Zalman Nożyk, a Warsaw retailer, and his wife Rivka lived at 9 Próżna. In 1892, Zalman bought a vacant plot at 6 Twarda Street paying a sum of 157,000 roubles to one Jan Teodor Engelbert Zembrzuski. 10 years later, on 12 May 1902, at Lag BaOmer, the synagogue was solemnly opened.
The synagogue was built in the Romanesque Revival style, and incorporated the Byzantine and Moorish style ornamentation. The seating capacity of the men’s section on the ground floor and the women’s section on the balcony stands at 350.
At the death of Rivka Nożyk in 1914, the synagogue together with all the related adjacent property was granted to the Warsaw Jewish Religious Community. The only conditions imposed by the donors included: the obligation to maintain the synagogue from collected donations, to retain its full original name, and to recite the El Male Rachamim prayer for the founders.
In 1940 the Nożyk Synagogue was shut down and devastated by the Nazis, converted into horse stables and a feed storehouse. At establishment of the Warsaw ghetto, the building complex found itself in a section referred to as the Small Ghetto. On 20 May 1941, the German authorities authorised the opening of three synagogues for the faithful, including the Nożyk Synagogue. The ceremonial opening took place on the holiday of Rosh Hashanah of 5702 (1941). Meir Bałaban was then appointed as the synagogue’s rabbi and preacher. During the Warsaw Rising, the Nożyk Synagogue was damaged severely, but remained structurally sound and did not collapse. The provisional repairs carried out immediately after the war allowed it to function once again as a place of prayer.
In 1968, the Nożyk Synagogue was shut down once more. From then on, prayers were held in a room of an adjacent building, at the 6 Twarda Street address. In the years 1977 to 1983 the synagogue building underwent a general renovation, this with the aim of restoring it to its original appearance of the early 20th century and of adding an office annex to its eastern exposure.
At present, the synagogue serves as the Warsaw Jewish community’s key meeting point; it is primarily a place of prayer, but also a unique monument on the map of the city. The synagogue can be visited:
Monday to Thursday and Sunday from 9.00 am – 40 minutes before the sundown
Fridays until sundown.
During Shabbat and other Jewish holidays the Synagogue is closed for the visitors.
Admission charge is 10 złoty.
For group visit booking, you are requested to contact the Guide’s Office:
Monday to Thursday from 10.00 am to 4.00 pm
Fridays from 10.00 to 1:00 pm
T: +48 502 400 849