The Forgotten Windows of Bikur Cholim Synagogue

On September 20th, 2018, Bardejov Jewish Preservation Committee, in cooperation with the Youth Parliament of Bardejov and UZZNO, organized a unique event to clean the windows of the Chevra Bikur Cholim synagogue.

This important building, which served Bardejov’s Jewish community since 1929, has remained in its original state since then. It is located on Kláštorská Street in Bardejov. Cyril Bogol, a local Bardejov citizen, and his wife have been the caretakers since 2006, when Mr. Spira—the last Jew in Bardejov and the caretaker of the Synagogue—passed away.

The initiative to voluntarily clean the windows of Bikur Cholim came from the students of Bardejov’s “Private High School”, the chairman of the Young Parliament Jakub Boruv and his colleague Bianka Térjeková. When touring Bikur Cholim Synagogue with their school they noticed the condition of this remarkable monument and the need to improve the state of the synagogue. This was even more apparent after they visited the beautifully restored old synagogue.

Immediately after the Jewish Holiday of Yom Kippur (September 20, 2018), twenty two students arrived at the synagogue, rolled up their sleeves and cleaned the windows as well as the interior of the synagogue.

Two weeks after the event, all the volunteers were invited to attend a lecture that took place in the synagogue. During the lecture, the students learned more about the life and traditions of Bardejov’s Jewish Community and also about Kristallnacht, when the windows of 267 synagogues and 7,000 storefronts of Jewish shops were broken in Germany, Austria and the Sudetenland three weeks after the High Holidays of 1938.

Indeed it was especially symbolic that Bardejov students chose to clean the synagogue’s windows, an act which was the actual opposite of the horrors of Kristallnacht. This younger generation is the hope that the events of Kristallnacht and the Holocaust will never be repeated.

Click here to view photos of the event taken by Patrik Kokinda