St. Pölten, Lower Austria (the art of historic religious buildings not far away from the old center of Pölten), Sinagoga, Synagogue, Synagoga, Synagoge (Doktor-Karl-Renner-Promenade)

(further information and pictures are available by clicking on the link at the end of section and of page!)

Synagogue St. Pölten
Exterior of the former St. Pölten Synagogue
The St. Pölten Synagogue was up to the November pogroms in 1938 the main synagogue of the Jewish Community of St. Pölten. The In the years 1912 to 1913 by the architects Theodor Schreier and Viktor Postelberg built Art Nouveau synagogue is located in the Dr. Karl Renner Promenade in St. Pölten and is now the headquarters of the Institute for Jewish History in Austria.
The old synagogue, which was demolished in favor of the new one
The first prayer rooms of in 1863 founded Jewish Community of St. Pölten were located in the premises of the former Kattunmanufaktur (cotton manufactory), the later Gasser factory at school ring. A building of this factory was adapted between 1885 and 1890 as a synagogue. This adaptation was associated with considerable effort, which is why the members of the Jewish community already since 1888 endeavoured to get a new building, until 1903 but this was rejected by the township. At this time, a redesign of the promenade was planned, which was only possible by demolition of the in the street course standing synagogue. After lengthy preparations, a preparatory committee was elected in April 1907, which in addition to building site and plans the necessary financing should provide.
1911, a building committee was chosen and agreed with the community a real estate exchange. At the architectural competition, which was tendered in the same year, participated among others Jacob Modern, Jacob Gartner, Ignaz Reiser and Theodor Schreier. The latter was together with his partner Viktor Postelberg by the Committee commissioned another project for a temple with room for 220 men and 150 women to submitt, which was then realized. The conditions for the planning work developed Rudolf Frass. The necessary funds were raised through collections and appeals for donations throughout the country, so that could be started with the construction in June 1912. The gilding works were carried out by Ferdinand Andri. After little more than a year of construction and 141 390 crowns total investment, the synagoge on 17 August 1913 was solemnly consecrated.
On the night of 9th to the 10th November 1938 invaded several SS and SA members the rooms of the synagogue, smashed windows and set fire. The that night caused damage was limited, as the fire could be extinguished relatively quickly. On the following morning 300 to 400 people gathered, some in civilian clothes, in front of the building. They moved with the singing of political songs in the sacred spaces and destroyed them completely. The windows were broken, Torah scrolls, Torah shrine, benches and images burned. Even water pipes and door posts were torn from the walls. The books of the extensive library were largely thrown on the road and burned. Some people climbed the dome and tore the Star of David of the roof .
Almost all of the movable property of the Jewish community was destroyed or stolen . A limited set of books were placed in the city archives, the City Museum there’s still a donation box and a painting of Emperor Franz Josef, which hung in the entrance area. A single prayer book is since 1998 owned again by the Jewish Community.
In the following years the side rooms of the building of the SA were used as an office, the interior was used among other things as furniture warehouse. 1942, the synagogue became the property of the city of St. Pölten, which used it as a detention center for Russian forced laborers. In last fightings and bombings in 1945 the building was further damaged.
The Red Army used the former synagogue as a grain storage until it was in 1947 returned to the city. The application of restitution was recognized in 1952 by the city council, which then returned the synagogue to the Jewish Community Vienna. In the following years, the former house of God continued to decay as after the Holocaust no Jewish community in St. Pölten could establish. The domed roof showed severe damage, individual components were threatening to collapse completely and through the boarded windows came rain and snow into the by dovecotes populated house.
In 1975, the Jewish Community Vienna (IKG — Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Wien) offered the city of St. Pölten to purchase the synagogue, which did not accept the offer due to lack of uses. Then the Jewish Community Vienna wanted to initiate the demolition, but this was prevented by the fact that the Federal Monuments Office the building put under monument protection. Then it was renovated from 1980 to 1984. Here, for example, many wall paintings were recovered, on the other hand, some structural changes were made (especially removal of water basins for the ritual washing of the hands), since it was clear from the beginning that the building would not be used as a synagogue, but as an event center.
Since 1988 in the premises of the former synagogue the Institute for Jewish History of Austria is located, further regular events are realized. The original function the synagoge never could fulfill again, as too few Jews returned after the Holocaust to St. Pölten.
On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the synagogue the City Museum in St. Pölten 2013/14 the building dedicates its own special exhibition. In doing so there is also shown a recently found photo of the interior before the destruction. It is also pointed out that the synagogue due to lack of funding already again is abandoned to a certain decay.
