The thriving city attracted numerous merchants and craftsmen. As a result, its population grew rapidly in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, fuelling development and expansion. While Jews had played a special role in the local community ever since the Middle Ages, their modest prayer houses and school were now unable to meet the needs of the growing community. Its bold and sophisticated members needed a new space that would allow them to both develop themselves spiritually and nurture their faith and its traditions as enshrined in the Talmud. Through a joint effort, in 1907, they constructed a new synagogue at the former Stawny Square. The new building could accommodate 650 men and as many women. The monumental edifice had a powerful impact on the surrounding neighbourhood. It attracted attention with its multiple shapes grouped around a single axis placed at a domed centre. The base of the axis led to the Aron Kodesh, or Torah ark, the holy place where the Torah scrolls were kept. During World War II, the synagogue was converted into a swimming pool for Wehrmacht soldiers. It continued operating in this capacity after the war until the early 21st century.