Switzerland / German-Speaking Switzerland

Basel

Synagogue of Basel

Eulerstrasse 2, 4051 Basel, Switzerland

Jewish Museum of Basel

Kornhausgasse 8, 4051 Basel, Switzerland

Community Center of Basel

Leimenstrasse 24, 4051 Basel

Synagogue, Basel

“In Basel, I created the Jewish State”, wrote Theodor Herzl in his diary after attending the First Zionist Congress, held from 29 to 30 August 1897. Nine more congresses would take place in Basel. A street in his name and a plaque in the casino serve as a reminder of the Zionist adventure’s origins in Basel.

First opened in 1868, the  synagogue is the work of the architect Hermann Gauss, who took the one in Stuttgart, with its neo-Byzantine, Moorish, and Romanesque styles, as his model. It was enlarged twenty years later, and a second dome was added. During a further renovation in 1947, someone decided to cover the synagogue’s brightly colored walls in uniform gray. This gray corresponded better to the austerity of the era and local taste. Forty years later, the colors of yesteryears resuscitated the refinished building. Modernizing the motifs had nonetheless dampened the eastern style. Inside, yellowish beige dominates, with blue and red decorations. A multitude of golden stars stand out against the dome. The polychromatic facades are red and white.

The only  Jewish Museum in Switzerland (Jüdisches Museum der Schweiz) is found in Basel. Its collection reflects the region’s Jewish heritage and features books in Hebrew printed in Basel, gravestones, and documents on Jewish history and the Zionist congresses.

The Community Center houses as well the kosher restaurant Topas.