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LAZNE KYNZVART: Cheb, Bohemia PDF Print E-mail

town images and photo [February 2009]

cemetery photo [February 2009]

Kynžvart (German: Bad Königswart, Königswart, Königswarte) is a town [with] castle in the northwestern Bohemia and the original home of Jewish Königswarter family. Kynžvart is famous for its sanatorium for children ages 2 to 15 with nonspecific respiratory disorders. "The town of Kynzvart developed into a thriving commercial center as it lies on a strategic location - on the trade route from Bavaria to Prague. The Jewish traders who established their presence in Kynzvart in the 14th century furthered this development. A Jewish cemetery was founded here in 1405, and by 1430 the Jewish community in Kynzvart numbered 180 families . Jewish families driven out of nearby Cheb (Eger) also found a refuge in Kynzvart. A synagogue was built in the "Jewish Enclosure" (Judenhof, currently Male namesti) in the 15th century. Two historical homes were preserved in the Judenhof until Kristallnacht (9/10 November 1938). One belonged to the Chieh Elder; the other to the Rabbi. A medieval mikveh in the cellar of the "New York" house (built in 1775) survived the Nazi era. This house is probably the oldest Jewish building in western Bohemia. David Oppenheim (1664-1736), the Chief Rabbi of Prague and Bohemia, and the author of many rabbinical texts, was born in Kynzvart. His library is now part of the Bodleian Library. When commerce declined in the late 18th century, the Jews of Kynzvart sought opportunities elsewhere. At about the same time Emperor Joseph II decreed that all subjects had to adopt surnames. Three Kynzvart traders, the brothers Joel Baruch, Löwel Baruch, and Samuel Löwel Baruch, adopted the surname Königswart. They became quite wealthy and even opened branches of their business in Fürth and in Vienna. They also became long-term benefactors of the Kynzvart Jewish community. Judah Löwel Baruch Königswart founded a line that gained the status of minor nobility (Freiherr or 'free lord') von Köningswart. Markus Königswarter brought life to the banking business in Frankfurt. The Frankfurt city council renamed the street "Grüner Weg" in his honor to "Königswarter Strasse" (Koenigswarter Street) on 31 January 1870. This remains a prestigious address to this day. The street is located close to the Zoo and Alfred Brehm Square, one stop by subway from the Central Station.  Jonas Königswarter, the son of Markus, became the director of the National Bank of Austria. He played a key part in the development of railroads in Austria-Hungary. He was also the president of the Viennese Jewish community (1868-1871). His son Moritz was one of the most important financiers in Vienna. His contemporaries considered him the most significant personality in Austrian Jewry over the preceding 50 years. The house in the Kynzvart Judenhof in which he was born burned down in 1849. Maximilian Königswarter founded a banking house in Paris. Other members of the clan were active in Amsterdam, Hamburg, and Hannover. They all maintained contacts with Kynzvart and supported the Jewish community there.  The history of the Jews and Jewish community in Kynzvart forms a part of the cultural heritage of the entire region. The synagogue, which survived two fires in 1865, was the oldest building standing in Kynzvart up to the time of the Nazi occupation. The last Jews left Kynzvart in 1938. The abandoned homes and the synagogue were plundered, set on fire, and razed to the ground during Kristallnacht. The Jewish cemetery was also completely demolished. The tombstones were used to pave the Kynzvart town square. In 2005 we observed the cemetery's 600th anniversary. In this way, we tried to fulfill our fundamental obligation toward the persecuted race and to recognize their remarkable history." Source. [February 2009]


US Commission No. CZCE000353

[Some tombstones are in Maranske Lazne] Alternate German names: Koengiswart and Bad Koenigswart. Hungarian names: Mesto Kynzvart and Kinzvart. Town is in Bohemia-Cheb at 50°00′38″N 12°37′29″E , 13 km NW of Marianske and 37 km ESE of Cheb. Cemetery: 400 meters NNE of square, near road leading to village of Lazy. Present population is 1000-5000 with no Jews.

  • Town: Mestsky Urad, 354 91 Lzane Kynzvart; tel. 0165/912-21 or 912-93.
  • Regional: 1. Okresni Urad-Referat Kultury, Obrnene brigady 30, 350 02 Cheb; tel. 0166/308-21 or 309-21 and 2. Jewish Congregation: Zidovska Nabozenska Obec, Smetanovy sady 5, 301 37 Plzen; tel. 019/357-49.
  • Interested: Chebske Muzeum, namesti Krale Jirino, 350 11 Cheb; tel. 0166/223-86 or 223-87; and Statni Zidovske Muzeum, Jachymova 3, 110 01 Praha 1; tel. 02/231-06-34 or 231-07-85.

Earliest known Jewish community allegedly was 14th century, but recorded in the first half of 15th century. 1930 Jewish population was 12. Jews, expelled from Cheb in 1430, moved to Kynzvart (allegedly 180 Jewish families lived then in Kynzvart). Famous, old synagogue in local ghetto and medieval cemetery existed. In first half of 19th century, 46 families were permitted; after 1848, Jews moved to big towns and to USA. Independent congregation disbanded between 1922 and 1929. Native town and burial site of Austrian family Konigswarter (noblemen and bankers). The unlandmarked Jewish cemetery originated in 1405 with last known Orthodox or Conservative Jewish burial before 1939. The surrounding town and village congregations used this cemetery before founding their own cemeteries. The isolated rural wooded hillside has no sign. Reached by turning off a private road, access is open to all via no wall, fence, or gate. No stones are visible. The original cemetery size is unknown.

Some stones removed from the cemetery are in another cemetery: two historic gravestones in Marianske Lazne or stolen. No structures. The present owner of the property is unknown but probably Plzen Jewish congregation. The cemetery property and adjacent properties are forest. Rarely, private visitors stop. The Nazis vandalized the cemetery prior to World War II in 1938 and during World War II (1944) when the German army entirely liquidated the cemetery to use gravestones for paving. Past maintenance: two gravestones were transferred and erected in the cemetery of Marianske Lazne in Marienbad. Gravestones used as pavement were picked up from the street but later stolen. Jewish groups within country carried out restoration in the 1950s and probably in 1977. Current care: none. No threats.

Dr. Peter Braun, Komeskeho 43, 323 13 Plzen; tel. 019/52-14-58; Rudolf Loewy, 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 7 September 1992. Documentation: 1. Censuses of 1724, 1750, 1830, and 1930; 2. Hugo Gold: Die Juden and Judengemeinden Bohemens (1934); 3. Jan Herman: Jewish Cemeteries in Bohemia and Moravia (1980); 4. Die aussaen enter Tranen (1959); 5. 1985 letter of Mrs. M. Tanzerova from Jewish congregation in Plzen; and 6. Notes of research made by Statni Zidovske Muzeum Praha in 1947 and 1960. Other documentation exists but was inaccessible: No. 35 and 36 in cadastral RecordsOffice Geodezie. Braun and Loewy visited site in March 1992 with Dr. Pavel Sebesta from Chebske Muzeum, who was interviewed.

Last Updated on Thursday, 19 February 2009 13:03
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