Synagogue of Krnov Renewed to Its Original Form Only a few sights remain to remind us of the history and traditions of the Jewish community in this region, and none so intensely as the recently renewed Synagogue of Krnov. As a matter of fact, it could be seen as a miracle that a synagogue in a town like Krnov actually survived the Nazi occupation and continues to exist -- a miracle which might be due to the local Jewish population removing all symbols of their faith from the sanctuary in time. When the occupying Germans needed a room to run the town market, they unwittingly chose the synagogue. The synagogue also escaped pogroms, another miracle in a German town, which Krnov basically was at that time. At the time, both German and Czech news outlets reported that the synagogue had burnt down, but this was misinformed: it was not the synagogue but the Ceremonial Hall at the Jewish Cemetery in another part of the town that was destroyed. Thus, through luck and clever thinking, the synagogue remains. The Neo-Romanesque building with Moorish-style interiors is still worth adoration, probably more than ever now that it has been restored to look like it did in 1871, when it was originally finished.
A visitor can once again find symbols of the faith there. Writing in Hebrew, once painted over, has been uncovered and restored, as well. When searching for original furnishing, even the original organ, constructed by the local (yet worldfamous) company Rieger-Kloss, was found. Representatives of the producer discovered the instrument in a Catholic church in the Polish town of Koszarawa. However, the organ will not be brought back to Krnov as the Polish parish legally bought the instrument in 1938. In 2006, an original Torah scroll, rescued by local Jews in 1938, was found in a synagogue in Jerusalem.
Searching for the roots of Judaism in Krnov, let me mention the local Jewish cemetery. It is in another part of the city, a fair distance from the synagogue. The deserted cemetery, situated amongst gardens and houses at the edge of town in the direction of Opava, is open to the public. The lonely cemetery certainly completes the picture of what Krnov and the area around Osoblaha to Ostrava inhabited by the Jewish population used to be, and how this population contributed to developments in the region. The synagogue and cemetery in Krnov commemorate the Jewish community in the town and region.
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