Denmark

Copenhagen

Grand Synagogue of Copenhagen

Krystalgade 12, 1172 København K, Danemark

Royal Library of Copenhagen

Søren Kierkegaards Plads 1, Copenhagen

Freedom Museum of Copenhagen

Churchillparken 7, 1263 København K, Danemark

Jewish Museum of Copenhagen

Proviantpassagen 6 DK-1218 Copenhagen

Mosaisk Nordre Begravelsesplads

Cementerio judío de Copenhague, Guldbergsgade 8, 2200 Commune de Copenhague, Danemark

Jewish cemetery of Vestre

Cementerio de Vestre, Vestre Kirkegårds Allé 15, 2450 Commune de Copenhague, Danemark

Museum designed by architect Daniel Libeskind reflecting the contiuous happy life of Danish Jews around the Mitsvah theme
Danish Museum Interior. Photo courtesy of Studio Daniel Libeskind – Wikipedia

The Jewish community of Copenhagen has been active since the end of the 17th century. Today, most of Denmark’s 7000 Jews live in Copenhagen.

Abraham Salomon of Rausnitz was its first rabbi, appointed in 1687. Six years later, a Jewish cemetery was established in Mollegade. Destroyed by a fire in 1795, no synagogue was active until a liberal one was built in 1833 in Krystalgade. Years later, orthodox and Sephardic places of worship were also opened.

The Royal Decree issued in 1814 gave Jews born in Denmark the same rights as for all other citizens. Philanthropic institutions, schools, old age homes have been opened since 1825. The number and presence varied then, according to historical events, especially the Holocaust.

When the huge majority of the Danish Jews and their relatives, about 8000 persons, were saved by the courageous acts of Denmark’s royal, political and religious authorities as well as every level of society.

Most of the 3000 Polish Jews who fled to Denmark during the 1970s settled in Copenhagen.

Great synagogue built in 1833, inspired by Greek and Roman architecture
Great Synagogue of Copenhagen. Photo by Jerrye et Roy Klotz MD – Wikipedia

Marking the continuous blossoming of the Jewish community in Denmark, Queen Margrethe II attended in 1983 the service in Copenhagen’s synagogue, celebrating its 150th anniversary.

The following year, she participated in the celebrations of the Jewish community’s 300th anniversary in Copenhagen. In 1993, the Queen also participated in the events celebrating the 50th anniversary of the country’s rescue operation.

Its famous  Great synagogue of Krystalgade was built in 1833 by the architect Gustav Friedrich Hetsch. It is defined by an architecture centering on an ark, influenced by Greek and Roman models.

Hebrew inscription on the outside wall of the Great synagogue of Copenhagen
Copenhagen Synagogue. Photo by Harvey Barrison – Wikipedia

The synagogue can welcome 900 worshippers. The community center is located next to the synagogue. All information about the synagogue is available at the Mosaiske Troessamfund, which houses a variety of Jewish associations.

Mosaiske organizes visits of the synagogue from April to September and also provides Shabbat hospitality groups. An orthodox Community prays at the Makhzikei ha-Das Synagogue.

Among the social institutions, there’s a Jewish day school and an old age home. Religious and cultural organizations are also present in the city.

Portrait du roi Christian X, symbole du courage de tout un peuple pendant la Shoah dans le sauvetage des juifs danois
Heroic king Christian X of Denmark. Photo by Library of Congress – Wikipedia

The  Freedom Museum of Danish Resistance, which houses a important section devoted to the history of the Resistance movement and the Shoah. It was closed due to a fire on April 28, 2013. The damage caused was of such proportions that the museum had to be closed.

A new exhibition building was raised where it was located and is scheduled to open in 2020. Meanwhile, the photo archives can be seen on their website.

Designed by Daniel Libeskind, the  Jewish Museum of Copenhagen presents Jewish life in Denmark through 400 years. The particular design of the Jewish Museum was influenced by the rescue operation during the Holocaust. The word “mitzvah” constitutes the emblem and concept of the museum. Therefore, the museum was designed around the courage demonstrated by the Danes.

It marks the positive experience which sums up Jewish life in Denmark and the special act of goodwill undertaken in 1943 by the population.

Entry of the Jewish Museum of Copenhagen marking the link between the old and the new aspects of the life of Danish Jews
Danish Jewish Museum entrance. Photo courtesy of the Museum – Wikipedia

As explains architect Daniel Libeskind: “After entering the exhibition proper, the visitors are in a space constructed of a wooden floor with slightly sloping planes representing the four planes of discourse.

The entire exhibition space is illuminated by a luminous stained glass window that is a microcosm of Mitzvah transforming light across the day. The Danish Jewish Museum will become a destination which will reveal the deep tradition and its future in the unprecedented space of Mitzvah.

The intertwining of the old structure of the vaulted brick space of the Royal Library and the unexpected connection to the unique exhibition space creates a dynamic dialogue between architecture of the past and of the future – the newness of the old and the agelessness of the new.”

The Royal Library houses many documents related to Danish history among them the Simonsen archives
The Royal Danish Library. Photo by Julian Herzog – Wikipedia

The  Royal Library contains the Simonsen Library ewhich possesse an interesting Judaica section.

Digital facsimiles of the manuscripts acquires in 1931 from Professor David Simonsen are available for the public. Among the items which can be consulted, one can find a judeo-arabic letter from the 12th century and manuscripts from all periods since.

Its most famous item is probably “Gemma’s prayerbook”, a Hebrew book written for the widow Gemma in Modena in 1531.

The oldest cemetery in Scandinavia, it's located in the center of Copenhagen and can be visited from April until September
Jewish cemetery. Photo by Ramblersen – Wikipedia

Documents came from 20 different countries, in 15 languages. The total of the works constitute 26000 digitalization.

There are two Jewish cemeteries. The  ancient one in Mollegade, dating for four centuries, open from April to September on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. And the  new one in Valby. The latter is open every day during daytime except on Shabbat and Jewish holidays.