In February 2014 Jíří Fiedler and his wife, Dagmar were brutally murdered in their apartment in Prague.  In January 2015 a suspect was arrested.  Authorities believe the motive was robbery.  Mr. Fielder was a torchbearer for Czech Jewish history, often at great risk to himself.  If it wasn't for his lifelong dedication to the subject, much of what is known about historic Jewish communities in the Czech Republic would have been lost to the ravages to Nazism, Communism, and time.  More information on his life and death can be found here: Eulogy for a Source

 

 

Medieval and Renaissance Jewish Communities in the Modern Czech Republic, Taken From Old Bohemian and Moravian Jewish Cemeteries

 

The source for this article is:

Ehl, Peter, Arno Pařík, and Jíří Fiedler. Old Bohemian and Moravian Jewish Cemeteries. Paseka Prague:1991

 

Jíří Fiedler is in charge of documenting Jewish communities for the Jewish Museum in Prague and is considered the torchbearer for the preservation of Jewish Czech history and architecture.  Dr. Arno Pařík, also affiliated with the Jewish Museum in Prague, specializes in the history and architecture of the Jewish Quarter in Prague.

 

Jews have been found in the Czech Republic since at least the 900's and much earlier in other parts of Europe.  For the use of those with an interest in medieval Central Europe, I have compiled a list of names of communities with significant Jewish populations during that time period, within the area of what is known today as the Czech Republic.

 

The book is primarily a record of fading Jewish cemeteries in the Czech Republic.  The book includes summaries of each town in which a Jewish cemetery was found, with dates of the Jewish community.  I have listed the Czech and German town names, followed by the region the town each town is in, and the dates of each community.

 

The modern-day Czech Republic is encompasses all or part of three major historical regions.  Bohemia covers the western half of the Czech Republic.  Moravia encompasses most of the southeast.  A small region of the northeast is Czech Silesia. Most of Silesia lies in Poland, with a small bit in Germany as well.  More information, with maps and links to articles on each territory, and be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Czech_lands.

 

Jews are known to be in the area as early as the 10th century.  Jews in the Czech Republic encountered hostility throughout the Middle Ages.  Some of the periods of the worst persecution were the early 13th century, the Hussite Wars (1420's and 1430's), in the 1450's in Silesian and Moravian royal towns, and at various times through the late 15th and early to mid 16th centuries.

 

Neither the text nor the photographs allow for identifying individuals.  However, the author draws some generalizations on the names found on tombstones.  Male biblical names are found through the centuries.  Female names are subject to more variation, including folk names, descriptions of good character or beauty, flowers, and birds.  A community or country of origin appended to personal names is not found until the 16th century.

 

The authors classify Jewish presence in towns as "settlement" and "community."  I have listed the earliest dates of these categories according to the authors' use of the terms.  Unfortunately, they do not define these categories.  I interpret "settlement" to mean the presence of Jews living in a town, possibly only a few families, whereas "community" suggests a larger, more organized group.  All the Jewish communities in this book seem to be from state-sponsored ghettos that were part of a larger town.  There are no free-standing Jewish towns.  The extent of interaction/assimilation between Jews these towns and their Christian neighbors was beyond the scope of the book.

 


List of Towns

 

TOWN

GERMAN NAME

LOCATION

SETTLEMENT

COMMUNITY

NOTES

BECHYNĚ

Beuhin

S Bohemia

early 16th c.

1st half 17th c.

 

BOSKOVICE

Boskowitz

NW Moravia

--

15th c.

 

BRANDÝS NAD LABEM

Brandeis a.d. Elbe

Central Bohemia

--

1515

 

BŘEZNICE

Bresnitz

SW Bohemia

16th c.

16th c.

 

BRNO

--

--

--

13th c.

 

BUDYNĚ NAD OHŘÍ

Budin

N Bohemia

1st half 16th c.

early 17th c.

 

BZENEC

Bisenz

S Moravia

--

2nd half 16th c.

Settlement allegedly from 14th c.

CHEB

--

--

--

14th c.

 

CHODOVÁ PLÁNA

Kuttenplan

W Bohemia

2nd half 16th c.

early 18th c.

 

ČKYNĚ

Tschkyn, Kieselhof

S Bohemia

mid 16th c.

1st half 18th c.

 

DOBRUŠKA

Dobruska, Gutenfeld

NE Bohemia

1st half 16th c.

17th c.

 

HEŘMANŮ MĚSTEC

Hermanstĺdtel

E Bohemia

1st half 15th c.

1st half 16th c.

 

HOLEŠOU

Holleschau

Central Moravia

2nd half 15th c.

1st half 16th c.

 

HUMPOLEC

Gumpolds

SE Bohemia

2nd half 14th c.

1st quarter 18th c.

Jews disappeared from this town sometime after the first settlement, reappeared 1st quarter 17th c.

IVANČICE

Eibenschitz, Eibenschütz

SW Moravia

2nd half 15th c.

2nd half 16th c.

Settlement allegedly 13th c.

JIČÍN

Gitschin

NE Bohemia

2nd half 14th c.

17th c.

 

JINDŘICHŮV HRADEC

Neuhaus

--

--

late 16th c.

