22.07.2020 | Redaktor

Nachman Kopald

Do you know that one of Krakow’s prominent architects was a Jew born in Bresko area, in Borzęcin?
Nachman Jakob Kopald, son of Mosze, was born in Borzęcin on April 15, 1834. At the end of the 1850s, he married Leja Simche, daughter of Chajem and Beila from Tarnów. They lived in Tarnów for some time, then moved to Kraków. They had 8 children, but their 2 sons and a daughter died as young babies.
Nachman studied at the construction department in the Industrial school; he became the first renowned Jewish architect in Krakow.

Graves of Nachman (to the right) and Lea (to the left) Kopald at the Jewish cemetery at Miodowa street in Kraków

17 tenement houses and a House of Prayer designed by Nachman Kopald can be found on Krakow heritage list:

1876 -1878 –  Sw. Filipa, 13
1873-1878 –  Dietla 87/Starowiślna 29-31, (together with Jozef Ertel)
1878 – Starowiślna 33
1877 – Bartosza 3/Wawrzyńca 16
1884 -1885 – Sarego 3

1885 – 1886 – Dietla 91

1886 –  Dietla 79

1887 –  Bogusławskiego 4.
1887 – Sarego 15,
1889 – Św. Agnieszki 9
1890 -1891 – Dietla 83

Mezuzah trace

1891 –  Topolowa 17
1893 – 1894 – Sebastiana 20 and 22 (together with Wilhelm Apter)
1896 – house of prayer, Beit Midrash Hevra Tehilim at Meiselsa 18. In 2008, unique wall polychromies were discovered in this synagogue.

Beit Midrash Hevra Tehilim; photo by Boris Khaimovich, 1995
Polychrome in Beit Midrash Hevra Tehilim. Photos from sztetl.org.pl

1897 – Berka Joselewicza 13/Starowiślna 47

1907 – Św. Wawrzyńca 11/Gazowa 1

1910-11 – Rynek Dębnicki 3

Nachman Kopald died in Krakow on November 5, 1911 aged 78. He is buried at the new Jewish cemetery at Miodowa street next to his wife, who died four years earlier. His gravestone has got a simple inscription in Polish and Hebrew. “Here lies the builder Nachman Kopald …”

Tombstone of Nachman Kopald. “Here lies an honest and respectable man, Nachman Jakob Kopald, son of Moshe…”
Death record of Nachman Kopald. “Nachman kopald, builder in Kraków, died at 10.45pm on november 5, 1911 aged 78…” Photo from szukajwarchiwach.pl website
Tombstone of Lea Kopald. “Here lies a respectable and honest woman, Lea Kopald, daughter of Chaim Dov…”
Death record of Lea Kopald. “Lea Kopald, wife of Nachman kopald, builder in Kraków, died at 3pm on February 14, 1907 aged 72…” Photo from szukajwarchiwach.pl website

Descendants of the Kopalds lived in Krakow, most of them perished in the Holocaust. I only know of one great-grandson of Nachman who survived the war and emigrated to Israel. He’s the grandson of his daughter Sara Chaje Apte née Kopald, Zeew Apte.

Beautiful tenement houses and Beit Midrash Hevra Tehilim are now the only visible signs of Nachman Kopald’s presence in Kraków.

Photos of houses come from googlemaps.                                                                

© Anna Brzyska, 2020