With my friends Sabine and Ingo I am walking through the old Jewish quarter of Chernivtsi (Czernowitz) today. One of the most important cultural monuments there is the “Groisse Shil”, a synagogue dating from the mid 19th Century. The building is now used as a carpenter’s workshop. Although the original purpose of the building is hardly to imagine from inside, fragments of the original ceiling paintings are still visible. I want to show them to my friends. What we discover is incredible: Recently uncovered wall paintings with motifs from the bible.
One enteres the carpenter’s workshop of the “Groisse Shil” through the back entrance of the building. The room is filled with dust and noise. I ask a worker if we could see the remains of the painted ceiling on the mezzanine floor. The worker points to the end of the stairs, shaking his head. The stairs are blocked. Apparently they have rented the mezzanine to another company. Then he points to the end of the workshop. We should go there, he says. We think that there is a new staircase to the top, but we’re wrong. We enter a small room – and then we wonder. We see freshly uncovered wall paintings. Jerusalem, the Wailing Wall, a lion, a deer, a praying person. The paintings are beautiful.
In the small room obviously works are going on. We see tools and paint buckets. What will happen to these murals? Will they be maintained and made accessible? From what era are they? I know nothing about it, but need to find out more during the next days.
Update, August 14 2013 – latest informations from the local Jewish Museum
The wall paintings were discovered about three monthes ago. The renewed room will be an office but the wall paintings will be preserved and will be accessible for the public through guided tours of the Jewish museum. The murals consist of two layers from different periods. The dominant ones were painted by Isaac Eisicowicz who had a shop in the same street. The Jewish Museum is preparing a photo exhibition about wall paintings in synagoues of Bukovina, including pictures from the Ukrainian part as well as from the Romanian part.
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