Architect Franz Reschke’s Visit to Lviv

In October, 2011, the organizers of the International Architectural Competition for Jewish Memorial Sites in Lviv invited Franz Reschke, competition winner for the “Synagogues Square” subproject, to Lviv. The aim of this visit was a detailed presentation of his project and collecting information necessary for further planning.
Among others, the architect met with representatives of the city administration, the Lviv consulting council, archeologians and historians, members of the city’s Jewish community, and residents of buildings surrounding the Synagogues Square. A presentation and discussion of Reschke’s project followed at a public hearing at the Lviv city council. The visit to Lviv had not merely practical, but also emotional significance for Franz Reschke, who said, in an interview for the ZAXID.NET online journal

Now that I’ve arrived in this city, I sense that, essentially the intended organization of this memorial site has been correct. Today the site is covered by the dust of the everyday, and city residents park their cars there. It is absolutely necessary to mark the location as a memorial site. This Nazi-devastated place  must not merely be marked with adequate information and the traces of the buildings that once stood here; Lviv residents must be made to feel this void. To this end, every detail must be thought out, adapted to the surroundings, and appropriate materials must be selected for implementation... [I derive the sense of] both a great challenge, and great satisfaction from the implementation of this project.

Consultation and discussion revealed new documents (primarily concerning historical information and maps). A number of important comments and reservations were voiced in the course of the meetings with experts and the public. Thus, the role of Arsenalna Square as an important public space with a rich and complex history, with many authentic traces and peculiar characteristics that ought to be preserved, was repeatedly stressed. Many participants of the discussion felt commercial use of the area ought to be limited, and the area used for cultural, musical, and theatrical events instead. Experts and representatives of the Jewish comunity also voiced reservations with regard to protecting the ruins of the Golden Rose Synagogue from possible vandalism. For this purpose, the project envisions the construction of a wooden footbridge and banisters, which will enable visitors to see the Golden Rose without entering its territory. Also discussed was the idea of including the mikvah (partly preserved ritual bath in Fedorova St.), and Shkliarska St. (connecting mikvah to the Staroyevreiska St) in the project. Experts and the public were also concerned about the construction of a hotel in Fedorova St., which was decided before the competition was announced. Likewise, ideas for the improvement of the entire Jewish quarter were expressed, with the elaboration of an integrated approach and a general concept. 

The information, comments and wishes expressed at the hearing will be taken into consideration in the next stages of project implementation. The next steps in the implementation include a selective archaeological study of the precise location of the corners of the Great City Synagogue and the Beit HaMidrash, an expert assessment of the condition of the Golden Rose Synagogue, and preparation of feasibility documentation for its marking and conservation. Experts will also institute market studies, and a search for companies and appropriate materials to ensure quality implementation of the project. 



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