On the Day, some 50 selected Jewish heritage sites in more than 40 towns in Bohemia, Moravia, and Czech Silesia will be open to visitors. They include synagogues, Jewish cemeteries, museums, and other sites. Some of them are generally closed to the public; some have recently undergone extensive renovation or are in the process of restoration.
The event is organized by the Jewish community in Prague in cooperation with Matana, the administrative body for Jewish property, the Federation of Jewish Communities in the Czech Republic and other regional partners.
The Jewish community in Prague owns 30 synagogues and 175 Jewish cemeteries. Others are owned by some of the 10 Jews communities or the Federation of Jewish Communities,. Others still are in the possession of towns, churches and private owners.
Since the fall of communism, around 70 synagogues have been restored, most of them for cultural use — so the Day of Jewish Monuments actually only takes in a fraction of restored Jewish heritage sites in the country. Many others are well maintained and can also be visited.
Click on the star to find the site — there is historical and other information, but it’s in Czech, so you will have to use google translate. (The mobile app also seems to be only in Czech.)
The sites include wellknown monuments such as the Jeruzalemska synagogue in Prague, , the Great Synagogue in Plzen, and the Synagogue in Mikulov, in southern Moravia on the border with Austria — as well as other synagogues and Jewish buildings that form part of the 10 Stars Jewish heritage network.
But most are not well known, and there are also places that are well off the beaten track.
These, for example, including the beautiful Jewish cemetery in Hřivčice, northwest of Prague, founded probably in the late 17th century.
Another off-the-beaten-track site is the former synagogue in Jirkov, near the German border northwest of Prague.
The small, classicist building, dating from 1847, was used as a warehouse and metal collection center after World War II.
The city purchased the dilapidated building in 2016 with the aim of restoring it, and its surrounded grounds, for use as a social and cultural center.
City government spokesman Vladimir Vacula told JHE that preparatory work should begin this autumn:
The synagogue will host exhibitions, concerts and other social events. The area will include landscaped greenery for visitors’ relaxation, and there will be benches and a podium in the garden.
We look forward to following the progress of this restoration!
The Czech Republic is a small country, and — if you travel by car — it would not be difficult to visit several of the sites in one day.
We have posted about a number of these sites, including last summer, when JHE director Ruth Ellen Gruber visited a number of them, on a “Jewish heritage road trip” around the country.
The full list for the Day of Jewish Monuments includes Jewish sites in the following towns: