KARLOVY VARY: Bohemia Print

Jewish Community:

Židovská obec Karlovy Vary

Bezručova 8, P.O.Box 160

360 21 Karlovy Vary

tel.: 420 35 322 06 58 This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

karlovy vary jewish community in the 50’s">Jewish community photos, tourism and virtual tour site [February 2009]

"The 90-member Jewish community of the Czech spa town of Karlovy Vary is getting its first rabbi since World War II. / Otherwise known as Carlsbad, the Sudetenland resort was famous for its baths, attracting a constant stream of Jewish intellectuals and notables. Its pre-World War II Jewish population numbered several thousand." Source: Dateline World Jewry July 2001.

This famous spa town in western Bohemia prohibited Jews from residing in the town until the 1840s when Jewish population grew rapidly. The synagogue that accomodated 2,000 worshippers, designed by Edwin Oels Oppler, was built in 1877. A popular Jewish resort and meeting place for rabbis and communal leaders, all but four Jews left during the Sudeten crisis in 1937.  [February 2009]

Jewish population: _00 in 1868; 1,069 in 1890, 1,600 in 1910; 2,650 in 1921; and 2,120 in 1930 (8.9% of the total) with an additional 292 in the industrial area of Rybáře (Fischern). Jewish settlement was prohibited from 1499 to 1793. Up tp1848 Jewish residence was contested in litigation initiated by non-Jewish merchants. Authorities generally sided with the Jews. Jews living in the nearby communities of Becov (Petschau; 18 in 1930), Luka (Luck; 21 in 1930), and Hroznetin did business in Karlovy Vary nonetheless. After 1793, Jewish peddlers were permitted in the town. Jews could use the spa during the official season and sick persons in the winter on doctors' orders . A needy Jewish patients hostel was founded in 1847, the first such Jewish institution. Jews began to settle after 1848. Authorization to form a congregation came in 1868 with a synagogue accommodating 2,000 opened in 1877.  Rabbi Ignaz Ziegler officiated from 1888 to 1938 when he fled. In the second half of the 19th century, the Moser family's glass-work factory began. The 12th and 13th Zionist Congresses were held there in 1921 and 1923.  All but four Jews left in 1938. The synagogue was destroyed on Nov. 10, 1938. A community reconstituted in 1945, mostly about 400 Jews from Sub-Carpathian Ruthenia including the members of the congregation and old-age home in Marienbad  A communal center with a synagogue, mikveh, and reading room was built. A Holocaust Memorial was erected in 1956 on the site of the destroyed synagogue demolished in 1983. [sic] The historian Bruno Adler (1889-1968) was born in there, as was Walter Serner (1889-1942), one of the founders of the Dada movement in art, murdered in a concentration camp. The heart of this resort town lies with its twelve hot mineral springs. A favorite vacation spot for royalty and the rich, a drink of the hot water tis said to aid in digestive disorders . Wwim in the outdoor thermal pool all year round. Karlovy Vary is also known for its distinctive pink china and expensive Moser glass. [February 2009]

REFERENCES:

  • I. Ziegler, Dokumente zur Geschichte der Juden in Karlsbad (1913); M. Lamed, in: BLBI, 8(1965), 306-11; H. Gold (ed.), Juden und Judengemeinden Boehmens (1934), 255-9; R. Iltis, Die aussaeen in Traenen... (1959), 15-24.
  • J. Fiedler, Jewish Sights of Bohemia and Moravia (1991), 89-91.
  • Encyclopedia of Jewish Life (2001), p. 597: "Karlovy Vary".
Jewish Community Center, Masaryka 39,Karlsbad, Karlovy Vary, rabbi

In former Sudetenland of the Czech republic, West Bohemia, Richard Svandrlik < This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it > and his son possibly can help. The latter speaks German and English. Together they wrote a book and produced a CD: 1. Richard Švandrlík senior.: Juden in Marienbad. 52 pages, 46 photographs b/w. publ. Mariánské Lázne 2004. and 2. Richard Švandrlík junior.: Die Geschichte der Juden in Marienbad. CD (PDF-Format). See http://www.rijo.homepage.t-online.de/teriblog_de_rez_01.html#Svandrlik [November 2009]

US Commission No. CZCE000279

Also used cemetery at Hroznetin.

Alternate names: Karlovy Vary [Cz], Karlsbad [Ger], Carlsbad [Eng], Kárlovi Váry [Slov], Karlowe Wary [Pol], Karl Vary. Town is in Bohemia-Karlovy Vary at 50°13' N, 12°54' E , 65 km NW of Plzen and 70 miles W of Praha (Prague). Cemetery: 900 meters NNE of main mineral spring "Vridlo" in Hrbitovni (Krusnochorska) Street. Present population is 25,000-100,000 with 10-100 Jews.

