About the building A house with a long history
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(Photo: Erik Olsen: NTNU University Library)

From train station to synagogue

The building was built in 1864 as Trondheim’s first railway station. The above photograph was taken at the opening of the Trondhjem-Støren Line the same year, heading towards the north.

The Jewish Community in Trondheim bought the building in 1924 and turned it into an orthodox synagogue, which was consecrated in 1925. The building is continually used for holy days, meetings, parties and social causes.

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The synagogue

The synagogue is one of two synagogues in Norway – the other is situated in Oslo. Trondheim’s synagogue was built as an orthodox synagogue. In Orthodox Judaism, women and men sit separately during the service. The synagogue in Trondheim therefore has a gallery where the women used to sit. Nowadays, it is no longer customary for men and women to sit separately.

The synagogue is not only used for services. There is also cheder, a traditional school for Jewish children. The synagogue is in use on holy days such as Shabbat and Holidays such as Rosh Hashana – Jewish New Year. Concerts are also held here, including during the Jewish Cultural Festival

Trondheim’s synagogue is Europe’s northernmost synagogue.

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The synagogue photographed in 1947. (Photo: Jewish Museum Trondheim).

The War Years 1940 – 1945

The German occupation powers seized the building without warning in April 1941. The synagogue room itself was used as sleeping barracks for German soldiers. A lot of the inventory was destroyed.

Before the building was seized, the Torah scrolls and some other items were secretly transported to the Methodist church, where they were hidden in a small, narrow room beneath the last stair before the attic. We do not know how the Torah scrolls managed to be transported through the city. They are long and heavy, and also very old. Things could have gone wrong if they had been dropped in the snow, or if they had been discovered by German soldiers on the way.

As a result of the help from the Methodist church, the Torah scrolls were saved. After the war, they were transported back to the synagogue, where they remain to the present day.

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The synagogue photographed after the end of the war in 1945. (Photo: Jewish Museum Trondheim)