Former Jewish synagogues that were left deserted during the Nazi era are being renovated and turned into bars and nightclubs, Haaretz reported.
European contractors make bigger profits because of the Jewish history of the buildings, using it as a PR-concept — a move that is considered controversial in the public, the newspaper wrote.
The trend has been especially evident over the past decade. In 2013, a synagogue in Krakow was turned into a nightclub and then into the Hevre Bar, which is decorated in line with its Jewish past.
In 2012, the Mykwa Bar opened in Warsaw on a spot where originally a mikvah (ritual bath) was placed.
Similar trends can be observed in Western Europe. A 207-year-old synagogue in the city of Deventer, the Netherlands, is set to become a restaurant.
According to the media outlet, the development is sparking different reactions in society. Critics are slamming the entrepreneurs for inappropriate exploitation of the religious buildings in wake of a tragedy. Supporters believe that it is good way to preserve heritage sites and a sign of respect toward Jews.
Europe had about 17,000 synagogues before World War II, according to a study by the London-based Foundation for Jewish Heritage released this year. So far, only 3,318 of them have been identified, and only 762 are still functioning.