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Why A Przedbórz Website?

In 1998, Congregation Beth Israel in Berkeley, California, embarked on long-discussed project1 to build a modern-day version of a Polish Wooden Synagogue, all of which were systematically destroyed in World War II. The steering committee chose as a model the synagogue that had stood in Przedbórz, Poland from around 1760.

Being an inquisitive sort, I did an internet search to see what I could find out about the town. Much to my surprise, 80% of the listings concerned the 18 local delivery stamps the town had issued during a 7- or 8-month period in 1917-18.

I resolved to buy a few to make a display for the foyer or somewhere if the Congregation Board thought it appropriate. So I bought a few, probably paying genuine prices for forgeries, because I didn't know the difference, and may not have cared.

Then one day, I bought a lot of about 45 forgeries, properly identified as such. I was astounded and fascinated by their variety. I still am.

The "Wooden Synagogue" project ultimately failed for lack of funds, and we have an new, exceptionally warm and lovely, but different, building in its place. But I remain hooked on the variety of stamps this small town issued.

(While the project was not constructed, it did succeed in generating a lot of publicity, just like many other grand architectural projects: it was covered on PBS and other media, and mentioned in Heaven's Gates [pg. 158].)

1. Apparently as early as the late 1970's, the general idea had been discussed by several members of Berkeley's Congregation Beth Israel.

Last modified 25 Feb. 2013