During the so-called “Kristallnacht” in November 1938 and in the days preceding and following it over 1000 synagogues were badly damaged or completely destroyed. This was yet another step in the attempt to annihilate the Jews of Europe and thus eradicate the Jewish contribution to the culture of Central Europe.

Synagogue Memorial Institute Jerusalem ( has initiated a series of memorial books documenting the history of the Jewish communities und their synagogues.

The volumes for the following federal states in Germany have already been published: North Rhine-Westphalia, Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Baden-Wuerttemberg and Bavaria. The volumes for Hesse, the Eastern federal states (the territory of the former German Democratic Republic) and Northern Germany are in preparation.

The Night of Broken Glass, as it is also called, affected not only Germany in its present boundaries, but also all the areas which were either a part of the country or were annexed by it in 1938. That is why volumes about Austria and other regions of Central Europe are being readied for publication or planned.

The name of the project

The name of the project is inspired by a Greek word meaning “memory”. At the same the orthography alludes to the main topic of the project, i.e. the commemoration of synagogues. 

The aim of the project “mnemo-syne”

The aim of the project “mnemo-syne” is to document synagogues in the areas that once belonged to Germany and today constitute a part of Poland or Russia (i.e. Pomerania, Poznań-West Prussia, Lower und Upper Silesia and East Prussia), furthermore those in the areas annexed by Germany (i.e. Sudetenland). According to our preliminary findings about 220 synagogues and prayer-rooms in today’s Poland, 25 synagogues in Russia and 140 synagogues in the Czech Republic existed in this area at the time of The Night of Broken Glass and will thus be documented.

The documentation shall not only commemorate the synagogues and their communities, but also the Jewish contribution to Central European culture.

The participating institutions

Germans were responsible for the “Kristallnacht” pogrom. Therefore German institutions have a moral obligation to contribute to the elucidation and documentation of the historical events in cooperation with partner institutions (primarily from the respective areas).

Scholars from the University of Saarland in Saarbrücken work on this project in cooperation with partners from Israel, Poland, Russia und the Czech Republic.

A project like “mnemo-syne” contributes to the awareness of the historical and cultural roots of Europe at a time of increasing unification. It also provides an opportunity to contribute to the creation of a joint future by the joint study of historical events.

Contacts already exist with several institutions in the countries mentioned above (e.g. Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw, Department of Jewish Studies at the University of Wrocław, Department of Ethnology and Education Science in Cieszyn at the Silesian University at Katowice, Community for Jewish History in the Czech Republic: the project Bohemia, Moravia et Silesia Judaica in Brno, Jewish Community in Kaliningrad), others will be established.

The required sources: documents and witnesses of the time

We will be happy to receive information regarding archival material, documents or their copies as well as photographs regarding the history of the Jewish communities in the areas mentioned above from witnesses of the time and their relatives, institutions and others who may possess such information. Originals will be returned.

Please give your information to:,

Universität des Saarlandes, FR 4.4 Slavistik

Projekt „mnemo-syne“

Postfach 15 11 50
D-66041 Saarbrücken

Tel.: + 49/(0)681/ 302 3771; Fax: + 49/(0)681/302 3386

In Israel you may also contact:

For further information contact: