On Monday, October 21, 2013 Rivka and Ben-Zion Dorfman donated to Yad Vashem a collection of tens of thousands of photographs of synagogues throughout central Europe. Over the course of thirty years, the couple traveled from town to town, documenting old synagogues through the camera lens. The couple, now in their late eighties, decided to donate their extensive collection of over 30,000 photographs to Yad Vashem so that it could be preserved for future generations.
The presentation of the collection included lectures about synagogue architecture and took place in Yad Vashem’s Synagogue which includes Judaica from the destroyed synagogues in Europe and serves as a memorial to the destroyed places of worship of European Jewry.
The addition of the Dorfman Archive of Synagogue Art and Architecture Collection, comprised of the architecture and art of hundreds of synagogues, to Yad Vashem’s Archives will expand the visual documentation of those communities that were destroyed and provide additional information regarding what remains of them today. The photographs will enable the expansion of research, not only of the destroyed communities themselves, but also of their post-war remnants as well as commemorate the people who lived there. The history, architecture and culture of the destroyed synagogues sheds additional light on the entire religious and cultural world that was destroyed with the decimation of the Jewish communities.