Historical Synagogue (1904 – 1967)

The historical synagogue of the Jewish Congregation Adass Yisroel at 31 Artilleriestrasse (today 40 Tucholskystrasse), was inaugurated on September 9, 1904. The ceremony was accompanied by the carrying of Torah scrolls through the streets of the »Spandauer Vorstadt« (Gipstrasse, Auguststrasse, Artilleriestrasse).

»Us children were allowed to join in and have a place to stand in the gleaming new synagogue. Even today I can still picture it, how Dr. Berliner went up the marble steps to the Aron Hakodesh (the Torah shrine), and lit the Ner-Tamid (the everlasting light). Despite his small stature and modest build, he appeared to us as the absolute personification of dignity. You could tell just by looking at his face how happy and proud he was that Adass Yisroel could now call the most splendid Synagogue in the whole of Germany their own.«

(Dr. Jacob Levy, school physician of Adass Yisroel)

Interior of the synagogue Adass Yisroel in Artilleriestraße 31 (destroyed)’

The synagogue was inaugurated on September 9, 1904. The ceremony was accompanied by the carrying of Torah scrolls through the streets of the »Spandauer Vorstadt«

Front view of the destroyed synagoge of Adass Yisroel.

Despite the destruction of the synagogue during Reichspogromnacht from November 9th to 10th 1939 and bombardments during the Second World War, approx. 60 – 70% of the building structure of the synagogue was preserved. Despite this, the GDR government decided to destroy the synagogue, which was inaugurated in 1907 and equipped with 800 seats, in 1967.

The synagogue had space for 450 men and 350 women, plus rooms for the rabbis and cantors. It consisted of two levels: the area for men was on the ground floor and an entrance on each side of the building, while the women’s area was located on the upper floor. The central aisle contained a turret. The total height of the synagogue was 23 metres. The Torah shrine, which was also covered by a dome, was furnished with a fire-resistant arch; the »bima« or chambers for the reading of the Torah were located on the upper floor, in the centre of the room. The side of the synagogue facing the Orient had a façade of resplendent marble. The synagogue was

»an intimate, festive place of worship; a »jewel box«, as the women of Adass Yisroel named it«.

(Max Sinasohn, former School Director of Adass Yisroel)

In the front building, spread across three floors, were the facilities of the Berlin Rabbinical Seminary, seminar rooms, reading rooms, a library, and private rooms for lecturers and rabbis. In the ground floor (on the left side) were the offices and conference rooms of the Congregation, while on the right-hand side were the swimming baths with mikwe-cubicles (religious soaking-baths), each of which contained a religious basin and bath.

Firewall with outlines of the destroyed synagogue | 1986

On the wall of the house that borders the second courtyard of the Adass Yisroel community center in the east, the firewall of the synagogue, which was completely demolished in 1967, can be seen

© Archive Adass Jisroel