KOLIN: Bohemia Print

Photos of tombstones with thick, overgrown vegetation and cemetery gate with vandalism and groupings of tombstones with walkway. [February 2009]

cemetery photo [February 2009]

cemetery photos (February 2009)

Jewish Encyclopedia article about Kolin. [February 2009]

 

Chartered in the second half of the 13th century, Jews resided in Kolín as early as the 14th century. TThe new and old cemeteries , the synagogue, the school and some Baroque and Classicist houses have been preserved. Kolín is the scene of annual brass-band festival called "Kmoch´s Kolín" (Kmoch - the famous Bohemian brass-band conductor of the 19th century). [February 2009]

 

In the Central Bohemian Region at 50°1′N 15°12′E, some 55 kilometres east of Prague and on the Elbe river, Kolín was founded by king Přemysl Otakar II in the 13th century under the name Colonia nova (New Colony) (first mentioned in 1261). In 1437, a castle was founded here. Between 1475-1488, Hynek ze Strážnic, a Renaissance writer and son of King George of Poděbrady, lived in the Kolín Castle.The Battle of Kolín was fought on June 18, 1757 during the Seven Years' War, reportedly one of the fiercest battles of this war. The town center has many Gothic and Baroque buildings including main market (Karls Square), the Jewish ghetto and synagogue, a very old and large Jewish cemetery, and the St. Bartholomeus Church from the 13th century. In spring 2005 a new automobile factory employes 3,000 people, cost about 1.5 billion EUR, and has a current capacity of 300,000 cars a year. Wikipedia. [February 2009]

 

KOLIN: (I) US Commission No. CZCE000237

Alternate names: Kolín [Cz], Kolin [Ger], Köln an der Elbe. Town is in Bohemia-Kolin at 50°02' N, 15°12' E , 33 miles E of Praha (Prague), on the Elbe River, in the Central Bohemian Region.. Location of New Cemetery: 1 km N in Veltrubska Street. Present population is 25,000-100,000 probably no Jewish population.

  • Town: Mayor Jiri Buric, Deputy Mayor Jaromir Cabela (home tel. 0321/217-36), Mestsky Urad, Karlovo namesti 78, 280 12 Kolin; tel. 0321/202-16.
  • Regional: 1. Okresni Urad-Referat Kultury, Karlovo namesti, 280 01 Kolin; and 2. Jewish Congregation: Mrs. Jana Wolfova, Zidovska Nabozenska Obec Praha, Maislova 18, 110 01 Praha 1; tel. 02/231-69-25.
  • Interested: 1. Regionalni Muzeum, Brandlova 24/27, 280 02 Kolin; tel. 0321/239-22 and 229-88; 2. Statni Zidovske Muzeum, Jachymova 3, 110 01 Praha 1; tel. 02/231-0634 and 231-0785; and 3. [Regional Conservator of Monuments] MUDr. Bohuslav Prochzka, Ceska 230, 284 01 Kutna Hora; tel. 0327/2621.
  • Caretaker with key: Mr. Sukop, in stone-masonry (Kamenictvi) near the Kolin Municipal Cemetery.

Earliest known Jewish community dates from mid-15th century. 1900 Jewish popuation was 806. 1930 Jewish population was 430. Jews were expelled 1541-64. Peak Jewish population was in mid-19th century with 1700. Jews moved to Prague and Vienna from mid-19th century through early 20th century. Noteworthy resident famous rabbis: Eleazar Kalir (about 1739-1802); Benhamin Volf ha-Levi Boskowitz (probably 1740-1818; Chief Rabbi of Bohemia nad Moravia, Richard Ferer (1875-1970); and American Orthodox Rabbi Bernard Illowy (1812-1871). Noteworthy residents: poets Otokar Fischer (1883-1938) and Camill Hoffmann (1879-1944); writer and technician Joseph Popper-Lynkeus (1838-1921); banking family Petschek; Czechoslovak Defense Minister Lubos Dobrovsky (1932). The still active Conservative Jewish cemetery originated in 1887 with last burial in 1979. Libodrice, (Ger: Libodritz) 9 km away; Planany, (Ger: Planian) 13 km away; and Zasmuky, (Ger: Sasmuk) 14 km away, used this probably is unlandmarked cemetery. The flat suburban site, separate but near other cemeteries, without sign has Jewish symbols on gate or wall. Reached by turning directly off a public road, access is open with permission via a continuous masonry wall and locking gate. Size before WWII: 0.9471 ha. Present size is about 0.8 ha. Compared to 1939, cemetery boundaries are smaller because of a housing development.

