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BOHUMIN: Karvina, Silesia PDF Print E-mail

Coat of arms of Bohumíntown image, town web site in Czech, and web site : "Historical documents regarding the first centuries of the town are scarce. King Louis II granted the town and château of Bohumín to George, Margrave of Brandenburg-Ansbach in 1523. The town began to develop during rule by the House of Hohenzollern, although further development of Bogumin was halted by frequent epidemics of bubonic plague and floodings of the Olza. It was officially known in German as Oderberg, and by the end of the 16th century the majority of citizens followed Protestantism. The successor after the Hohenzollerns in 1620 was Lazar Henckel, whose family of bankers and entrepreneurs hailed from Habsburg-ruled Hungary. In 1624 only 138 permanent residents lived in the town. After defeating Maria Theresa of Austria during the Silesian Wars, King Frederick II of Prussia annexed most of Silesia, although Oderberg remained in Austrian Silesia. The town successively became part of the Austrian Empire (1804) and Austria-Hungary (1867).

At the end of the 19th century a wire and rolling mill was built by German industrialists from Berlin, Albert Hahn and Heinrich Eisner. In 1872 the important Kassa-Oderberg railway line was opened to traffic; this increased the town's importance and contributed to the Polish - Czechoslovak dispute over Cieszyn Silesia after World War I.

After the division of Cieszyn Silesia in 1920, the town became part of Czechoslovakia. Following the Munich Agreement, Bohumín and the Zaolzie region were annexed by Poland in October 1938. The town was then annexed by Nazi Germany at the beginning of World War II. After the war it was restored to Czechoslovakia and the remaining German population was expelled westward.

There are few historical buildings remaining in Bohumín. It was always small with mostly wooden houses, which burnt down in frequent fires, as did the old town hall with its high tower. An old church still remains; it was rebuilt in 1850 from its Gothic style to its current form. Another landmark is a tomb of the Henckels, former owners of Bohumín."[February 2009]


US Commission No.CZCE000062
Alternate/former German name: Oderberg in Karvina, Slezsko [Silesia] at 49*55' 18*20', 10 km N of Ostrava. Present town population is 5,000-25,000 with fewer than 10 Jews. Location of cemetery: 1.5 km NW on? Mirova Street.

  • Town: magistrate Antonin Stervka, Mestsky Urad, Masarykova 158, 735 81 Bohumin; tel. 06992/3123.
  • Local: Sarka Rakusova, Mestsky Urad-Referat Kultury, same address as above; tel. 06992/3141.
  • Regional: Denisa Klapsiova, Okresni Urad-Referat Kultury, Zakladatelska 974, 733 00 Karvina-Nove mesto, tel 0993/45641; and Okresni Vlastivedne Muzeum, dir. PhDr. Vera Tomolova, Hlavni tr. 13, 737 01 Cesky Tesin; tel. 0659/55060.
  • Interested: Cirkev adventistu 7, dne, Mirova ulica [Street], 735 81 Bohumin; tel. 0, holder of the key and caretaker.

Earliest known Jewish community dates from second half of the 19th century. 1930 Jewish population was 754 persons. Arthur Zanker, 1890-1957, poet, lived here. Jewish unlandmarked cemetery originated in 1898 with last known Conservative Jewish burial in 1950s. The urban flat land, separate but near other cemeteries, has Czech sign mentioning Jews and the Jewish Community. Reached by turning directly off a public road, access is open via a continuous masonry wall and a continuous fence with a locking gate. Size of cemetery before WWII was about 80x60 meters. Present size of cemetery is about 80x30 meters. Compared to 1939, cemetery boundaries are smaller because of new roads or highways and commercial or industrial development.

20-100 gravestones in original location with 25%-50% toppled or broken date from 1898-20th century. The marble and granite flat shaped stones, finely smoothed and inscribed stones monuments, or obelisks, have Hebrew, German, and Czech inscriptions. Some have iron decorations or lettering. The cemetery contains no known mass graves. Ostrova Jewish community owns property used for Jewish cemetery only. Properties adjacent are commercial or industrial. Occasionally, private visitors stop. Vandalism occurred between 1945 and ten years ago. Jewish groups within country cleared vegetation and fixed wall in the 1970s. Care now is occasional clearing or cleaning by individuals. Within the limits of the cemetery is a pre-burial house with wall inscriptions. Weather erosion, pollution, vegetation, vandalism, and incompatible nearby development are slight threats. Vegetation overgrowth a constant problem that is disturbing graves.

Eng. Architect Jaroslav Klenovsky, Zebetinska 13, 623 00 Brno; tel. 0 completed survey on 3 January 1992 using Jan Herman: Jewish Cemeteries in Bohemia and Moravia (1980) as documentation. Klenovsky, who conducted no interviews, visited site in 1990.

Vandals desecrated a Jewish cemeteryin 2007 by knocking over and destroying 25 gravestones. The cemetery had been renovated and reopened to the public only two weeks prior to the desecration. The municipality of Bohumin plans to increase security and has offered assistance to help repair the damage. [February 2009]

Last Updated on Monday, 23 February 2009 12:20
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