Yiddish: Premishla, Premishle
The city is rich in historical monuments: the Catholic cathedral church of St John the Baptist (initially Gothic, 1460-1571), rebuilt in Baroque style (1724-1744) and partly remodelled (1883-1913); the Franciscan monastery (founded in 1235), with the Baroque church of St Mary-Magdalene (1754-1777), the altar contains sculptures by Piotr Polejowski (1716-1764); the former Jesuit monastery by Jacop Brian (1622); the college building containing the Diocesal Museum with a collection of sacral art; the monastery of Discalced Carmelites (1627-1630) with the Greek-Catholic cathedral (initially the church of St Theresa, functioning as cathedral from 1784 to 1945 and in the 1990s); the Reformed Franciscan Order monastery (founded in 1627) with St Anthony's church (1637-1645); the royal castle built in late Renaissance style (1612-1630), later remodelled, with the remains of a palatium and a pre-Romanesque chapel from the 10th-12th centuries; the remains of city walls; the palace of Greek-Catholic bishops from 1757, now containing the Museum of the Przemysl Region; the 19th-century Austrian fortifications: the gates, moats and ramparts; the Lubomirski palace in Bakonczyce (second half of 19th century); the Benedictine nuns cloister in Zasanie (founded in 1916) with the Holy Trinity church (1768-1777) and the defence wall with loop-holes (second half of 17th century), partly in ruin.
The Castel, photo: A.Olej&K. Kobus:
The first confirmed reports of Jews in Przemysl date from the turn of the 14th century, when they began to settle along the trade route to Lvov. In the Middle Ages Przemysl Jews were moneylenders and also made their living from handicraft and trade. In 1559 King Sigismund Augustus granted Jews the privilege of legal autonomy. When Przemysl was part of the Austrian Empire it became acentre of the Haskalah, which placed it in direct opposition to the numerous neighbouring centres of Chasidism. The proportion of Jews in the population of Przemysl at the beginning of the 20th century never exceeded about 30%.
on the internet
The texts presented here were originally published in the guide Where the Tailor Was a Poet...
, by Adam Dylewski (Pascal).
Przemysl, ul. Dworskiego, photo: A.Olej&K. Kobus:
In September 1939, Przemysl was divided by the German-Soviet border. The town centre found itself in the Soviet Union (in 1940 the Jews were exiled to deepest Russia) while the Zasanie district was now within the borders of the Nazi empire. After Germany attacked the Soviet Union, some of the Jews were deported to Belzec, while the rest were locked in the ghetto. The ghetto was dissolved in September 1943, although some Jews remained behind as part of aclearing-up brigade. In all 250 Jews survived the war but they all left soon after due to the conflict between Poland and Ukraine, as well as the general geopolitical situation.
Local monuments of Jewish culture are collected together in the National Museum of the Przemysl Region in ul. Czackiego. There is also a Jewish cemetery (on the same side, past the Catholic cemetery in ul. Slowackiego; the gate is open most of the time). As you enter the cemetery you will find graves dating from the 20th century. Further on there are also some much older ones.
The Szajnbach Synagogue
The larger and better preserved of the two remaining synagogue buildings is amemorial to the triumph of the Haskalah in Przemysl and this is how it got its former rather colloquial name, the Tempel.
The synagogue, photo: A.Olej&K. Kobus:
This place of worship is situated outside the Jewish quarter, to the south east of the old town. In 1960-1961 it was converted into a library. At the same time the wall paintings were obliterated and the stained-glass windows removed. Intermediary ceilings and walls were added, rendering impossible any attempt to give the building areligious feel or to use it for exhibition purposes. Only the exterior decor remains untouched, admirable for its late 19th-century pomposity.
At ul. Slowackiego 15, quite away down the street near the Slowackiego-Biblioteka bus-stop (buses # 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 12, 19, 24). The library is open Tuesday to Friday from 9am-7pm. On Saturdays 9am5pm. Closed on Sundays and Mondays.
The Synagogue in Zasanie
The second of the Przemysl synagogues also dates from the end of the 19th century. The Society for the Israelite House of Worship in Zasanie originally built the synagogue for the district on the left bank of the River San and it was eventually opened in 1909. It served the faithful for only thirty years, as that part of Przemysl fell under Nazi control as early as 1939. The occupiers turned it into atemporary power station, adding many ramshackle houses, some of which surround it to this day. After the war the synagogue was used as agarage, first for buses and then for ambulances. In 1994 attempts were made to put an art gallery here. So far, however, the building has remained wrecked, closed and abandoned.
Just past the bridge over the River San in Zasanie, at Plac Unii Brzeskiej 6 (alarge square opposite the Statoil filling station), not far from the Orthodox Church.
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