The St. Pölten rabbi
Interior of the synagogue with part of the dome ceiling, in the center of the former shrine
Name Period of office
Moritz Tintner 1863-1869
Adolf Kurrein 1873-1876
Samuel Marcus 1876-1878
Adolf Hahn 1878-1882
Jacob Reiss 1882-1889
Bernhard Zimmels 1889-1891
Leopold Weinsberg 1891-1897
Adolf Schächter 1897-1934
Arnold Frankfurt 1934-1936
Manfred Papo 1936-1938
Building description
The dominant element of the synagogue is the octagonal, completed by a large dome main building, to which the eastern and western side wings are attached. Connected to the synagogue is the former school building in Lederergasse 12.
Main tract
The main tract houses the former sanctuary. The facade is divided into a low ground floor, high upper floor and the dome. At the facade facing the street can be found in the two storeys each three windows, that are executed on the ground floor as low segmental arch windows with above running continuously cordon cornice. The windows on the upper floor, however, are high, rectangular windows, the space between them is divided by pilasters. The original stained glass windows were destroyed from 1938, today, clear glass can be found in the windows. Directly under the dome there is a large segment gable with representations of the Tablets of the Law, set in floral vines. Beneath it is written in Hebrew the text of Psalm 118, verse 19.
" פתחו לי שערי צדק אבא בם אודה יה "
"Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will enter and give thanks to God".
— Inscription under the law boards.
On the short, lateral oblique walls of the main building on the ground floor there are side entrances, in the transition to the dome there are embedded large oval windows.
Side wings
To the eastern side wing, which in comparison to the western tract is designed very narrowly, connects the former school building and was once home to the shrine. At the by segment gable and barrel roof completed tract can be found on the northern front in the upper floor a tall, rectangular window of the same type as that of the main wing. At the eastern side a round window is embedded, in the ground floor begins a connecting room to the school building.
The western side wing is identical to the east in the basic form, but it is significantly wider. In addition, in front of it there are entrance buildings. Both at the road side and on the opposite side between the main wing and the western annex are wide projecting semi-circular staircases, next to it can be found till half the height of the first upper floor each a buttress with two low windows. Road side, this buttress is preceded by a walk-in porch, which on three sides is open round-arched. The with triangular gable completed building ends in a concave enclosure, where a commemorative plaque is attached today. The west facade repeats the design of the main building, it can be found on the ground floor low segmental arch windows with above running continuously, jagged cordon cornice. On the first floor the windows are, however, significantly lower than in the main wing.
Former school building
The former school building has its main facade towards Lederergasse and there has the number 12. The road-side main facade of the two-storey building is divided into four axes. The window on the ground floor are round-arched disigned, the ones on the upper floor rectangularly. Between side wing of the synagogue and the main wing of the school building there is a tower-like, curved stairwell risalit up to the attic.

(further information is available by clicking on the link at the end of page!)
History of the City St. Pölten
In order to present concise history of the Lower Austrian capital is in the shop of the city museum a richly illustrated full version on CD-ROM.
On the occasion of the commemoration of the pogroms of November 1938, the Institute for Jewish History of Austria its virtual Memorbuch (Memory book) for the destroyed St. Pölten Jewish community since 10th November 2012 is putting online.
The time from which there is no written record is named after the main materials used for tools and weapons: Stone Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age. Using the latest technologies, archaeologists from archaeological finds and aerial photographs can trace a fairly detailed picture of life at that time. Especially for the time from the settling down of the People (New Stone Age), now practicing agriculture and animal husbandry, in the territory of St. Pölten lively settlement activity can be proved. In particular, cemeteries are important for the research, because the dead were laid in the grave everyday objects and jewelry, the forms of burial changing over time — which in turn gives the archeology valuable clues for the temporal determination. At the same time, prehistory of Sankt Pölten would not be half as good documented without the construction of the expressway S33 and other large buildings, where millions of cubic meters of earth were moved — under the watchful eyes of the Federal Monuments Office!
A final primeval chapter characterized the Celts, who settled about 450 BC our area and in addition to a new culture and religion also brought with them the potter’s wheel. The kingdom of Noricum influenced till the penetration of the Romans the development in our area.
Roman period, migrations
The Romans conquered in 15 BC the Celtic Empire and established hereinafter the Roman province of Noricum. Borders were protected by military camp (forts), in the hinterland emerged civilian cities, almost all systematically laid out according to the same plan. The civil and commercial city Aelium Cetium, as St. Pölten was called (city law 121/122), consisted in the 4th Century already of heated stone houses, trade and craft originated thriving urban life, before the Romans in the first third of the 5th Century retreated to Italy.
The subsequent period went down as the Migration Period in official historiography, for which the settlement of the Sankt Pöltner downtown can not be proved. Cemeteries witness the residence of the Lombards in our area, later it was the Avars, extending their empire to the Enns.
