Sitting in a quiet corner of his Jerusalem home, David Fisher’s work can only be described as artistic resurrection. He collects photographs of the interiors of Eastern European synagogues that were destroyed during the Holocaust, and recreates them using only white paper, pens, a variety of different knives, and a magnifying glass.
With his face only inches from the page, the exacting process takes months. Not only must David find accurate photographs, he also researches the stories of the communities, the majority of which perished in the Holocaust. “For me, what is important is not how they died, rather the lives they lived…and to the finest detail!”
A graphic designer by trade, David’s soul lies in paper cutting. After first discovering this passion nine years ago while creating invitations to his eldest son’s Bar Mitzvah, David set out to find a project that would challenge him beyond the beautiful but increasingly standardized world of Judaic art.
Honoring the originality of the artisans who designed synagogues in towns such as Wolpa, Chemnitz, and Gombin, David’s paper cuttings respect every inch of the past: from magnificent candelabras to Moorish columns and floral motifs. One can appreciate the care that went into the construction of these sanctuaries through the artist’s painstaking attentiveness to detail.
After completing each synagogue, David collects the “negatives” – the leftover bits and pieces of his work, and displays them together with the final work. “Like leaving an unfinished part of a home in remembrance of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem,” David says, “this is my small way of remembering how these places met their end.”
The son of a Holocaust survivor, David’s drive is actually rooted in his fascination with synagogue architecture. His efforts have not gone unnoticed. Many in Israel have assisted David in his work, often filling in the blanks of this lost culture. In return, he hopes to offer others a glimpse into a forgotten world, where not only was the synagogue the center of Jewish life, it was the symbol of the community.
David plans on recreating eighteen synagogues in total, but is aware that after each one, his desire to share these stories only grows.