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Alternate names: Benešov [Cz], Beneschau [Ger]. 49°47' N, 14°41' E, 23 miles SSE of Praha (Prague). 1900 Jewish population: 447. Benešov is a town [website] and district in the Central Bohemian Region, about 25 mi SE of Prague. The Konopiště castle and Czech national mountain Blaník are near the town. Benešov settlement began in the 11th century. The older of the two local Jewish cemeteries contains a "house of prayer" with a display documenting the misfortunes of the Jewish Community of Benešov during World War II. [February 2009]

Benesov I

website in Czech with photo:

"The new [landmarked] cemetery is located 500 meters NE of Masaryk Square in the city cemetery. Founded in 1883, the contains about 300 gravestones since its establishment in WWII. At the beginning of the 1990s, the cemetery was cleaned, the ceremonial hall repaired and is used as a Holocaust memorial and has an exhibition devoted to the Jewish community Benes. Buried here including thirteen victims of the railway death transport in early 1945, many important personalities of the region, such as Rabbi Dr. Moses stencils and Chief Financial Board JUDr. Viktor Budlovský. Between 2008 and 2009 all toppled tombstones were raised, so at present only ongoing maintenance is required. [September 2011]

(old cemetery):

website in Czech with photo:

"The [landmarked] old cemetery is located in the center of Prague. Founded probably in the 17th century, after 1980 it was gradually liquidated then was most of the remaining tombstones was transferred to the new cemetery. The rest of the cemetery and the remaining 19 tombstones from the 18th and 19 century were surrounded by walls in the late 1990s. The whole cemetery is cleaned, so now only routine maintenance cemetery is required " [September 2011]

US Commission No. CZCE000213:

Cemetery: 100 meters NW of square in Nova Prazska Street called the Old Cemetery. German alternate/former name: Benešov [Cz], Beneschau [Ger] Beneschau in Benesov, Bohemia at 49°47' N, 14°41' E, 38 km SSE of Prague. Present town population is 5,000-25,000 with fewer than 10 Jews.

  • Town: Mestsky Urad, 256 01 Benesov u Prahy.
  • Regional: 1. Okresni Urad, Referat Kultury, 256 01Benesov u Prahy; 2. (Jewish congregation) Zidovska Nabozenska Obec, (Ms. Jana Wolfova), Maislova 18, 110 01 Praha 1; tel. 02/2318664; and 3. PhDr. Jiri Tywoniak (District Conservator of Monuments), 256 01 Benesov u Prahy; tel. 0301/23618.
  • Interested: Okreni Muzeum Benesov, Male namesti 74, 256 01 Benesov u Prahy and Statni Zidovske Muzeum, Jachymova 3, 110 01 Praha 1; tel. 02/231-06-34 or 231-07-85. The municipal authorities have the key and are caretaker.
  • May have information: Otilie Ornsteinova, Bezrucova 1271, 256 01 Benesov u Prahy; tel. 0201/23228 and Miroslav Brchel, Jiriho Franka 1637, 256 01 Benesov u Prahy.

Earliest known Jewish community is allegedly 1679, but probably 18th century. 1900 Jewish population was 447. 1930 Jewish population (census) was 237. The unlandmarked Jewish cemetery originated before 1688. Rabbis are buried in the cemetery. Date of the last probably Conservative Jewish burial was about 1883. Bystrice (Ger: Bistritz) used this isolated flat urban site without sign about 6 km away. Reached by turning directly off a public road, access is open with permission with a broken masonry wall but not the original one and locking gate surround. Size of cemetery before W.W.II was probably 0.0757 ha. Present size of cemetery is 0.03 ha.

The original cemetery land is a lapidarium with 19 tombstones, 25% broken. Stones removed from the cemetery were incorporated into roads or structures; 9 are in the new cemetery with about 65 tombstones buried in this cemetery. The buried tombstones date from 1687 OR mid 18th-century to 19th centuries. The limestone and sandstone flat shaped stones, finely smoothed and inscribed stones, or one round column have Hebrew inscriptions. The cemetery contains no known mass graves. The municipality owns the property used as a lapidarium (symbolical cemetery). Adjacent properties are parking, street, and unused plots. Compared to 1939, boundaries are smaller because of new roads. Occasionally, private visitors and local residents stop. The original cemetery was demolished by both local authorities of Benesov and by Praha Jewish Congregation in 1984-1985. Maintenance is the new wall and building of lapidarium by individuals or groups of non-Jewish origin and local or municipal authorities in 1985. The municipal authority and caretaker provides care paid by local contributions. Security is a slight threat.

