Crumbling Walls: Abandoned Synagogue

For about sixty years the synagogue in the town of Vidin, northwestern Bulgaria, is now left to rot. Preserving what was once the largest synagogue of the country seems to be on nobody’s agenda.

After most of Bulgaria’s Jewish population left the country in the 1950s, the synagogue in the center of Vidin fell into disrepair, like many others. During the 70s the building was used for storage. Later, several attempts to restore the synagogue were made, but nothing was ever finished.

With the demise of communism in Bulgaria money became scarce, so after 1989 all work stopped. By now the roof is gone, as are the frescoes that once adorned most of the interior walls. Weeds are growing everywhere and cracks show in the walls.

Strangely enough, neither ‘Shalom’, an organizations that claims to represent the majority of Bulgarian Jews, nor any other such group, showed any interest whatsoever to speak about the sorry state of the synagogue and the Jewish cemetery in Vidin. Email enquiries for an interview with a representative went unanswered, the reactions to half a dozen phone calls was indifference and disinterest.

(All Images Copyright Johann Brandstätter / JB Photography)

Please visit my website for more images of the synagogue in Vidin.