Stadttempel in Wien

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The Stadttempel (en: City-Temple or City-Synagogue) (also called the Seitenstettengasse Temple) is the main synagogue of Vienna, Austria. It is located in the 1st District (Innere Stadt), at Seitenstettengasse 4.


The synagogue was constructed in 1825 and 1826. The luxurious Stadttempel was fitted into a block of houses and hidden from plain view of the street, because of an edict issued by Emperor Joseph II that only Roman Catholic places of worship were allowed to be built with facades fronting directly on to public streets. Ironically, this edict saved the synagogue from total destruction during the Kristallnacht in November 1938, since the synagogue could not be destroyed without setting on fire the buildings to which it was attached. The Stadttempel was the only synagogue in the city to survive World War II, as the Nazis destroyed all of the other 93 synagogues and Jewish prayer-houses in Vienna.

In August 1949 the coffins of Theodor Herzl and his parents were displayed at the synagogue, prior to their transfer for reburial in Israel.

The synagogue has been declared an historic monument.


The synagogue was designed in elegant Biedermeier style the Viennese architect Joseph Kornhäusel, architect to Johann I Joseph, Prince of Liechtenstein, for whom he had built palaces, theaters and other buildings. Construction was supervised by the official municipal architect, Jacob Heinz. The synagogue is structurally attached to the apartment building at # 4 Seitenstettengasse.<ref name="European Synagogue 1964, p. 178"/>

The synagogue itself is in the form of an oval. A ring of twelve Ionic columns support a two-tiered women's gallery. Originally, the galleries ended one column away from the Torah Ark, they were later extended to the columns beside the ark to provide more seating. the building is domed and lit by a lantern in the center of the dome, in classic Biedermeyer style.<ref name="European Synagogue 1964, p. 178"/>

A commemorative glass made at the time of the synagogue's dedication and etched with a detailed image of the synagogue's interior is now in the collection of the Jewish Museum (New York).

The synagogue underwent renovation in 1895 and again in 1904 by the Jewish architect Wilhelm Stiassny, adding considerable ornamentation, and, in the opinion of architectural historian Rachel Wischnitzer, "the serene harmony of the design was spoiled by renovations."<ref name="The Stadttempel Synagogue, Vienna"/><ref name="European Synagogue 1964, p. 178"/> Damage inflicted on Kristallnacht was repaired in 1949. The "Stadttempel" was renovated once again in 1963 by Prof. Otto Niedermoser.<ref name="The Stadttempel Synagogue, Vienna"/>

Famous members

  • Simon Wiesenthal

See also

  • History of the Jews in Austria
  • Leopoldstädter Tempel
  • History of the Jews in Vienna


External links