KRNOV: Bruntal, Silesia, Moravia Print

town image [February 2009]

  • ShtetLinks:
  • partial burial list [February 2009]
  • JOWBR: Jewish Cemetery
  • Jagendorf Concentration Camp [February 2009]
  • website. Krnov (German: Jägerndorf, new-Polish: Krnów, old-Polish: Karniów, Latin: Carnovia) is an Upper Silesian city in the northeastern Czech Republic, in Moravian-Silesian Region, in the District of Bruntál, on the Opava River near the Polish border. An industrial center, it manufactures textiles (especially woolens) and musical instruments (organs). A summer resort and a winter sport area, the city was founded in 1221 and served as the capital of an independent duchy from 1377 to 1523. Krnov has an 18th century castle and several churches and abbeys. According to the Austrian census of 1910 the town had 16,681 inhabitants, 15,647 of whom had permanent residence. Census asked people for their native language, 15,390 (98.4%) were German-speaking and 247 (1.5%) were Czech-speaking. Jews were not allowed to declare Yiddish, most of them thus declared the German language as their native. Most populous religious groups were Roman Catholics with 15,290 (91.7%), followed by Protestants with 885 (5.3%) and the Jews with 459 (2.8%). [February 2009] Wikipedia
  • The Krnov Synagogue:  "The former Jewish temple situated in Krnov in Upper Silesia is the only synagogue in the Moravia-Silesia Region that has kept its original appearance and is accessible to tourists. It is one of the two existing buildings in the Czech Republic with preserved Arabic-Spanish interiors.

    The Interior of the Synagogue: The synagogue is situated behind the post office (?eská pošta), on the corner of the Soukenická and Barví?ská Street. It was built in 1871 by the builder Ernst Latzel. The hall is 24 m long and the two towers are 22m high. The exterior of the building is neo-romantic; while in the interior, Moorish architectonic elements predominate. Horseshoe-shaped arches of the carved arcades above the female balconies and the reddish brown coffered ceiling are bound to attract the visitors' attention. This style was used from the Middle Ages by Sephardic Jews. On the iron-cast columns, there is still the distribution system for gas lighting, and under the windows and in the ceiling, there are air vents. The portal under the eastern frontage is only a decorative element of the façade. Behind the portal, there is wall. On the inside, there used to hang a tabernacle (a wooden box with scrolls of the Torah). Above the tabernacle, there was the organ. On the outer roof plinth, there used to be stone slabs, on which the Ten Commandments are carved. The slabs are nowadays placed in the loft. The Krnov Synagogue stopped to be used for religious services in autumn 1938, when the Sudeten were incorporated into Nazi Germany. Not long afterwards, synagogues in the surrounding towns were destroyed. However, the Krnov synagogue was saved. The mayor of the town summoned a meeting of the councillors and informed them about a secret order received from Berlin "to destroy the Jewish temple". The Sudeten councillors then unanimously accepted the proposal of the builder Franz Irblich to deceive the Nazis. The funeral ceremony hall in the Jewish cemetery was burned down, while the synagogue itself, after the symbols of the Jewish religion were removed, was changed into a town market hall. During the socialism, the building was first used as a warehouse and then, from 1960, as an archive. In 1994 it was returned to the Jewish Community and since 2003 it has run by a citizen association called Krnovská synagoga (Krnov Synagogue) and it has been used as an exhibition and concert hall. The association also received pews from 1897 that come from the Olomouc synagogue. Plates bearing the names of the Holocaust victims from the Krnov region will be placed in the pews. Due to the Oriental architecture and the excellent acoustics of the synagogue, the cultural programmes organized in there are absolutely magic.

    The Jews moved into Krnov in the 19th century from a near village called Osoblaha. The Gesslers began to produce a famous herbal liqueur called Altvater (Prad?d); the Bellak's built the second biggest textile factory in town. Members of the Jewish Community built a lot of buildings, for example the Silesia palace or a block of flats with a restaurant called Hermes situated on Hlavní nám?stí (Main Square). These properties were stolen in 1938 and in 1945 they were not mostly returned. The fact that an overwhelming majority of the Krnov Jews before World War II held German nationality aggravated their situation. The Jewish Community in Krnov ceased to exist; and the residence of the nearest Jewish Community is in Ostrava. The Jewish cemetery situated in the street called V osad?, by the access road to Opava, is a monument to the disappeared fellow citizens. It was seriously damaged during the partial destruction that took place from 1986 to 1990. It is still in poor condition and there is not enough money for its repair.The synagogue is made accessible by the members of a citizen association called Krnovská synagoga (Krnov Synagogue)." [February 2009]

