Austria's oldest shul? It's a garage

By Toby Axelrod, July 3, 2014
Korneuburg's 15th century synagogue

Korneuburg's 15th century synagogue

A group of activists in the Austrian town of Korneuburg is trying to rescue what is likely to be their country's oldest remaining synagogue.

The 100 sq m stone building, built in the 14th century and last used as a synagogue before the pogroms in the 14th century, is currently used as garage.

It was declared a landmark in the late 1990s, according to a 2008 report in the Austrian Standard.

All that stands between the local activists and their dream is about $150,000, (£87,000) said a new member of the group, American Jewish teacher Jeff Kellner, who lives with his wife in the town of some 12,000 residents. The group has been trying for more than 25 years to secure enough cash to renovate the structure and open it to the public.

Mr Kellner said the current owner of the property did not know about its history when he bought it, and would be prepared to sell it.

The problem is finding a buyer. Neither the state nor Austria's Jewish community is in a position to shell out the money, although they would gladly work with the local committee if the property is secured.

Mr Kellner said that he had also asked for help from the New York-based World Monuments Fund.

Last updated: 12:19pm, July 7 2014