“The Synagogue and its Community”

Permanent exhibition

    This permanent exhibition was created with the institution’s overall guiding principles in mind: history (Geschichte) – remembrance (Gedenken) – present (Gegenwart). Arranged around the women’s gallery on the first floor, it tells the story of the construction, destruction and two subsequent renovations of the synagogue, but also community life around the synagogue and the fate of the Jewish people who worshipped here. Objects, photographs and documents provide a thematic overview, while interactive media stations offer more detailed information.

    Only objects that originally belonged to the Jewish community in St. Pölten are on display. However, few items survived the Nazi looting, among them a donation box with Hebrew initials. Media stations provide insight into the construction of the synagogue, religious ceremonies, the involvement of women, the activities of the youth association, as well as anti-Semitism and the community’s annihilation, while interviews with survivors and letters written shortly before deportation bring personal stories to life.

    The installation “Wunden und Leerstellen” (Wounds and empty spaces) vividly evokes both the destruction caused by the pogroms of 10 November 1938 and the damage wrought by the – in some cases insensitive – renovation of the building between 1980 and 1984. Each month, the installation “Jahrzeit” honours one of the 321 Holocaust victims from St. Pölten and the surrounding area and commemorates the date of their death or deportation. Small objects and a video convey the strong connection that many descendants of expelled Jewish families have established with the former synagogue.

    Curated by Martha Keil, based on research conducted by the Institute for Jewish History in Austria (Injoest)
    Design: Johann Moser, BWM Designers & Architects
    Display case construction: Holzmanufaktur Auer
    Graphic design: Gerhard Bauer
    Model: Dominikus Guggenberger
    Media design: Hermann Amon
    Project management: Heidrun Wenzel

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