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Use our multimedia maps, and explore the family pictures, archival material, and personal stories of 21 Jewish Holocaust survivors to get a unique insight into the rich Jewish heritage of these two European cities.
At first sight, the two-story building on Synagogue Street Nr. 18 looks quite unremarkable. But if you look closer, you will see two Stars of David on the metal bars of the entrance door: the Stars contain two letters of the Hebrew alphabet: “mem” and “shin” – the initials of the Jewish charitable association “Machsike Shabbat”, which used to own the building.
The organization was formed in 1894 to support poor members of the Jewish community. It provided a warm meal for poor people on Fridays and Saturdays, when Jews were celebrating Shabbat. “Machsike Shabbat” took care of local homeless, poor patients of the Jewish hospital etc. The association also provided kosher food for Jewish soldiers and prison. The organization was mostly financed by donations from individuals, and support from the Jewish community as well as from the International Jewish Distribution Committee “Joint”.
Machsike Shabbat was under the auspices of the Orthodox Rabbi. After renting a room on Synagogue Street, Machsike Shabbat managed to finance its own building in 1928 – with a canteen, a warming room for cold seasons, administrative rooms, and a hall for meetings.
The organization existed until the Soviet occupation in 1940. Then the building was nationalized – like other Jewish institutions. When the Jewish ghetto was established in 1941, the building was used to provide temporary accommodation for countless Jewish citizens. After World War II this building was used by the Soviet authorities. Until today, the building is used by a state institution.