500-1000 gravestones, all in original location with 25%-50% toppled or broken, date from about 1888-20th century. The marble, granite, limestone, sandstone, and artificial stone flat shaped stones, finely smoothed and inscribed stones, flat stones with carved relief decoration, sculpted monuments, or multi-stone monuments have Hebrew, German, and/or Czech inscriptions. Some have bronze decorations/lettering or other than metallic elements, portraits on stones, and/or metal fences around graves. The cemetery contains special memorial monuments to Holocaust victims and marked mass graves. Within the limits of the cemetery is a well. Praha Jewish community owns and uses the site for Jewish cemetery only. Properties adjacent are forest, residential, and car sheds. Occasionally, private visitors stop. Vandalism occurred during World War II by an air raid. Jewish groups within country re-erected stones, patched broken stones, cleaned stones, cleared vegetation, fixed wall and gate after 1956. Occasional current care is by regular caretaker paid by Praha Jewish Congregation. Security (uncontrolled access) and vandalism are slight threats. Vegetation overgrowth is a constant problem, disturbing graves.

Jiri Fiedler, z"l, Brdickova, 1916, 155 00 Praha 5; tel. 02/55-33-40 completed survey on 15 June 1992. Documentation: 1. Notes of Statni Zidovske Muzeum Praja (1965); and 2. Notes of the last member of the post-war Jewish congregation, Mr. Karel Polacek (1977). Other documentation exists but was inaccessible: Nos. 14, 26, 36, 60, 61, 62, 63, materials of the Prague Jewish Congregation [Mrs. Jana Wolfova]. Fiedler visited site in June 1992. No interviews.
KOLIN II:     US Commission No. CZCE000238

The Regionalni Muzeum holds Old Cemetery key. This Jewish cemetery originated probably in mid-15th century. Buried in the cemetery are Rabbi Bezalel ben Jehuda Liva-Low (1599, son of famous Rabbi Jehuda ben Bezalel Liva-Loew of Prague), Rabbi Kalir, and other rabbis with last known Conservative burial was 1887. The landmarked isolated urban hillside has Czech sign and Jewish symbols on gate or wall. 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 WWII: 1.1017 ha. Present size is 0.98 ha. Compared to 1939, cemetery boundaries are smaller because of hobby clubs.

500-1000 gravestones, some in original location and less than 25% toppled or broken, date from 1492-20th centuries. The cemetery has a special section for rabbis. The marble, granite, limestone, sandstone, and gneiss flat shaped stones, finely smoothed and inscribed stones, flat stones with carved relief decoration, multi-stone monuments, or obelisks, some with metal fences around graves, have Hebrew, German, and/or Czech inscriptions. No structures. Praha Jewish community owns the property used for Jewish cemetery only. Properties adjacent are residential. Occasionally, organized Jewish group tours or pilgrimage group and private visitors stop. The cemetery probably never was vandalized. Regional Museum in Kolin and Jewish groups within country occasionally re-erected stones, cleared vegetation, and fixed wall. Occasional clearing or cleaning by individuals paid by the Jewish Congregation or the Regional Museum. No caretaker. Security (uncontrolled access), incompatible development (planned or proposed), and vandalism pose slight threats. Vegetation is a serious threat. The ivy overgrowth in the cemetery is a constant problem, disturbing graves.

Jiri Fiedler, z"l, Brdickova, 1916, 155 00 Praha 5; tel. 02/55-33-40 completed survey on 16 June 1992. Documentation: Hugo Gold: Die Juden and Judengemeinden Bohemens (1934); V. Hamackova & J. Sedinova: Stary zidovsky hrbitov v Koline (1987). Other documentation exists but was inaccessible: Nos. 36, 59, 60, 61, 63, 64 in archives of Prague Jewish Congregation (Mrs. Jana Wolfova). Fiedler visited site in 1977 and June 1992 and interviewed Karel Polacek, (deceased) the last Jewish custodian of the cemetery.

BOOK AND INFORMATION: Hamackova, Vlastimila and Sedinova, Jirina. The Old Jewish Cemetery at Kolin. Judaica Bohemiae, Volume 20, No.2, Prague 1984, pg. 112-124 translated from French by Edmund U. Cohler, excerpted here with permission of Edmund Cohler; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . "The old cemetery is among the oldest and most important in Bohemia, with the settlement of Jews in Kolin going back to 1410. The cemetery was founded in the middle of the 15th century and was in use until 1887, when a new cemetery was founded at Kolin-Zalabi. The old Jewish Cemetery of Kolin is on the W of the historic city square of Kolin. It is an irregular polygon boardered by the streets Na Petrine, Slunecni, Prazska, Kmochova and Nad Zastavkou. A path, going from E to W and tranversing the entire cemetery, joins the gate on Kmochova Street to that of Slunecni Street. The cemetery is locked with a key which according to the instructions written on the gates, is at the disposal of visitors in the Regional Museum in the City Square. This museum also organizes the maintenance of the cemetery by volunteers. The tombs are grouped in irregular rows in a north-S direction. Inscriptions in general are towards the E. In the eastern part are those generally dating from the 15th to the 19th century, not in chronological order. In the W ern part are tombs primarily from the second half of the 19th century." The article continues describing the types of tombs found during which centuries as well as mentioning a few prominent stones.

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 February 2009 02:17