Königsberg, East Prussia

The Jewish community of Königsberg built their first synagogue in 1680 in the Tragheim district, which at that time was outside of the city. By the early 20th century, Königsberg had five synagogues. Pictured on the left is the grand New Synagogue on Lomse island, dedicated in August of 1896. It was destroyed during the destructive riots known as the Kristallnacht, or “the Night of Broken Glass”, targeting Jews throughout Nazi Germany on November 9-10 of 1938, and carried out by the Sturmabteilung paramilitary of the Nazi party and its supporters. 

The plan to rebuild the destroyed synagogue was announced in November of 2011 at a special ceremony by Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi David Shvedik, the Russian city’s chief rabbi. He estimated then  that it would take two years to build the new facility, including plans to add a school, nursery and community center to the completed structure.

However, they would first have to evict the current tenants: a local circus that occupied the very same spot that the New Synagogue had once stood, and getting them to leave took a lot longer than anticipated. The circus was offered as much as 400,000 to go, but they still said no. Eventually  a deal was reached and at last the rebuilding could begin.

 In June of 2016 the Federation of Jewish Communities in Russia (FJCR), the Russian Jewish Congress and businessman Vladimir Katzman signed a memorandum of cooperation on the construction. Katzman donated 5,000,000 euro's towards the project. The synagogue, which will be one of the largest in Russia, will operate under the FJCR. “Until this day, Russia had some kind of a “Jewish quarter” only in Moscow, in Maryina Roshcha district that has a large complex of buildings of the Jewish community. We plan to create something similar in organization and infrastructure in Kaliningrad,” FJCR President Alexander Boroda said.

Restored New Synagogue
The inauguration of the restored Königsberg's New Synagogue in Kaliningrad took place on Nov. 8, 2018, exactly 80 years after it was  destroyed  in the 1938 Kristallnacht pogroms.

Link to the official the official website dedicated to the construction of the New Synagogue of Königsberg.