Up until the 1930s there was a thriving Jewish community in the German city of Breslau which is now located in Poland with the new name of Wroclaw. The city had several synagogues serving the different Jewish communities in the city.
One of the synagogues was the White Stork Synagogue which served the more conservative Jews of the city. The synagogue was opened in 1829 and it was designed by Carl Ferdinand Langhans which was the most prominent architect of Silesia during this period and the most prominent designer of theaters in Germany as well.
The original synagogue had a splendid interior. This interior was lost during the Night of Broken Glass when the Nazi SA storm troopers raided the synagogue and destroyed the symbols of the Jewish religion. Fortunately the synagogue wasn’t burned to the ground – this is what happened to the New Synagogue of Breslau which was used by the liberal Jewish community of Breslau.
The only reason the White Stork Synagogue wasn’t destroyed were the location. The Synagogue was located right next to other buildings and the raiders were afraid the neighbors would catch fire if they burned down the synagogue. Therefore this is the only surviving synagogue of the city.
The White Stork Synagogue was restored by the Jewish community and it was now used by all Jews of the city up until 1943 when the Jews of the city was rounded up and sent to extermination camps. The courtyard of the synagogue was used as a collection point when they rounded up the Jews of the city.
After the end of the war the synagogue was given back to the Jewish community of the area. The community had been depleted during the war and the rest were not really welcome in Poland. The communist authorities harassed the few remaining Jews in the city. most of the Jews left Poland and there was no longer a Jewish community in Wroclaw – the Communist confiscated the synagogue and turned it over to the University of Wroclaw I 1974.
In 1995 the synagogue was bought by a private company and it was restored for a more than a decade. In 2010 it was finally returned to the tiny Jewish community of Wroclaw and once again there is an operating synagogue in the city.