The recent archaeological excavations on the Cathedral Square 2010/2011, in fact, the previous knowledge of St.Pölten colonization not have turned upside down but enriched by many details, whose full analysis and publication are expected in the near future.
Middle Ages
With the submission of the Avars by Charlemagne around 800 AD Christianity was gaining a foothold, the Bavarian Benedictine monastery of Tegernsee establishing a daughter house here — as founder are mentioned the brothers Adalbert and Ottokar — equipped with the relics of St. Hippolytus. The name St. Ypolit over the centuries should turn into Sankt Pölten. After the Hungarian wars and the resettlement of the monastery as Canons Regular of St. Augustine under the influence of Passau St. Pölten received mid-11th Century market rights.
In the second half of the 20th century historians stated that records in which the rights of citizens were held were to be qualified as Town Charters. Vienna is indeed already in 1137 as a city ("civitas") mentioned in a document, but the oldest Viennese city charter dates only from the year 1221, while the Bishop of Passau, Konrad, already in 1159 the St. Pöltnern secured:
A St. Pöltner citizen who has to answer to the court, has the right to make use of an "advocate".
He must not be forced to rid himself of the accusation by a judgment of God.
A St. Pöltner citizen may be convicted only by statements of fellow citizens, not by strangers.
From the 13th Century exercised a city judge appointed by the lord of the city the high and low jurisdiction as chairman of the council meetings and the Municipal Court, Inner and Outer Council supported him during the finding of justice. Venue for the public verdict was the in the 13th Century created new marketplace, the "Broad Market", now the town hall square. Originally square-shaped, it was only later to a rectangle reduced. Around it arose the market district, which together with the monastery district, the wood district and the Ledererviertel (quarter of the leather goods manufacturer) was protected by a double city wall.
The dependence of St. Pölten of the bishop of Passau is shown in the municipal coat of arms and the city seal. Based on the emblem of the heraldic animal of the Lord of the city, so the Bishop of Passau, it shows an upright standing wolf holding a crosier in its paw.
Modern Times
In the course of the armed conflict between the Emperor Frederick III . and King Matthias of Hungary pledged the Bishop of Passau the town on the Hungarian king. From 1485 stood Lower Austria as a whole under Hungarian rule. The most important document of this period is the awarding of the city coat of arms by King Matthias Corvinus in the year 1487. After the death of the opponents 1490 and 1493 could Frederick’s son Maximilian reconquer Lower Austria. He considered St. Pölten as spoils of war and had no intention of returning it to the diocese of Passau. The city government has often been leased subsequently, for instance, to the family Wellenstein, and later to the families Trautson and Auersperg.
That St. Pölten now was a princely city, found its expression in the coat of arms letter of the King Ferdinand I. from 1538: From now on, the wolf had no crosier anymore, and the from the viewer’s point of view left half showed the reverse Austrian shield, so silver-red-silver.
To the 16th Century also goes back the construction of St. Pöltner City Hall. The 1503 by judge and council acquired house was subsequently expanded, rebuilt, extended and provided with a tower.
A for the urban history research important picture, painted in 1623, has captured scenes of the peasant uprising of 1597, but also allows a view to the city and lets the viewer read some of the details of the then state of construction. The economic inconveniences of that time were only exacerbated by the Thirty Years War, at the end of which a fifth of the houses were uninhabited and the citizenry was impoverished.
After the successful defense against the Turks in 1683, the economy started to recover and a significant building boom began. Lower Austria turned into the land of the baroque abbeys and monasteries, as it is familiar to us today.
In St. Pölten, the change of the cityscape is closely connected to the Baroque architect Jakob Prandtauer. In addition to the Baroquisation of the interior of the cathedral, a number of buildings in St. Pölten go to his account, so the reconstruction of the castle Ochsenburg, the erection of the Schwaighof and of the core building of the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Englische Fräuleins — English Maidens) — from 1706 the seat of the first school order of St.Pölten — as well as of several bourgeois houses.
Joseph Munggenast, nephew and co-worker of Prandtauer, completed the Baroquisation of the cathedral, he baroquised the facade of the town hall (1727) and numerous bourgeois houses and designed a bridge over the Traisen which existed until 1907. In the decoration of the church buildings were throughout Tyroleans collaborating, which Jakob Prandtauer had brought along from his homeland (Tyrol) to St. Pölten, for example, Paul Troger and Peter Widerin.
Maria Theresa and her son Joseph II: Their reforms in the city of the 18th Century also left a significant mark. School foundings as a result of compulsory education, the dissolution of the monasteries and hereinafter — from 1785 — the new role of St. Pölten as a bishop’s seat are consequences of their policies.
