HUMPOLEC: Pelhrimov, Vysočina Region, Bohemia Print

Alternate names: Humpolec [Cz], Humpoletz [Ger], Gumpolds. 49°33' N, 15°22' E, 54 miles SE of Praha (Prague). Jewish population: 343 (in 1880), 89 (in 1930).
town images [February 2009]

  • Town: Mayor Jan Kasal (tel. 0367/2318) and Vice Mayor Zdenek Kadlec, Mestsky Urad, 396 01 Humpolec; tel. 0367/2681.
  • Regional: 1. Okresni Urad, Referat Kultury, 393 01 Pelhrimov; tel. 0366/3107; 2. Ms. Jana Wolfova, Prazska ZNO, Maislova 18, 110 01
  • Praha 1; tel. 02/231-69-25; and 3. Pamatkovy ustav, namesti Premysla Otakara 34, 270 21 Ceske Budejovice; tel. 038/237-92.
  • Interested: 1. Statni Zidovske Muzeum, Jachymova 3, 110 01 Praha 1; tel. 02/231-06-34 or 231-07-85; 2. Okresni Muzeum
  • Masarykovo namesti 12, 393 01 Pehlrimov; tel. 0366/2535; 3. Muzeum A. Hrdlicky, Horni namesti 273, 396 01 Humpolec; tel. 0367/2392; and 4. Local historian: Jaroslava Hypsova, Holeckova 1097, 396 01 Humpolec. Key to cemetery: Technicke sluzby, ulice 35. vyroci osvobozeni, 396 Ol Humpolec; tel. 0367/3259.

website in Czech with photo: landmarked. "The cemetery is located 400 meters east of the town in Burgenland continuation of the street on the green-marked trail to the castle Orlik. Founded between 1710 and 1719 and after two expansions in the 19th century reached 3,658 m2. About 1,000 gravestones from the 18th century (allegedly the oldest from 1719) to 1942. During WWII, the cemetery was heavily damaged by the Nazis. This art, symbolism and distinctive characteristic asymmetric gravestones exist. The cemetery from the late 20th century, restored, with a simple ceremonial hall and a Holocasut memorial plaqu. Buried here include Simon and Mary Mahler, grandparents composer Gustav Mahler. Currently, ongoing maintenance is provided by the cemetery, which is necessary to continue in the coming years as well as the erection of many povalených modern tombstones from the 19th century and early 20th century. " [Sep 2011]

Jewish history and cemetery [January 2001]

map and photos: "The town Humpolec lies on the NW foot of the Českomoravská Vrchovina (Czech-Moravian Uplands) about 17 km NE of the town

of  Pelhřimov. Teutonic Knights founded the town at the beginning of the 13th century (first mention is from 1233). One hundred

years later it was mentioned as a town. At the turn of the 15th century, Humpolec became a centre of the large domain around the Orlík castle.

During the 13th-15th centuries gold and silver were mined here and the drapery developed from the 15th century. In 1807 Humpolec was

promoted to free town.The steep square of the town is divided into two parts with the block of houses and with St. Nicholas' Church.

Both of the parts were reconstructed under the design of Josef Gočár between 1939-1941. The town hall from 1912,  in the Art Nouveau style,

and the museum of Aleš Hrdlička can be seen in the upper square. The former town hall from 1873 and the gallery of Gustav Mahler are

situated in the lower part. The Baroque building of the deanery from 1732 stands beside the church. The "tolerance chapel" can be found

south of the square. The Late-Baroque building originates from the 1780's and was one of the first in Bohemia. Humpolec is the birthplace

of the Hussite preacher Jan Želivský and of the important anthropologist Aleš Hrdlička. The composer Gustav Mahler was born in the

neighbouring small village Kaliště. The old Jewish cemetery from 1716, reconstructed in the 1990's, can be found on the north-eastern

outskirts of Humpolec. February 2009] NEARBY:

Křemešník hill

Sedlice Dam

ruins of the Orlík castle

Želiv monastery

small town Červená Řečice


US Commission No. CZCE000278

Alternate names (German) Gumpolds. Town is in Bohemia, Pelhrimov at 49º33 15º22, 22 km NW of Jihlava and 16 km SW of Havlickuv Brod.

Cemetery: 1 km E of main square. Present population is 5000-25,000 with probably Jewish population fewer than 10.

Earliest known Jewish community was 1724. 1930 Jewish population was 89. A few families were recorded in 14th century but later banished.

New Jewish population began in early 17th century. Peak of Jewish community was in second half of 19th century with 324 people in 1890.

20th century Jews moved to big towns. 11 persons survived the concentration camps. Birthplace of the following: American conductor

Josef Stransky (1872-1936-NY); painter and writer Ernst Mandler (1886-1964-France); and Jacob Lowy (1824-1910) grandfather of Franz Kafka.

The Jewish cemetery originated in the first quarter of 18th century. Buried in the cemetery are rabbis; ancestors of above noteworthy individuals;

relatives of musician Gustav Mahler; and his first love with last known Conservative Jewish burial in 1941 or 1942. Vez (Ger: Wiesch), 8 km;

Lipnice nad Sazavou, 9 km; and Zeliv (Ger: Seelau), 10 km used this cemetery. The cemetery is probably landmarkted but no details given.

The rural (agricultural), isolated hillside has no sign. Reached by turning directly off a public road, access is open with permission via a

continuous masonry wall and locking gate. Size of cemetery before and after WWII: 0.3658 ha.

500-1,000 gravestones, 20-100 are not in original locations and 25%-50% toppled or broken, date from mid-18th century-20th century

Some stones were stolen after WWII. The marble, granite, and limestone flat shaped stones, finely smoothed and inscribed stones,

flat stones with carved relief decoration, or multi-stone monuments, have Hebrew, German, and Czech inscriptions. Some have metal fences

around graves. The cemetery contains no known mass graves. Within the limits of the cemetery is a pre-burial house. Prague Jewish

community owns Jewish cemetery. Adjacent properties are agricultural. Occasionally, organized Jewish group tours or pilgrimage group

and private visitors stop. Vandalism occurred from WWII onward. Local non-Jewish residents, local or municipal authorities, regional or

national authorities, and Jewish groups within country repaired mortuary and re-erected stones in 1989, cleared vegetation in 1969 and 1979,

fixing wall in 1959. Care now is occasional clearing or cleaning by authorities. Frank J. Marlow, née Frantisek Mahler from Los Angeles,

proposed systematic care and indexing of tombstones in 1999. No caretaker. Security (uncontrolled access) and vandalism are moderate

threats due to the secluded spot. Vegetation is a serious threat. The vegetation overgrowth (ivy) in the cemetery is a constant problem

disturbing stones.

Jiri Fiedler, z"l, completed survey on 25 October 1992. Documentation:

1. Die Juden and Judengemeinden Bohemens and Moravia (1980); 2. Ottuv slovnik naucny; 3. Weekly "Hlas", 1992, No. 34;

4. Letter of historian J. Hypsova in 1985. Other documentation exists but was inaccessible: No. 26, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63 in

Archives of Prague Jewish Congregation. Fiedler visited site in 1992 and interviewed a female inhabitant of the house nearest the cemetery

and clerks in the town hall.

Epitaphs: [July 2015]

Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 July 2015 13:03