Beware, this is the project summary as written in 1998.
Project details on collaboration and realization are not valid; project is now dormant!
The history of the Jewish presence in what is now the Czech Republic dates back as far as the 10th century. Throughout their existence, Jewish communities from both big cities and rural areas played an important role in the development of the Czech history. Especially The liberalization of the laws in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire in the period 1848 - 1867 granted the Jews equality and finally full civic rights. As result, the Jewish Communities flourished and at the beginning of the 20th century the Jewish part of the population plaid an active role on all levels of society.
The Holocaust during the Second World War decimated the Czech Jewish population and ended its role in Czech society. The following oppression under the communistic regimes from 1847 until 1989 caused a further exodus under the remaining survivors. As result, today (1998) approximately 6000 Jews remain in the Czech Republic; less then 5% of the numbers the Jewish communities amounted to at their peak around 1890.
Today, public knowledge about the role of the Czech Jewish population in Czech history is very low; most younger generations are completely unaware of its existence and the topic is not actively mentioned in history education. In most places, a Jewish cemetery is the last remaining evidence of the history and presence of a local Jewish community. Unfortunately, there is not a single living Jewish community left in South Bohemia. As result, most of the cemeteries have remained without maintenance for more than 60 years and deteriorated due to natural decay, clear vandalism or anti-Semitic attacks.
Nowadays, in most places a Jewish cemetery is the last remaining evidence of the history and presence of a local Jewish community. There is not a single living Jewish community left in South Bohemia and as result, most of the cemeteries have remained without maintenance for more than 60 years and deteriorated due to natural decay, clear vandalism or anti-Semitic attacks. The Jewish Community of Prague, who is owner of most of the sites in South Bohemia, does not have sufficient funds available for large-scale restorations in this particular region. To help address this problem, the Rozmberk Society developed the project “Restoration of the Jewish heritage in South Bohemia”, in cooperation with the Jewish Community of Prague.
The project envisioned the restoration of 6 Jewish cemeteries and associated buildings and the restoration of the burial registration records. The Society believes that, without involvement of the public, restoration alone would only temporarily delay the further deterioration of the cemeteries and would not help the conservation of the Jewish heritage in this region. Other important objectives of the project, therefore, were to raise public awareness about the history of the rural Jewish Communities in the Czech Republic and to help fight anti-Semitism. To achieve this, the cemeteries would be made open to the public and an information center was planned for the Jewish cemetery of Jindrichuv Hradec, which was the main focus of the planned project.
Education about the history of the local Jewish populations is paramount for the long-term success of this project. The knowledge of young people about the Holocaust or about the role the Jewish community played in the history of the Czech Republic is virtually non-existing and schools hardly pay attention to this subject. To improve this situation, regional schools will be encouraged to visit the cemetery and the information center as part of their regular program. Free information material will be available for schools and visitors.
Restoring the information about the local Jewish community that used the cemeteries, and in particular about who is buried on the cemetery, will be carried out as a student project. The information from the restored burial records will be made available world-wide, in particular through the International Jewish Cemetery Project of the International Association of Jewish Genealogy Societies.
The Rozmberk Society will be responsible for fund raising and for coordinating the actual realization of the project. Once the restorations are completed, the Society will be responsible for management of the information centers, for maintenance of some of the cemeteries, and for continuation of the activities associated with education and raising public awareness. The Jewish Community of Prague will be responsible for the spiritual functions and for project supervision. The Jewish Museum of Prague is involved in supervising the historical research.
Beside the above mentioned, the Society initially was also involved in helping with fund
raising for the restoration of the synagogue of
Nova Cerekev, a project of the Jewish Community of Prague.
Visiting a Jewish cemetery
Most Jewish cemeteries can be visited upon request; most of the gates to the cemeteries are locked. You can make appointments for this through the Jewish Community of Prague.
Contact and cooperation
Activities for restoration of Jewish Heritage and the region are dormant since 2002. However, time allowing, the Society is still interested in the topic and would like to get into contact with Jewish people who
originated from the villages that used the cemeteries we were interested in, that is, Jindrichuv Hradec, Pistina, Straz nad Nezarka, Trebon, Kardasova Recice, Prehorov, and Nova Cerekev or any
The Society is active in helping preserve the regional history. As part of her efforts, the Society would still like to document and help preserve the history of the local Jewish Communities, not only from this century but throughout their entire existence. If you or your ancestors where originally from here, you might be able to help us to complete the documentation with material or information you have related to the local Jewish communities and their history. On the other hand, we might be able to help you to restore your family history or to learn something about the region where your ancestors came from.
If your family came from this region in South Bohemia and you would like to cooperate with us, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any information about the history of any of these Jewish communities or their members, or if you want to be kept informed of any changes on these pages, please sign our guestbook and add your knowledge or request that you want to be kept informed.
History of the Jewish community of: Jindrichuv Hradec, Kardasova Recice
This page was updated 10 January 2007