Former Wadowice synagogue
ul. Gimnazjalna 10, 34-100 Wadowice
Tourist region: Beskid Mały i Makowski
The synagogue in the style of modern western synagogues was built in the years 1885–1889 according to the design of Karol Korn, an outstanding architect from Bielsko. It was erected with donations from the faithful, a bank loan was also taken, which was repaid until 1918.
It was an enormous, tall, eclectic-style building, erected on the plan of the letter T, crowned with an ornate dome decorated with the tablets of the Decalogue. High pseudo-gothic windows had semicircular finials. The synagogue with a large courtyard was surrounded by an openwork fence with brick posts.
The interior design was simple and elegant, with no murals, only the ceiling was painted with stars. Next to the Aron Kodesh there was a marble and ebony bimah. The project included a gallery for women and a place for an organ, but after the arrival of the Orthodox Jews in the city, the entrance to the gallery was bricked up. The synagogue could seat (both sitting and standing) several hundred people at once.
Born in the city, Karol Wojtyła grew up in an atmosphere of two cultures and two religions. He had Jews among his school friends, and one of them, Jerzy Kluger, was a close friend of the young Karol, who in 1937 was invited by Jurek's father to the synagogue for a concert by cantor Dawid Kusewicki. It was probably the first time that a future pope had entered a temple of another religion.
In 1939, the Germans burned down the synagogue, in 1940 they blew up the ruins, and later the remains were dismantled.
In the 1950s, a kindergarten was built on the site of the synagogue. In 1989, a Polish-Hebrew plaque commemorating the Jewish community of Wadowice was placed on its wall.