After the completion of renovation, the unique Synagogue in Kőszeg opened its doors to the public with new activities and rich cultural programmes as part of the city’s cultural heritage.
On the 28th and 29th of August 2022, the Institute of Advanced Studies Kőszeg (iASK) contributed to the series of events for the national Week of Synagogues. During the two-day event, iASK presented the life of the synagogue’s builder, Philip Schey, and the Schey family with an exhibition, lectures, a round table discussion, a book launch and a guided tour. The series of events began with the opening of the exhibition entitled “A Success Story from Kőszeg: The Schey Family”, with a message from Kathy Henderson of the London branch of the Schey family.
Since the mid-1990s, Ferenc Miszlivetz, Director General of the Institute of Advanced Studies Kőszeg, has made it his mission to save and restore this romantic building of unrivalled beauty. The restoration of the complex and its gardens was approved by the government in 2013. The restoration itself was eventually carried out under the Kőszeg KRAFT programme. Following the building’s reacquisition and structural conservation, the project, which included the rabbinical buildings and the garden, began in the autumn of 2020 and was completed in January 2022.
Thanks to the rehabilitation of the building and its surrounding landscape, the synagogue complex will have a number of functions that fulfil religious, cultural and public needs. After many years of disuse, the synagogue can once again be used as a place of worship, if required.
The Institute of Advanced Studies Kőszeg supports a Working Group that carries out historical research on the cultural life and activities of the Jewish communities in the region of Western Pannonian. This includes studying their impact on society and the modernisation of the region’s cities. The results of this research will be regularly presented in temporary and permanent exhibitions.
The fate of the building and the process of its renovation have already attracted considerable national and international interest. Its construction in 1856 was financed by Philip Schey, who rose from a retailer in Kőszeg to the baronial rank of a Viennese businessman. Descendants of the Schey family have followed the developments from Austria, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and the United States of America.
The synagogue’s rebirth has reconnected the town of Kőszeg to the national and international bloodstream in an unprecedented way. This will make Kőszeg one of the Central European centres of heritage-based experiential tourism in the spirit of the KRAFT programme’s objectives.
You can read more about the programmes at the following link.