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Leningrad Jews Restoring Synagogue Virtually Destroyed During Nazi Siege

The Leningrad Synagogue, which was badly damaged by German artillery during the 29-month-long siege is being rebuilt with materials furnished by the city soviet, and repairs are so advanced that services were held in its main hall this Rosh Hashonah and Yom Kippur.

Although the synagogue’s exterior was virtually destroyed by several direct hits, superhuman efforts by Israel Genusev, 70-year-old chairman of the Leningrad Jewish Congregation, saved it from complete destraction, Although he endured the same hunger and privations that were the lot of all residents during the period when the city was cut off from the rest of the country. Genusey stayed awake many nights, during air raids, in order to fight incendiaries which would have burned the synagogue to the ground.

In November, 1943, when this city was still under siege, the Jewish community under the leadership of Genusev, whose two sons died while fighting in the Red Army, raised 30,000 roubles for the national defense fund, and sent the money to Staling. When a large number of Jews returned to Leningrad this past Spring and Summer, a new council for the synagogue was elected, and Genusev was re-elected chairman as a tribute to his untiring efforts.

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