Heaven’s Gates. Wooden Synagogues in the Territories of the Former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth
Authors: Maria i Kazimierz Piechotkowie
Publisher: POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews, Polish Institute of World Art Studies
The latest in a series of books by Maria and Kazimierz Piechotka devoted to wooden synagogues. Their first book on this topic entitled Wooden Synagogues was released as early as 1957; the English-language edition followed in 1959. Later on, the authors published a number of books through the Krupski i S-ka publishing house: "Heaven’s Gates. Wooden Synagogues in the Territories of the Former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth" (1996, translated into English in 2004), followed by "Heaven’s Gates. Brick and Stone Synagogues in the Territories of the Former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth" (1999) and "Oppidum Judaeorum. Jews in the Urban Environment of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth".
The current edition, prepared after Kazimierz Piechotka’s passing, was made possible thanks to the efforts of Professor Jerzy Malinowski, the financial support of the Minister of Culture and National Heritage as well as the cooperation of the Institute of Arts of the Polish Academy of Sciences and POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw.
The book consists of two parts. The first part, preceded by a preface which presents the historical background, basic information on the Jewish diaspora, synagogue architecture and summary information on brick and masonry synagogues in Poland, discusses the architectural and structural solutions used for wooden synagogues erected between the mid-17th century and the early 20th century in the territory of the former Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth as well as their interior layout.
The second part – designed as a photo book – contains descriptions, drawings and photographs of the selected wooden synagogues from this period. The current edition features a modified order of chapters, with some chapters having been re-edited and expanded; the catalogue of synagogues featured in the book has also been slightly altered.