  • Town: Mayor Vaclav Lovenc (tel: 017/223-53, 222-56, 246-01, and 246-05), Mestsky Urad, ulice Karla IV. 1, 360 01 Karlovy Vary.
  • Congregation: Evzen Korsky (Jewish congregation leader), Charkovska 10, 260 01 Karlovy Vary, no telephone.
  • Regional: 1. Okresni Urad-Referat Kultury, 360 01 Karlovy Vary; tel. 017/266-21; and 2. Zidovska Nabozenska Obec, Ceskoslovenske armady 39, 360 10 Karlovy Vary (no telephone.)
  • Interested: Statni Zidovske Muzeum, Jachymova 3, 110 01 Praha 1; tel. 02/231-06-34.
  • Caretaker with key: Josef Neruda, Hrbitovni 11 or Chelcickeho 14 (street), 360 01 Karlovy Vary.

1930 Jewish population was 2,526. Settlement by Jews was prohibited until 1848 and again 1853-55. Religious society with rabbinate in Hroznetin was founded in 1854 or 1864 and independent congregation established in 1868. Jewish population steadily increased until Nazi rule's pogrom and expulsion (internment) of Jews in 1938. After Holocaust, congregation revived and still exists. Two World Zionist Congresses (12th in 1921 and 13th in 1923) and the 1947 European Zionist Conference were held in Karlovy Vary. Noteworthy individuals:

  1. family Moser (founders and owners of famous glass factory) as well as native town of the following:
  2. Historian and journalist, Bruno Adler, pseud. Urban Roedl, (1889-1968 London);
  3. Writer and co-founder of Dada Movement, Walter Serner (1889-1942);
  4. Poet and actor, Heinrich Fischer (1896, residing in Munich);
  5. Pianist Edith Kraus, resident of Tel Aviv;
  6. Broaday director, Franz Allers (1905), residing in New York.;
  7. Composer, musicologist, and conductor, Walter Kaufmann, (1907), residing in Indiana, USA;
  8. Ernst Sommer (1888-1965 in London), writer;
  9. Louis Fernberg (1909-1957 in Weimar), writer; and
  10. Sculptor Arnold Zadikow (1884-1943)
all lived in Karlovy Vary, a famous local spa. Jewish cemetery originated in 1869. Moser family and prominent visitors to the spa from various countries are buried in the still active but unlandmarked cemetery. The Jewish community is Conservative or Reform/Progressive.

The suburban hillside, separate but near other cemeteries, has Czech sign and Hebrew mentioning the Jewish Community. Reached by turning directly off a public road, access is open to all during regulated hours. A continuous masonry wall, a continuous fence, and locking gate surround. Size of cemetery before and after WWII: about 1 ha. 500-1000 gravestones, all in original location with less than 25% toppled or broken, date from 1869-20th century. The cemetery is divided into special section: children and Russian grave.

The marble, granite, limestone, and sandstone flat shaped stones, finely smoothed and inscribed stones, flat stones with carved relief decoration, double tombstones, multi-stone monuments, or obelisks have Hebrew, German, Czech, Russian, and Hungarian inscriptions. Some have iron decorations or lettering, bronze decorations or lettering, portraits on stones, and/or metal fences around graves. The cemetery contains special memorial monuments to Holocaust victims and Jewish soldiers. The cemetery contains no known mass graves. Within the limits of the cemetery are a pre-burial house, an ohel, a well, and a caretaker's house. The Jewish community of Karlovy Vary owns the Jewish cemetery. Properties adjacent are the Catholic and Evangelical cemeteries. Frequently, organized Jewish group tours or pilgrimage group, organized individual tours, private visitors, and local residents stop. Vandalism occurred prior to World War II and since. Local non-Jewish residents and Jewish groups within country re-erected stones, patched broken stones, cleaned stones, cleared vegetation, fixed wall, fixing of gate, and new roof on ceremonial hall, mostly in 1985-91. Karlovy Vary Jewish Congregation pays a regular caretaker. Weather erosion and vegetation are slight treats. Vegetation overgrowth seasonally prevents access. Vandalism is a moderate threat.

Dr. Peter Braun, Komenskeho 43, 323 13 Plzen; tel. 019/52-15-58; Rudolf Lowy, Jesenicka 33, 323 23 Plzen; tel. 019/52-06-84; and Jiri Fiedler, z"l, Brdickova 1916, 155 00 Praha 5; tel. 02/55-33-40 completed survey on 1 November 1992. Documentation: 1. Die Juden and Judengemeinden Bohemens...(1934); 2. Vinzenz Prokl: Geschichte der konigl. Stadt Karlsbad (late 19th century.); 3. Jaahrbuch fur die israelische Cultusgemeinden Bohemens... (1893-4); and 4. Jan Herman: Jewish Cemeteries in Bohemia and Moravia (1980). Other documentation was inaccessible. Braun and Lowy visited site in May 1992. J. Neruda in Prague was interviewed in 1992.

Last Updated on Friday, 06 November 2009 20:08