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Warsaw to mark great synagogue destruction with replica

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

A miniature replica of the Great Synagogue of Warsaw will be installed on the site of the original, almost 70 years to the day after the Nazis levelled it, an architect for the project said Sunday.

"The different fragments, like the walls, the domes, the court, have already been assembled for a first time. All of it will then be dismantled and transported next to the original place for final assembly scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday," architect Jan Strumillo said.

The project is a 1:10 scale plywood rendition of the 19th century Tlomackie square synagogue, which used to be one of the world's largest.

A ceremony will take place on Friday, 70 years and a day after SS general Juergen Stroop, who was in charge of razing Warsaw's Jewish ghetto, ordered the synagogue be blown up.

"Looking at the replica, Jurgen Stroop must be turning in his grave," replica builder Krzysztof Czaplinski said.

Eleonora Bergman, an official at Warsaw's Jewish Historical Institute, said the original had seating for 2,000 and was "the centre of the reformed Jewish community in Warsaw".

Bergman said that all that remains of the original building is a small piece of a column and a cloakroom number.

"You can't bring back to life what isn't there anymore. Those who came here, who walked in this place, we wanted to restore the memories of those people," she said.

The replica is one of several projects to mark the 70th anniversary of the Warsaw ghetto uprising that saw young Jews take up arms against Nazi forces in April and May 1943.

Around 7,000 Jews died in Europe's first urban anti-Nazi revolt, most of them burned alive, and nearly all the rest were then sent to the Treblinka extermination camp.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130512/warsaw-mark-great-synagogue-destruction-replica