Settlement probably late 13th c.

JISTEBNICE

Gistebnitz, Jistebnitz

S Bohemia

1st half 16th c.

1st half 17th c.

 

KASEJOVICE

--

SW Bohemia

2nd half 16th c.

1st quarter 17th c.

 

KOLÍN

--

Central Bohemia

early 14th c.

1st half 15th c.

Important Moravian Jewish community.

KOLINEC

--

SW Bohemia

17th c.

18th c.

Settlement allegedly 14th c.

KORYČANY

Koritschan

S Moravia

2nd half 16th c.

1st half 17th c.

 

KOSOVA HORA

Amschelberg

Central Bohemia

2nd half 16th c.

2nd half 17th c.

 

KRÁSNÁ LÍPA

Schönlind

W Bohemia

16th c.

1st half 18th c.

 

KYNŠPERK NAD OHŘÍ

Königsberg a.d. Eger

W Bohemia

mid 14th c.

14th c.

Settlement probably earlier.

LEDEČ NAD SÁZAVOU

--

SE Bohemia

1st quarter 16th c.

early 17th c.

 

LIBOCHOVICE

--

N Bohemia

2nd half 15th c.

2nd half 16th c.

 

LOŠTICE

Loschitz

N Moravia

1st half 16th c.

2nd half 16th c.

 

LUKAVEC

--

SE Bohemia

1st half 16th c.

1st quarter 18th c.

 

LUŽE

--

E Bohemia

late 16th c.

17th c.

 

LÁZNĚ KYNŽVART

Königsvart

--

-

15th c.

 

MIKULOV

Nikolsburg

S Moravia

1st half 15th c.

1st half 16th c.

Community probably from 15th c.  Important Jewish community from 16th - 19th c.  Second behind Prague in Jewish population.

MIROTICE

--

S Bohemia

1st half 16th c.

2nd half 17th c.

 

MIROVCE

--

S Bohemia

2nd half 16th c.

late 17th c.

 

MLADÁ BOLESLAV

Jungbunzlau

Central Bohemia

2nd half 15th c.

2nd half 15th c.

Important Jewish cultural and printing center.

OSOBLAHA

Hotzenplotz

NE Silesia

1st half 14th c.

--

Community probably 15th c.  Large Jewish community.

POHOŘELICE

Porlitz

S Moravia

late 15th c.

1st half 17th c.

Community probably 15th c.

POLNÁ

SE Bohemia

--

1st half 16th c.

late 16th c.

 

PRAHA

Prag

Central Bohemia

--

12th c.

Community probably 11th c.  Prague, capital of Czech Republic.  One of the most important Jewish communities in medieval Europe.  A 13th c. synagogue still stands there today.

RABÍ

--

SW Bohemia

late 15th c.

1st quarter 18th c.

Community probably 15th c.

RADNICE

--

W Bohemia

1st half 16th c.

early 19th c.

Settlement allegedly 15th c., community also probably older than 19th c.

RAKOVNÍK

Rakonitz

Central Bohemia

1st half 15th c.

1st quarter 18th c.

Community probably 17th c.

ROUDNICE NAD LABEM

Raudnitz a.d. Elbe

N Bohemia

1st half 16th c.

late 16th c.

Settlement probably older.

ROUSÍNOV

Neu-Raussnitz

Central Moravia

mid 16th c.

late 16th c.

Settlement probably 15th c.

RYCHNOV NAD KNĚŽ NOC

Reichenau

E Bohemia

1st half 16th c.

early 17th c.

 

SLAVKOV U BRNA

Austerlitz

Central Moravia

1st half 14th c.

15th c.

Settlement probably 2nd half 13th c.

STRÁŽNICE

Strassnitz

S Moravia

late 15th c.

1st half 17th c.

Community allegedly existed in early 15th c. but disappeared during the Hussite Wars.  Re-established later.

ŠVIHOV

Schwihan

SW Bohemia

2nd half 16th c.

2nd half 17th c.

 

TACHOV

Tachau

W Bohemia

15th c.

mid 16th c.

Settlement and community allegedly 13th c.

TOVAČOV

Tobitschau

Central Moravia

1st half 16th c.

early 17th c.

Settlement probably 15th c.

TŘEBÍČ

Trebitsch

SW Moravia

1st half 15th c.

mid 16th c.

 

TURNOV

--

N Bohemia

1st half 16th c.

1st half 17th c.

 

VHERSKÝ BROD

Ungarisch-Brod

SE Moravia

15th c.

early 17th c.

Large and important Moravian Jewish community.

VELKĚ MEZIŘÍČÍ

Gross-Meseritsch

W Moravia

early 16th c.

early 16th c.

Settlement probably older.

VOLYNĚ

Wolin

S Bohemia

1st quarter 16th c.

1st quarter 18th c.

Community probably 16th c.

VOTICE

Wotitz

Central Bohemia

1st half 16th c.

1st half 16th c.

Settlement probably older.

ZNOJO

--

--

--

13th c.

 

 

"--" indicates data not found.

 

Written by Mara Kaminowitz. This article was published in the proceedings of the 2006 Known World Heraldic Symposium.