Germany: Cologne (Glockengasse) Synagogue inauguration medal, 1861
Item code: 0131009

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Germany > Cologne/Köln: Cologne (Glockengasse) Synagogue inauguration medal, 1861; struck in bronze; by Jacques Wiener; size: 59.5mm; weight: 85.45g; thickness: 5.5mm.

Obverse depicts intricate relief image of the Synagogue building, with German legend around edge, "Synagoge Zu Coeln Eingeweiht Am 29 August 1861" and the architect's name in exergue "E.F.Zwirner Archit."

On reverse an intricate image of the Synagogue's interior and altar, with engraver's name in exergue "J. Wiener F." and vertically written legend in Hebrew on the right and left sides: "And so Built Abraham Oppenheim [spelled here unnecessarily with two letters "pay"] the House of the Lord for the Congregation of Kolonia [Cologne], And they Inaugurated it on 23 Elul [in the year of] 5621 Since Creation [abbreviated] Recall This O Lord to His [Oppenheim's] Credit [adapted quotation from Nechemia chapter 10 verse 36]".

The Abraham Oppenheim mentioned on the medal was the son of the founder of the Sal. Oppenheim bank (in existence to this day), Salomon Oppenheim. The Synagogue on Glockengasse (Bell Lane) was designed by the [non-Jewish] German architect Ernst Friedrich Zwirner, who also designed the Cologne Cathedral (and died within a month of the Synagogue's inauguration).

The building was noteworthy for its Moorish style, inspired by the Alahambra in Spain, and for being uniquely designed in the style of a [square] Greek Cross. The Synagogue was in existence until 1938 when it was destroyed during Kristallnacht (though the Torah Scrolls were saved by a Cologne priest Gustav Meinertz).

This medal is one of many produced by Wiener in a similar manner, depicting mostly Church structures and Altar interiors. JMM-49/50 & GJPM-136 & Forrer vol. 6 p.487.

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