Rykestrasse Synagogue


Two wide gates lead from Rykestrasse into a courtyard. There stands a beautiful brick building that resembles a neo-Romanesque basilica. Johann Hoeniger, the Jewish community’s master builder, designed the building, which was consecrated in 1904. It is the best preserved and largest of Berlin’s pre-war synagogues. With its more than 2,000 seats, it is considered the largest synagogue structure in Europe today, after the Great Synagogue in Budapest. Nazi thugs demolished the original interior during the pogrom of November 1938. However, like several of Berlin’s surviving synagogues, it escaped torching because of its proximity to neighbouring apartment houses. Services were still being held here as late as 1940, at which point the German military confiscated and desecrated the building, turning it into a stable and warehouse. A first post-war attempt at renovating the entire building complex was completed in 1953. Later, architects Ruth Golan and Kay Zareh, together with the Office of the Preservation of Historical Monuments, restored the structure to its pre-war grandeur – culminating in a ceremonious rededication in 2005. Today, the building’s former wedding chapel, with its priceless Yemenite ner tamid (eternal lamp) is used for the weekday prayer services.

During communist times, this was the only synagogue used in East Berlin and was dubbed “Temple of Peace“. Prior to the war, both Elementary School No. 3 of the Jewish School Association, as well as the Jewish community’s Religion School No. 4, with its 500 pupils, were located in the street-side building. After 1933, the Jewish School Association made it a priority to prepare its pupils for eventual emigration to Palestine. Track and field world-record holder Lilli Henoch was one of the sports teachers who taught at the school until the Nazi authorities forced it to close, Henoch was killed at Auschwitz.

Today, the street-side front building houses a religious school operated by the Ronald Lauder Foundation, which moved into the premises following the fall of the Berlin wall. The foundation aims at instilling Jewish values and traditions in young people, most of whom are of Russian-speaking background. The Prenzlauer Berg Museum in nearby Prenzlauer Allee 227 has a permanent exhibit that covers the history of the many Jewish schools that dotted the district prior to their forced closures in 1941.

Source: "Jüdische Orte in Berlin", Andreas Nachama/Ulrich Eckhardt. Copyright by Nicolai Verlag

Gabbaim Synagoge Rykestrasse

Dr. Hermann Simon

For synagogue news, click here.

For the schedule of religious services, click here. 


Donations for Rykestraße synagogue can be transferred to:

Jüdische Gemeinde zu Berlin, Synagoge Rykestraße
Konto  6000031228
BLZ  100 500 00
Berliner Sparkasse

IBAN: DE89100500006000031228 

Address & Contact

Synagoge Rykestraße

Rykestr. 53
10405 Berlin


Kabbalat Schabbat

Winter 18:00

Sommer 19:00

Schabbat Schacharit

ganzjährig 9:30

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