Corto plazo
OH-H07 ALEMANIA Region: Saxony-Anhalt RENO/CULT 15/08/2021 28/08/2021

Heritage Volunteers Projects
Buildings and Monuments
Former synagogue of Halberstadt

RENO/CULT 15.08. – 28.08.2021 OH-H07
Conservation of historic plasters
& heritage documentation
shared bed-rooms in simple accommodation,
basic services available,
LOCATION: Next towns: Magdeburg (55 km)
Region: Saxony-Anhalt
Next railway/bus station: Halberstadt (2 km)
Next airport:
Halle/Leipzig (LEJ, 121 km)
AGE: at least 18
FEE: 120 €.
Motivation letter related to the project
and CV + photo required

Situated at the foot of the Harz Mountains Halberstadt is a town adorned by beautiful religious
architecture and traditional timber constructions. It is also well known as being the seat of a historical
Jewish community which had an important role in moulding a distinct Jewish culture in Germany.
In 1712, a splendid Baroque synagogue, built by the Court Jew Berend Lehmann, was inaugurated.
Hidden from view behind the buildings of the streets Bakenstraße and Judenstraße, the cupola of the
synagogue surmounted the height of those buildings twice. The synagogue building was the first one in
Germany built following a defined architectural concept. At the end of the 19th century, the
entrepreneurial Hirsch family decided to invest in the modernisation of the building, extending it by
erecting an entrance hall. During the “Night of Broken Glass” – the Pogrom Night – on November, 9th
1938, the synagogue was plundered, and all Torah scrolls were burnt in the street. On November, 18th
the building inspection ordered the demolition of the synagogue. The Jewish community of Halberstadt
had to bear costs of the demolition. The only remaining wall which still stands till today is the outer wall
of the entrance hall. Of the rest of the structure, only the foundations and the flouring remain; not a
single object from the splendid interior is preserved.
The building complex where the ruins are located is nowadays housing the Moses Mendelssohn
Academy with the Berend Lehman Museum. Following its traditional purpose, the ensemble became a
seat of study and science again in 1998, a place of encounter and exchange for Judaic knowledge. The
area where the synagogue had been formerly located is now a place of remembrance, where an art
installation by Olaf Wegewitz stands as a reminder of the destroyed place of prayer.


Heritage Volunteers Projects
Buildings and Monuments
Former synagogue of Halberstadt
To access the remaining walls of the synagogue one has to pass through the gateway of the former
Cantor’s House in Bakenstraße 56, where a traditional mikveh, a Jewish ritual bath, has been uncovered
on its basement. Translated from the Hebrew, mikveh means "accumulation of water". A mikveh was
used to purify people or religious objects through a ritualistic bath before partaking in religious activities
such as the Sabbath, before important festivities or to prepare people before or after yearly cycles.
The project consists of two parts – a practical working part which will last 6 hours per day and a
study part, which takes place in the evenings and during weekends.
the European Heritage Training Course will be focusing on the documentation and conservation of the
remaining ruins of the Baroque synagogue which was destroyed in 1938 and on the recently discovered
The main focus of the Training Course will lie on conservation interventions at the remaining outer wall
of the entrance hall of the former synagogue. After having removed vegetation which could potentially
continue to harm the stability of the construction, a detailed documentation of the wall as it stands will
be carried out. Afterwards, the loose stones at the upper part of the wall will be re-set in place, the
cracks will be closed and the untightened parts of the plaster will be fixed again onto the wall. The
interventions will include the preparation of the needed mortars and plasters in accordance to the
historically used ones so that the participants will be taught the complete process of fixation,
conservation, preparation and restoration of historic plasters. This part of the Training Course will be
led by a conservator-restorer with long-years of specialisation in the restoration of wall paintings,
stucco and plaster.
In parallel, the detailed documentation of heritage sites including the documentation of their state of
conservation will be practised. Beside the mentioned documentation of the plasters at the remaining
outer wall of entrance hall of the former synagogue, this part of the Training Course will also include a
detailed documentation of the layers of paints and the ornaments which are still visible on this wall in
order to lay the documentary grounds for their future conservation and restoration. Additionally, the
documentation will be extended to the other remnants of the synagogue in order to accomplish a
complete overview of the existing historical ruins. Finally, a thorough documentation of the mikveh found
on Bakenstraße 56 will be undertaken, which will assist in the interpretation process of the mikveh as
a part of the Jewish history of Halberstadt. This part of the Training Course will be led by an architect
with additional education in heritage.