1785 was also the year of a fundamental alteration of the old Council Constitution: The city judge was replaced by one magistrate consisting of five persons, at the head was a mayor. For the first mayor the painter Josef Hackl was chosen.
The 19th century
Despite the Napoleonic Wars — St. Pölten in 1805 and 1809 was occupied by the French — and despite the state bankruptcy of 1811, increased the number of businesses constantly, although the economic importance of the city for the time being did not go beyond the near vicinity.
Against the background of monitoring by the state secret police, which prevented any political commitment between the Congress of Vienna and the 1848 revolution, the citizens withdrew into private life. Sense of family, fostering of domestic music, prominent salon societies in which even a Franz Schubert socialized, or the construction of the city theater were visible signs of this attitude.
The economic upswing of the city did not begin until after the revolution of the year 1848. A prerequisite for this was the construction of the Empress Elisabeth Western Railway, moving Vienna, Linz, soon Salzburg, too, in a reachable distance. The city walls were pulled down, St. Pölten could unfold. The convenient traffic situation favored factory start-ups, and so arose a lace factory, a revolver factory, a soap factory or, for example, as a precursor of a future large-scale enterprise, the braid, ribbon and Strickgarnerzeugung (knitting yarn production) of Matthias Salcher in Harland.
In other areas, too, the Gründerzeit (years of rapid industrial expansion in Germany — and Austria) in Sankt Pölten was honouring its name: The city got schools, a hospital, gas lanterns, canalization, hot springs and summer bath.
The 20th century
At the beginning of the 20th Century the city experienced another burst of development, initiated by the construction of the power station in 1903, because electricity was the prerequisite for the settlement of large companies. In particular, the companies Voith and Glanzstoff and the main workshop of the Federal Railways attracted many workers. New Traisen bridge, tram, Mariazell Railway and other infrastructure buildings were erected; St. Pölten obtained a synagogue. The Art Nouveau made it repeatedly into the urban architecture — just think of the Olbrich House — and inspired also the painting, as exponents worth to be mentioned are Ernst Stöhr or Ferdinand Andri.
What the outbreak of the First World War in broad outlines meant for the monarchy, on a smaller scale also St. Pölten has felt. The city was heavily impacted by the deployment of army units, a POW camp, a military hospital and a sick bay. Industrial enterprises were partly converted into war production, partly closed. Unemployment, housing emergency and food shortages long after the war still were felt painfully.
The 1919 to mayor elected Social Democrat Hubert Schnofl after the war tried to raise the standard of living of the people by improving the social welfare and health care. The founding of a housing cooperative (Wohnungsgenossenschaft), the construction of the water line and the establishment of new factories were further attempts to stimulate the stiffening economy whose descent could not be stopped until 1932.
After the National Socialist regime had stirred false hopes and plunged the world into war, St. Pölten was no longer the city as it has been before. Not only the ten devastating bombings of the last year of the war had left its marks, also the restrictive persecution of Jews and political dissidents had torn holes in the structure of the population. Ten years of Russian occupation subsequently did the rest to traumatize the population, but at this time arose from the ruins a more modern St. Pölten, with the new Traisen bridge, district heating, schools.
This trend continued, an era of recovery and modernization made the economic miracle palpable. Already in 1972 was — even if largely as a result of incorporations — exceeded the 50.000-inhabitant-limit.
Elevation to capital status (capital of Lower Austria), 10 July 1986: No other event in this dimension could have become the booster detonation of an up to now ongoing development thrust. Since then in a big way new residential and commercial areas were opened up, built infrastructure constructions, schools and universities brought into being to enrich the educational landscape. East of the Old Town arose the governmental and cultural district, and the list of architects wears sonorous names such as Ernst Hoffmann (NÖ (Lower Austria) Landhaus; Klangturm), Klaus Kada (Festspielhaus), Hans Hollein (Shedhalle and Lower Austrian Provincial Museum), Karin Bily, Paul Katzberger and Michael Loudon ( NÖ State Library and NÖ State Archive).
European Diploma, European flag, badge of honor, Europe Price: Between 1996 and 2001, received St. Pölten numerous appreciations of its EU commitment — as a sort of recognition of the Council of Europe for the dissemination of the EU-idea through international town twinnings, a major Europe exhibition or, for example, the establishment and chair of the "Network of European medium-sized cities".
On the way into the 21st century
Just now happened and already history: What the St. Pöltnern as just experienced sticks in their minds, travelers and newcomers within a short time should be told. The theater and the hospital handing over to the province of Lower Austria, a new mayor always on the go, who was able to earn since 2004 already numerous laurels (Tags: polytechnic, downtown enhancement, building lease scheme, bus concept) — all the recent changes are just now condensed into spoken and written language in order to make, from now on, the history of the young provincial capital in the 3rd millennium nachlesbar (checkable).

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