The Ennery synagogue, located in a small village in Moselle, is a rare vestige of the history of Lorraine Judaism. Faced with the risk of collapse noted last July, the Minister of Culture, Rima Abdul Malak, decided to place the synagogue urgently under the regime of the “classification body” as historical monuments.
This decision of August 2 gives the building all the effects of the classification for one year, but it is not definitive. This allows the State to take all the necessary steps to carry out the consolidation work and study the methods of long-term safeguarding, in partnership with the local authorities and the private owners of the site.
Built in 1819, the synagogue, disused since 1957 and sold to private owners in 1962, is one of the first synagogues to have been built in the Metz region, after the emancipation of the Jews of France in 1791. It was listed since 1984, but not classified as historical monuments.
The synagogue, with a simple exterior appearance, has undergone very few modifications since its construction. The rectangular limestone rubble house covered with a coating, topped with a mechanical tile roof, is deliberately discreet. Built at the back of the plot and invisible from the street, it is devoid of any explicit religious sign. However, it retains elements of interior decor, in particular the women’s stand, decorated with oriental festoons.
If its aesthetic is not spectacular, its historical interest is nevertheless important. There are numerous archives documenting the life of the Jewish community of Ennery and testifying to its relations with the rest of the local population, which oscillates between acceptance and distrust.
The Ennery synagogue is today one of the rare and last vestiges of rural Jewish heritage which has almost disappeared. If Alsace has almost two thirds of the synagogues built in France, half of them would have been transformed. Members of the Jewish community massively left this region following persecution during the Nazi period. “In occupied Alsace, the Nazis tried to eliminate traces of Judaism”explains Senator Pierre Ouzoulias (PCF). “It would be tragic if this heritage which managed to escape the Nazi destruction enterprise ended up disappearing today, for lack of protection. »
In July 2022, Pierre Ouzoulias, with the Senate Culture Committee, issued a report on the state of religious heritage in France, warning of the threats weighing on the Jewish heritage of Alsace.
He explains that “the protection for historic monuments which has just been taken does not solve everything. There is real work to be done behind it”. Aware of the difficulty of the matter, Pierre Ouzoulias pleads for a complete inventory of the rural Jewish heritage of Alsace-Lorraine, which would be carried out by the Grand Est region. “We should count these buildings, clarify their status and establish a health assessment, without forgetting the Jewish cemeteries which are often abandoned and regularly vandalized”insists the elected official.