The duke, a follower of the Enlightenment, had the synagogue built as an expression of his tolerance policy but also as an ornament for his gardens. The prior synagogue was torn down in the course of embellishing Wörlitz. It was the sole synagogue in the tiny town of Wörlitz and was used by its Jewish community in an era when Jews lived in German principalities by permission of the prince (here: Anhalt-Dessau).
Twelve pilasters adorn the exterior. One door led to the ground floor, entering the room opposite the Torah Ark. The other to the semicircular gallery supported by six Doric columns. The bimah was in the center of the building. There are twelve round windows just below the roofline. The roof is a cone. The basement contained a mikvah and stove to heat the water.
The synagogue was declared a national monument in 1937. Although the building was badly damaged during the 1938 Nazi Kristallnacht pogrom, the park's administration was able to prevent its complete demolition. Since 2003 it has been restored and is now a small museum showcasing the history of the Jewish community of Wörlitz.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Wörlitz Synagogue.|
- Rachel Wischnitzer, Architecture of the European Synagogue, Jewish Publication Society, 1964, pp. 158-9