BBC Radio 4’s Sunday programme interviewed Natasha Kaplinsky and Simon Schama about their support for the Foundation’s Historic Synagogues of Europe Mapping Project.
Speaking to Radio 4 Sunday Programme presenter Ed Stourton, Ms Kaplinsky said: “For me this project is a testimony to lost communities.”
Referring to her family’s historical ties to Slonim Synagogue, she said: “The Great Slonim Synagogue essentially housed a community which was decimated by the Nazis. To restore it is touching on history; it’s a key, it’s a portal to educating the future and that is the most important thing for me.”
Simon Schama, a Trustee of the Foundation, said: “The geographical spread [of the mapped synagogues] from Sunderland to Turkey is exactly as it should be because Jews got around.
“What interests me is that a lot of these synagogues were built over a very long time, from the 17th Century where Jewish life in Eastern Europe, particularly in Poland, Ukraine and so on... there was a real symbiosis between Polish culture, Christian culture and Jewish culture. Recognising the richness of these buildings and the communities, in which they are planted, recognises Jewish life over a much longer period than the 18th and 19th Century and a period that wasn’t waiting for the Holocaust to happen.”
For the full interview - https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09r3ngb#play 25.02mins