Jewish Journal

Lost Jewish Cities Found and Put Back on the Map

by Ruth Ellen Gruber

July 24, 2012 | 1:00 pm

Replica of the Neolog synagogue in Bratislava, centerpiece of the Lost City project, by the highway overpass. Photo (c) Ruth Ellen Gruber

I’m already posted on this blog about the new ITunes app called Oshpitzin that uses smart phone technology to teach and tour pre-WW2 Jewish Oswiecim—the town where Auschwitz was built—which before the Holocaust was a majority Jewish town.

In this JTA story I write about how this project and the Lost City project in Bratislava—which puts back on the map the old Jewish quarter of the Slovak capital, which was utterly demolished by the Communist authorities in the late 1960s to built a new highway and bridge across the Danube. Centerpiece of the Lost City project is a replica of the destroyed Neolog synagogue, on the spot where it really did once stand.

In Poland and Slovakia, restoring awareness of a forgotten Jewish past

By Ruth Ellen Gruber · July 23, 2012

KRAKOW, Poland (JTA)—Thanks to a new iTunes app, new tourist routes and a towering replica of a destroyed synagogue, two “lost” Jewish cities in Europe are back on the map.

One is the historic Jewish quarter of Bratislava, the Slovak capital, which survived World War II only to be demolished by communist authorities in the late 1960s. The other is Oshpitzin—the prewar Yiddish name for Oswiecim, the once mainly Jewish town in southern Poland where the Auschwitz death camp was built.

The two projects differ in scope and structure, but their goals are the same: to restore awareness of the forgotten Jewish past in an effort to foster a better understanding of the present—for tourists and the locals.

Read full story here


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The award-winning American writer Ruth Ellen Gruber has chronicled contemporary Jewish developments in Europe for more than two decades. As the author of National Geographic...

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