Stories of the Synagogues brings closer to the general public the beauty of the synagogues from Reșita, Caransebeș, Lugoj, Timișoara and Arad, as well as the life stories of the members of the Jewish communities who built them and contributed to the prosperity of these cities.
The project connects, through a digital route, 8 synagogues in Banat and Crișana, allowing them to be explored from anywhere in the world. For each individual synagogue you will find a brief history, a description of the elements of architectural value that make it unique, virtual tours of their premises, photos and video materials.
The sinuous destiny of three generations of Jews can be discovered through more than 80 fragments of testimonies collected over a span of more than 20 years. Our website brings together stories about the coexistence between various ethnicities and religions, so particular to Banat, about the Jewish tradition, but also about the dark moments of history.
Through the stories of some members of the Jewish community you will learn more about consequences on everyday live of anti-Semitic laws, and about the persecutions perpetuated during the Second World War. The testimonies and the video documents talk about forced emigration and the melancholy after the times when the chants of the azans still resounded in the synagogues.
● testimonies collected through the oral history method by the Group of Cultural Anthropology and Oral History of Fundația "A Treia Europă" [Third Europe Foundation], under the coordination of PhD Smaranda Vultur, and published in the volume Memoria Salvată. Evreii din Banat, ieri și azi (Polirom Publishing House, Iași, 2002);
● testimonies collected by Getta Neumann from members of the Timișoara Jewish community who emigrated to Israel, France or to other countries, and gathered in the volume Destine evreiești la Timișoara. Portretul comunității din perioada interbelică până azi (Hasefer Publishing House, Bucharest, 2014);
● interviews conducted with the presidents of the Jewish communities in Reșita, Caransebeș, Lugoj, Timișoara and Arad, but also with other people who, in one way or another, take care of the memory of these communities and that of the synagogues.
We invite you to put together this puzzle of the Jewish communities in Banat and Crișana, to get to know better their past and current way of life. Perhaps, at some point, you will also want to visit the 8 synagogues whose stories we tried to convey in an accessible and vivid way.
By understanding the history and by allowing ourselves to be moved by the originality of each synagogue, we can preserve this built heritage and carry on the story of the communities who had such a decisive contribution to our collective identity.
Stories of the synagogues is an initiative of Asociața Pantograf, being a natural continuation of the "Sound of the Synagogues" and "Rhapsodies on Romanian Themes" projects, held in 2021, which brought together over 700 people to the concerts held in 5 synagogues in Banat and Crișana.
Asociația Pantograf was founded in 2010 by three professionals in cultural management and cultural diplomacy: Ioana Anghel, Raluca-Elena Doroftei and Ovidiu Dajbog-Miron. Our aim is to support the cultural and creative industries by developing diverse audiences from varying economic, social, ethnical and confessional backgrounds, and by supporting the artistic production and the international cultural exchange with Romania. We particularly promote those cultural products that excel through artistic innovation, and promote European democratic values.