    Website -
    Telephone - the custodian Jan Stejskal: 737 201 166
    E-mail - This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
  • April 1, 2007 - Krnov - Vandals destroyed the three oldest tombstones.[February 2009]

US Commission No. CZCE000351 and US Commission No. CZCE000114

Alternate names: Krnov [Cz], Jägerndorf [Ger], Karniów [Pol], Carnovia [Lat], Karníow, Jaegerndorf. It is in NE Czech Republic, Upper Silesia, Bruntál district on the Opava River, near the Polish border at 50°06' N, 17°43' E , 50 km NW of Ostrava. Cemetery: 2 km SE in Opavska Str. Present population is 25,000-100,000 with fewer than 10 Jews.

  • Town: Mayor Engineer Bedrich Marke, Mestsky Urad, Hlavni namesti 3, 794 01 Krnov; tel. 0652/3075.
  • Local: Ms. PhDr. Renata Ramazanova, Mestsky Urad-Referat Kultury, Hlavni namesti 3, 794 01 Krnov; tel. 0652/2801. Regional: 1. Okresni Urad-Referat Kultury, Engineer Zdenek Zilka, 792 01 Bruntal; tel. 0646/2621; and 2. Jewish Congregation: Zidovska Nabozenska Obec, Komenskeho 7, 772 00 Olomouc.
  • Interested: 1. Muzeum, Revolucni 20, 794 01 Krnov; tel. 0652/2301; and 2. Statni Zidovske Muzeum, Jachymova 3, 110 00 Praha 1. Caretaker with key: Yvetta Dubova, Osada 2a, 794 01 Krnov; tel. 0652/299-14. Libuse Fiedlerova, Hlubcicka 125, 794 01 Krnov; tel. 0652/299-14.

Earliest known Jewish community was 1853. Jewish population: 534 in 1900, 318 persons in 1930. Banished at end of 16th century and granted residence in 1848, the Jewish congregation originated in 1853. A noteworthy resident was the American musician Kurt Behr. The unlandmarked cemetery originated in 1874 with last known Conservative Jewish burial in 1968. The suburban hillside, part of a municipal cemetery, has no sign. Reached by turning directly off a public road, access is open to all via a broken masonry wall and a broken fence with a locking gate. Size of cemetery before WWII: 9.0 sq. m. Present size of cemetery is 3.5 sq. m.

100-500 gravestones, with 1-20 not in original locations and more ore than 75% toppled or broken, date from 1875/6-20th century. Some stones removed from the cemetery are in a museum of conservation. The cemetery has a special section for children. The marble, granite [most], sandstone, and cement flat shaped stones, finely smoothed and inscribed stones, flat stones with carved relief decoration, multi-stone monuments, or obelisks and one sarcophagus-shaped tomb have inscriptions in Hebrew, German, and/or Czech. Some have iron decorations or lettering, portraits on stones, and/or metal fences around. The cemetery contains special memorial monuments to Jewish soldiers and no known mass graves. Within the limits of the cemetery is an ohel/tomb. Olomouc Jewish community owns the property used for Jewish cemetery only. Adjacent properties are recreational, agricultural, and residential. Compared to 1939, cemetery boundaries are smaller because of a housing development and gardens. Occasionally, private visitors stop. Vandalism occurred between 1945 and ten years ago and devastated between 1989 and 1991. Jewish groups within country cleared vegetation in 1960s-1970s and about 1990-91. Current care is a regular unpaid caretaker. Very serious threats: security (uncontrolled access), vandalism, incompatible development (planned or proposed: liquidation of the cemetery being considered by the Jewish congregation). Vegetation overgrowth seasonally prevents access. Weather erosion, pollution, and incompatible nearby development (existing) are slight threats.

Engineer arch. Jaroslav Klenovsky, Zebetinska 13, 623 00 Brno; and Jiri Fiedler, z"l, Brdickova 1916, 155 00 Praha 5; tel. 02/55-33-40 completed survey on 19 May 1992. Documentation: encyclopedias. They visited site in 1989 and 1992 and interviewed Zdenek Brachtl and Jesenik [see above] in 1983.

Last Updated on Friday, 27 February 2009 16:56