anonymous, said the synagogue’s rent had been hiked by 1,000 percent, and that the dispute was currently subject to legal proceedings.
The synagogue is one of seven in the city owned by the Jewish Religious Congregation of Krakow, which is run by members of the same family.
“Izaak Synagogue is the main functioning synagogue,” said one Jewish resident. “If you were in Krakow and wanted to be in a minyan, this is where you’d be.”
They added that “the sight of armed and masked guards blocking the entrance to the shul was deeply upsetting… There is a 90-year old Holocaust survivor here, Dov Landau, and he was in tears at what happened. He said it reminded him of the horrors he experienced 80 years ago”.
The dispute, which is believed to involve Chabad and the Congregation, recently led to water and electricity to the synagogue being turned off, prompting the shul’s Rabbi Eliezer Gurary to buy a generator.
Both Rabbi Gurary and the Congregation have been approached for comment.
Edward Mosberg, a Krakow-born Holocaust Survivor, 93, who is involved with the case said “the Gmina Zydowski (Jewish Community) of Krakow, is cheating the real Jews of Krakow, they are stealing from the Jewish people. I was born and raised in Krakow and all my family were killed there.
“These people are crooks and the government needs to investigate them urgently, throwing Jews out of a synagogue is something that should never happen, especially by other Jews.”