JISTENBNICE: Tabor, Bohemia Print

map and photos: "The small town Jistebnice lies about 11 km NW of the town of Tábor on the stream Cedron, which is also called Smutná (Unhappy) on the lower reaches. Jistebnice is first mentioned as a market village under the ownership of the Rožmberks in 1262. The Rožmberk family owned it until the second half of the 15th century, when Jistebnice had been a town for one hundred years. The Rožmberks built the fortress here; its remains are preserved. The Gothic St. Michael's Church from the 14th century stands in the square on the site of the original Romanesque building. Its Baroque appearance originates from the last reconstruction, which finished in 1718. The Pseudo-Gothic town hall, situated in the square too, is from 1889.
The small chateau, situated on the southern outskirts of the town and built in the style of the English castle in Windsor in the 19th century, is surrounded with an English park. The Chapel of St. Mary Magdalen towers above the town on the hill called Vyšehrad on the site of an older small church in 1861. The Stations of the Cross led to the chapel, but only 13 stone crosses have been preserved. Medieval relic, the illuminated hymn-book from the first half of the 15th century known as Jistebnice Hymnal, deposited in church archive in Jistebnice was found by Leopold Katz, the author of the History of the town Jistebnice in 1872. The hymn-book contains words and scores of the Hussite chorals.  The painter and graphic artist Richard Lauda lived in Jistebnice." [February 2009] NEARBY:

Javorová Skála hill

Čertovo Břemeno hill

ruins of the Borotín castle

village Nadějkov


US Commission No. CZCE000346

German name: Jistenbnitz, Gistebnitz. Town is in Bohemia-Tabor at 49º 29' 14º 32', 13 km NW of Tabor and 57 km N of Ceske Budejovice. Cemetery: 2 km W of town. Present population is 1000-5000 with no Jews.

  • Town: Obecni urad, 391 33 Jistebnice; tel. 036/94301 or 94331.
  • Regional: 1. Jewish Congregation: ZNO Praha (Ms. Jana Wolfova), Maislova 18, 110 01 Praha 1; tel. 02/2318664 and 2. Okresni Urad-Referat Kultury, Palackeho 350, 390 01 Tabor; tel. 0361/22646.
  • Interested: 1. Husitske Muzeum, namesti Mikulase z Husi 44, 390 01 Tabor; tel. 0361/22242 and 2. Statni Zidovske Muzeum, Jachymova 3, 110 01 Praha 1; tel. 02/2310634.

Earliest known Jewish community was early 17th century. 1930 Jewish population was 19. All Jewish houses burned in 1721. Jewish population peaked in 1848 with about 90 people. Later, Jews moved to big cities. Independent congregation disbanded after 1930. Native town of the following: prominent leader of Czech-Jewish movement and patron of arts, Leopold Katz (1854-1927); numismatist Viktor Katz (1880-1940); communist journalist hanged in R. Stransky trial, Andre Simone (aka Otto Katz) (1895-1952). The landmarked Jewish cemetery originated before 1640. Rabbis and Viktor Katz are buried here; last known Conservative or Reform/Progressive Jewish burial before 1943. The isolated rural (agricultural) hillside has no sign. Reached by crossing private property by the edge of field, access is open to all via a broken masonry wall (in quite good shape) and non-locking gate. Size of cemetery before and after WWII: 0.2158 ha.

100-500 gravestones, 20-100 not in original locations and less than 25%-50% toppled or broken, date from 1640-20th century. The granite, limestone, and sandstone flat shaped stones, finely smoothed and inscribed stones, flat stones with carved relief decoration, double tombstones, or multi-stone monuments have Hebrew, German, and/or Czech inscriptions. Some have iron decorations or lettering and/or tin roofs. The cemetery contains no known mass graves. Within the limits of the cemetery is a pre-burial house with a stone table (tahara). Praha Jewish community owns the site used only for Jewish cemetery purposes. Adjacent properties are recreational. Occasionally, organized Jewish group tours or pilgrimage group, private visitors, and local residents stop. Vandalism occurred during World War II. Past maintenance: restoration unnecessary as cemetery is in good shape. Current care: none. Security (uncontrolled access), vandalism, and vegetation are moderate threats. Vegetation overgrowth seasonally prevents access. Weather erosion, pollution, and incompatible nearby development (existing) 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 in August 1992. Documentation: 1. R. Cikhart: Minulost mesta Jistebnice (1925); 2. Jan Herman: Jewish Cemeteries in Bohemia and Moravia (1980); 3. Archives of Statni Zidovske Muzeum Praha; 4. Censuses of 1723, 1849, 1930, 1991. Other documentation was inaccessible. 78. Mertl visited site on 18 July 1992. No interviews.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 17 February 2009 15:58