Ladislav Mertl [Mgr. of Geography, Kubanske namesti 1322/17, Praha 10-Vrsovice; tel. 02/743213] and Jiri Fiedler, z"l, [Brdickova 1916, 155 00 Praha 5; tel. 02/55-33-40] completed survey in June 1992. Documentation: 1. Kajetan Turek: Prispevek k dejinam sidu v Benesove (1925); 2. J. Herman: Jewish Cemeteries in Bohemia and Moravia (1980); 3. Letters of M. Brchel (listed above) from 1984-1985; and 4. 1930 and 1991 censuses. Other documentation was inaccessible. Ladislav Mertl who interviewed Dr. J. Tywoniak in 1987 visited site on 7 June 1992.

BENESOV II: (new cemetery) US Comm CZCE 0000214

Cemetery: 0.5 km NE of the main square. See BENESOV I for details of town.

Zdenek Vesely, Na Karlove 78, 256 01 Benesov; tel. 0301/22563 has the key and is caretaker.

This Jewish cemetery originated in 1883. Buried here is Mojzis Blan (died 1933), well-known rabbi of Golcuv Jenikov with last known probably Conservative Jewish burial was during W.W.II. Bystrice (Ger: Bistritz) [6 km from Benesov] and Tynec nad Sazabou (Ger. Jenikov) about 9 km away used this unlandmarked cemetery. A low wall and a gate separate the urban hillside, part of a municipal cemetery. The cemetery has a sign in Hebrew commenting on human fate: "From dust to dust". Reached by turning directly off a public road, then from the municipal cemetery through the gate or through the ceremonial hall, access is through a gate. A slightly broken masonry wall with a locking gate surrounds the cemetery. Size of cemetery before and after WWII is 0.2 ha.

100-500 gravestones, 20-100 gravestones not in original locations, include about 10 tombstones transferred from the old cemetery. 25-50% toppled or broken. Stones removed from the cemetery are incorporated into roads or structures. Stones date from 1882-20th century. The granite and sandstone flat shaped stones, finely smoothed and inscribed stones, flat stones with carved relief decoration, or multi-stone monuments have Hebrew, German, and Czech inscriptions. The cemetery contains special memorial monuments to murdered families but no known mass graves. Prague Jewish community owns Jewish cemetery only. Adjacent properties are agricultural and municipal cemetery. Occasionally, private visitors and local residents stop. Vandalism occurred during World War II, occasionally in the last ten years, and between 1945 and ten years ago. Local non-Jewish residents and Jewish groups within the country re-erected stones after W.W.II, occasionally cleared vegetation, and fixed wall and fixed gate in the last five years. The regular caretaker is paid by a local contribution. Within the limits of the cemetery is a pre-burial house with a tahara (table) and wall paintings. Security (uncontrolled access), weather erosion, and vandalism are slight threats.

Ladislav Mertl [Mgr. of Geography, Kubanske namesti 1322/17, Praha 10-Vrsovice; tel. 02/743213] and Jiri Fiedler, z"l [Brdickova 1916, 155 00 Praha 5; tel. 02/55-33-40] completed survey in June 1992. Documentation: 1. Kajetan Turek: Prispevek k dejinam zidu v Benesove (1925); 2. Jewish Cemeteries in Bohemia and Moravia(1980); and 3. Census 1930, 1991. Other documentation exists but was inaccessible, namely US Commission No. 22, 26, 35, 36, 60, 61, 62, 64 in archives of Prague Jewish Congregation. Mertl visited site on 23 June 1992 and interviewed the caretaker Zdenek Vesely, Na Karlove 788, 256 01 Benesov; tel. 0301/22563 many times in the past, always in Benesov.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 September 2011 16:24
 
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