Wooden Synogogues of Poland

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Wooden Synagogues of Poland and Stories of Families from Poland

Jews have lived in Poland for more than 1,000 years. About 80% of the American Jewish community has origins in Poland. That is not surprising, as we know this was the center of the European Jewish world with more than 3 million Jews before the Holocaust. Since so many Jews have a family history from Polish shtetls, this is a unique and enlightening exhibit for every community.

For 400 years prior to World War II, the Jews of the shtetls built approximately 1,000 wooden synagogues, because timber was plentiful. During World War II, the Nazis wiped out the Jewish population and destroyed these beautiful early 17th & 18th century wooden synagogues that were monuments of Jewish culture. These structures represent a style of folk architecture that is unique to the Jews and they were actually built by Jewish craftsmen.

Englishman Peter Maurice crafted ten models of these 17th & 18th century Polish wooden synagogues and donated his handiwork to the Jewish Museum of Florida. These detailed models evoke memories of our heritage. When you look at them, you can almost hear the davening (praying) from within the walls and recall the pain of suffering of all Eastern European Jews from the period of the Holocaust when these structures were destroyed.

The synagogue models help tell an expanded story of Jews who came (or whose ancestors came) from Poland to the United States and Florida. The exhibit can be expanded to add family stories of any community.

Villages represented by synagogue models:

Glinne Gombin
Gwozdziec Kornik
Lutomiersk Narowla Pilica
Przedborz Wysokie Mazowieckie



  • 10 models (1 with case & stand, 1 with case & wall hangers)
  • 1 intro panel & 2 history panels
  • 9 maps
  • 40 village descriptions & headers
  • Numerous photos showing & telling the story of village life
  • 37 family text panels
  • All captions

Docent & Teachers manuals and press packet also available.

SPACE REQUIREMENTS: 150 to 175 linear feet

RENTAL FEE: $ 6,000 for 4 months plus two-way shipping

INSURANCE VALUE: $ 50,000 evidence of insurance required


CONTACT: Susan Gladstone, Executive Director, 786-972-3162 or sgladsto@fiu.edu

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