BOSKOVICE: Blansko, Moravia Print

A Gothic castle ruin dating from the end of the 14th century is located above the town. A chateau was built on the site of the Dominican cloister in the beginning of the 19th century. The Boskovice Jewish community, one of the largest in Moravia, with the Jewish ghetto most probably established in the 15th century  consisted of about 150 houses with up to 2,000 inhabitants. This formerly was the seat of the Moravian Chief Rabbi.The Jewish quarter mostly rebuilt in the 19th century has been declared an urban conservation area. Jews made up one-third of the population in the 19th century.

The rare 1698 Baroque synagogue has been lovingly restored with the help of the World Monuments Fund. The synagogue on Trapl Street has valuable paintings inside with Hebrew liturgical texts from 1705. "The roof and facade have been completed and funds are being put aside each year for the restoration of local murals from 1704/5 which are among the earliest and most interesting Jewish relics in the Czech Republic." [Source] The highly valuable complex of the former ghetto contains a well-preserved school, a spa, a hospital, a rabbi's house, a gate leading to the ghetto and a fountain.  A Jewish festival called Boskovice 2007 (www.unijazz.cz) has successfully promoted the unique Jewish quarter that attracts several thousand visitors annually. The Jewish cemetery is open to the public during the festival while more intimate events will take place in the synagogue (concerts). Around 1997, Jewish Community of Brno that owns and manages the cemetery,  renovated it . The cemetery on Potoční Street on the hillside west of the center was founded in the 16th century at the latest. Almost 2500 gravestones include Baroque and Neo-Classical types. The oldest one date back to 1670. The grave of the learned rabbi Samuel ha-Levi Kolin, also known as Mahazit ha-Shekel (died 1806) is a pilgrimage site. Every second weekend in July the town welcomes young visitors of the Boskovice Festival, dedicated to the conservation and renewal of the Jewish quarter. photo of cemetery and photos, town image and town website with map and photos. Jaroslav Klenovský (right) and stonemason Martin Růžička at the jewish cemetery in Boskovice, photo: Tomáš Trumpeš, www.boskovicko.cz from article [February 2009]

 

The Boskovice Jewish Cemetery: "The Boskovice Jewish cemetery/Židovský Hřbitov contains some 2500 graves dating from the mid 1600's and is situated in the typical position on a hill above the town, far enough away so as not to be in the plain sight of citizens going about their everyday business. The cemetery measures 14258 square metres and is said to be the third-largest in the Czech Republic after those in Prostějov and Frýdek-Místek. ...Even though the Boskovice Jewish cemetery dates only from the 17th century, there was a Jewish community in Boskovice as early as the 14th century. The location of the previous cemetery is not known for certain, but is believed to have been in the same area, some 200m closer to the town. The current cemetery is believed to have been founded when the expanding residential Jewish quarter encroached upon the area of the original one.

Most of the legibly marked graves in the cemetery date from the 18th century. Many of the older gravestones have suffered extensive damage due to the effects of the weather and some have almost disintegrated completely. The graves are arranged in orderly rows, although the rampant ivy and haphazard collection of trees that grew spontaneously in the years after World War Two will try to convince you otherwise. Small pathside stones with Hebrew and Arabic numerals are the markers for individual sections of the cemetery.

The cemetery shows a wide variation in the status of the members of the Jewish community. The graves of the wealthier or more respected citizens are towards the front of the cemetery and many of the gravestones show a high degree of craftsmanship. The most valuable historically are those of the Baroque South-Moravian or Mikulov type, from the middle of the eighteenth century. The style combines the usual elements of headstone design with those of the regional folk art. Typically the main panel of text will be bordered by pilasters at each side and an ornamental scroll at the top. The Mikulov type also incorporates floral and plant motifs into the decorative border area and tends to be of a more ornate overall shape. The gravestones of the less wealthy citizens towards the rear of the cemetery are much plainer, the simplest ones consisting of a rectangular tablet topped by a semicircle.

Most of the more recent (from the mid-19th century) graves are larger, and some are carved from white marble. Unlike the older Hebrew gravestones, the inscriptions are often in German and there are even several in Czech (The German language was not allowed to be used on public memorials after 1945). The last burial took place here in 1949." [February 2009]

The Boskovice Jewish Cemetery
Potoní ulice
Boskovice, Czech Republic

 

US Commission No. CZCE000025
http://www.boskovice.cz/gymnazium/hrbitov/hrbitov.htm has cemetery photos
Alternate/former German name: Boskowitz in Blansko, Morava at 49°29' N, 16°40' E , 40 km N of Brno. Location of cemetery: 500 meters to the SW of town. Present town population is 5,000-25,000 with than 10 Jews.

  • Town: Engineer Zdenek Mechacek, magistrate, Mestsky Urad, Masrykovo namesti C.2, 680 01 Boskovice; tel. 8501/2831 and Marie Sedlakova, Mestsky Urad.
  • Regional: Pavel Safranek, Okresni Urad-Referat Kultury, 678 01 Blansko, tel 0506/825.
  • Interested: Okresni Vlastivedne Muzeum, zamek, 680 01 Boskovice; tel. 8501/2077. Caretaker: Edoard Kolbert, Manesova 11, 680 01 Boskovice; tel. 0. PhDr. Jaroslav Bransky, Janackova 1, 680 01 Boskovice; tel. 8501/2723.

Earliest known Jewish community dates from 1343. 1930 Jewish population (census) was 395 persons. Pest [plague?] in 1715-16; fire in 1696, 1823, 1870, 1882, and 1906. Noteworthy individuals: Rabbis Samuel ha-Levi (1724-1806); Abraham Placzek (1799-1885); and writer Hermann Ungar (1893-1929.) Jewish landmarked (#0406) cemetery originated possibly the 16th century with last known Conservative Jewish burial: 1940s. The isolated suburban hillside has Czech sign mentioning the Jewish Community and famous individuals buried in the cemetery. Reached by turning directly off a public road, access is open via a continuous masonry wall and a continuous fence with non-locking gate. Size of cemetery before and after W.W.II is 14º528 sq. m.

500 to 1,000 gravestones, in original location, with less than 25% toppled or broken, date from 1670-20th century. The marble, granite, limestone, and sandstone flat shaped stones, finely smoothed and inscribed stones, flat stones with carved relief decoration, double tombstone, or multi-stone monuments, have in Hebrew, German, and Czech inscriptions. Some has traces of painting on their surfaces, iron decorations or lettering, bronze decorations or lettering and/or metal fences around graves date. The cemetery is divided into special sections: old and new and contains special memorial monuments to Jewish soldiers. Brno Jewish community owns property used for Jewish cemetery only. Adjacent properties are agricultural. Occasionally, private visitors and local residents stop. Vandalism occurred frequently in the last ten years and between 1945 and ten years ago. Caretaker paid by Brno Jewish Congregation re-erected stones, cleared vegetation, fixed wall and gate annually. Within the limits of the cemetery, is a pre-burial house with wall inscriptions. Vandalism is a serious threat. Security, weather erosion, and vegetation are moderate threats. Incompatible nearby development is a slight threat. Vegetation overgrowth constantly disturbs graves. Water drainage at the cemetery is a seasonal problem.

Eng. Architect Jaroslav Klenovsky, Zebetinska 13, 623 00 Brno; tel. 0 completed survey on 9 November 1991. Documentation: Hugo Gold: Die Juden Bohemens (1934), Herman: Jewish Cemeteries in Bohemia and Moravia (1980), J. Bransky, Boskovice v premenach casu. Other documentation exists. Klenovsky, who conducted no interviews, visited site in November 1991.

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 February 2009 20:53