Historic former French synagogue burns down

Cnaan Liphshiz

(JTA) — A historic building that used to house a synagogue burned down in northeastern France.

The circumstances surrounding the fire last week in the town of Maizières-lès-Vic, inside the 19th-century building that was utterly consumed by flames, are not yet known and are the subject of a police investigation, the news website www.republicain-lorrain.fr reported.

The building was used by a local poultry farmer and has not functioned as a synagogue in decades, according to the report.

Still, police are not ruling out arson, as the building had no electrical wires which could have started a fire accidentally, according to Mayor Alain Guise. “The synagogue had no electrical feed and it didn’t burn itself down,” he said.

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France’s main union of Jewish students, the UEJF, published a statement condemning any individuals who may have started the fire.

“UEJF deplores the destruction of a synagogue that, even though it no longer welcomes worshipers, was a symbol of Jewish presence of almost a thousand years” in the region, the statement read.

An unnamed police source who spoke to the AFP news agency on Monday warned against jumping to conclusions with regard to the fire.

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