55 Trowel and synagogue keys


Objects used for placing the keystone of the Dohány street synagogue

Pest, 1959

silver, wood, copper, in a leather box, with velvet lining

deposit of the Pest Israelite Community, 1931

The Dohány Street synagogue was inaugurated on September 6, 1859. The building was designed by the famous Viennese architect, Ludwig Förster, and the Torah ark by the master of Hungarian romantic architecture, Frigyes Feszl. At its inauguration, the synagogue was the largest Jewish prayer building of its time. Services were accompanied by organ music and a mixed choir, sermons were in German in the beginning, and later in Hungarian. Placing the keystone inside the Torah ark, with a silver trowel made specifically for this occasion, was the symbolic act of finishing the building, which eventually became an emblematic space of Jewish public life and political events. The community preserved this trowel and the keys of the synagogue in a special box, and after the inauguration of the building, deposited it in the museum collection of Jewish collective memory.