MOHELNICE: Sumperk, Moravia Print

The region has been inhabited since the Stone Age. First written documentation of Mohelnice dates from 1131 (as a village owned by the bishopric of Olomouc). Castle Mírov mentioned in 1266 was completed some time after 1320. In 1273 Mohelnice was granted city status. In 1307 and 1312 the city was devastated by plague and in 1424 conquered by the Hussites (700 people died). During the first half of the 16th century, the city was rebuilt. The Thirty Years' War devastated Mohelnice -- in 1623 it was plundered by Swedish troops with over 30% of the inhabitants dead either from enemy attacks or plague that returned in 1642, 1643, 1644 and 1647. In 1662 half of the city was destroyed by fire. 1685 saw notorious witchcraft trials during which a local priest was burned at the stake. The city's textile industry began in 1713. In 1714, the city suffered another plague with a significant fire in 1739. During the Silesian Wars, the city was plundered several times. In 1772 when Mohelnice had 1867 inhabitants, barely half of the number it had in the 16th century, the population began to recover until in 1792 it was 3887. There were cholera epidemics in 1832, 1849, 1851 and 1866 and another fire in 1841. In 1863 Mohelnice built its first sanitation system. The 19th and 20th century saw the growth of manufacturing and industry including sugar processing, engineering, and electrotechnics.In 1910 the old city walls were demolished. In 1938 the city was occupied by Nazi Germany as part of Sudetenland. The city, colonized by German speaking citizens who comprised around 95% of the population, after World War II ordered all citizens over the age of 18 who had German nationality to leave Czechoslovakia. The city became almost deserted. Within a few months, however, immigrants arrived from other parts of Czechoslovakia. In the second half of 20th century, the city underwent major urban changes, including narrowing of the Mírovka river and the demolition of the old houses in the northern part of the suburb, replaced with large high rise apartment buildings. Mohelnice now is famous for the folk and country music festival Mohelnický dostavník. The city is predominantly industrial with significant electrotechnical, engineering and construction industries. The city also boasts a new industrial zone. Mohelnice is the centre of the microregion Mohelnicko. Wikipedia [February 2009]

 

The oldest recorded mention of a Jewish presence in Mohelnice dates from when Czech king, Jan Lucembursky, granted permission to Konrad, bishop of Olomouc, to employ Jewish moneylenders in the bishop's towns of Mohelnice, Svitavy, Vyskov and Kromeriz. Possibly in the following centuries other Jews settled in the town, but neither a synagogue nor a Jewish cemetery was established there. Permission from a king, feudal owner or town council was needed to institute a Jewish community. Mohelnice, being the property of the bishops and archbishops of Olomouc, was not granted this permission. Information about the activities of Jewish families, merchants and businessmen began to surface during the mid 19th century due to the considerable increase of Mohelnice Jewish population. After 1848, medieval discriminatory laws were eliminated bringing equality of rights for Jews in the entire country. They used their newly attained freedom and moved from small, crowded towns and ghettos to bigger industrial towns such was Mohelnice, looking for better economic opportunities. The Jewish congregation in Mohelnice was founded in 1870 with their own prayer room in the town square (House Number 9). The original prayer room was located in so-calledEdelhof (30 Trebovska Street). There were four other Jewish houses and stores in the town square before WWII. The nearest synagogues and mikvah were located in Lostice and Usov. Jews from Mohelnice kept close contacts with members of thoe Jewish communities often by family relationships. While around 1850 only thirteen Jews lived in the town, during the second half of the 19th century, their number grew to almost 200, about 7% of population of the inner town. Jewish presence started to gradually decline after 1900. Shortly after the creation of the Czechoslovak Republic, about 90 Jews resided in Mohelnice, but by  1930 only 40 remained. Almost all of the Jews left the town in 1938 to save their lives and property from the Nazis who occupied the. Jewish people from Mohelnice escaped to the unoccupied part of the Republic. Only a few elderly and ailing stayed behind. In November 1938, "The Crystal Night" found its way to Mohelnice. Several fanatics attacked Jewish dwellings and ransacked the prayer room. The Jewish congregation was not renewed after the war.  About fifteen Jewish tombstones remain in the main Mohelnice cemetery. One of them bears the name of Erwin Ziegler who perished in Buchenwald in 1944. There is also a mass grave for the Russian prisoners of war - victims of a death transport from Auschwitz. Among the citizens of Jewish descent from Mohelnice were the partisan Grätzer brothers, J. Mandl, Edgar, Charlotte and Otmar Ziegler and Artur Langer. A student of medicine, Kurt Wolf, escaped to the Soviet Union and became a member of the Czechoslovak army unit there. During the battle by Sokolovo he was killed on March 9, 1943. Kurt was posthumously promoted to lieutenant, received a doctorate, and was awarded the Order of Red Flag, the Order of the White Lion with the star and the Czechoslovak War Cross 1939. Source, Fate, Families [February 2009]

"The cemetery was founded in 1554. The area of 6 500 square meters contains about 650 gravestones. Most of them were made from Maletin sandstone during the 18th and 19th centuries. The oldest preserved tombstones date from the early the 18th century. The house near the entrance used to be the gravedigger's dwelling and morgue. The record of the last funeral is from 1942." Photos and tombstones [February 2009]

 

US Commission No. CZCE000183

Alternate name: Muglitz in German. Mohelnice is located in Morava, Sumperk in Olomouc Region at 49°46′39″N 16°55′24″E, 35 km NW of Olomouc. Cemetery: 15 km SE, Moravicanska Str. Present town population is 5,000-25,000 with than 10 Jews.

  • Town: Mayor Engineer Ladislav Kavrik, Mestsky Urad, U brany 2, 789 85 Mohelnice; tel. 0648/51441.
  • Regional: Dr. Eduard Madera, Okresni Urad-Referat Kultury, ulica E. Benese, 787 01 Sumperk; tel. 0649/3441.
  • Interested: Okresni Vlastivedne Muzeum, Director Dr. Milos Melzer, Sady 1. Mahe, 787 01 Sumperk; tel. 0649/4070. Prof. Vaclav Krupka, A. Kaspara 12, 789 85 Mohelnice; tel. 0648/51342.
  • Caretaker and key holder: Technicke Sluzby Mesta Mohelnice, Sprava Hrbitova; tel. 0648/51440.

Earliest known Jewish community was 1322 in 1848. 1930 Jewish population was 59. The Jewish community originated in 1870. The unlandmarked Jewish cemetery originated in 1904-6 with last known Conservative Jewish burial in 1942. The flat suburban, rural (agricultural) site, part of a municipal cemetery, has no sign or marker. Reached by turning directly off a public road, access is open to all via a continuous masonry wall and locking gate. The pre- and post-WWII size of cemetery is about 15x30 meters.

1-20 stones, all in original locations, date from 20th century. The marble and granite finely smoothed and inscribed stones, multi-stone monuments, or obelisks have Hebrew, German and Czech inscriptions. Some tombstones have iron decorations or lettering. The cemetery contains no special memorial monuments but has marked mass graves. Within the limits of the cemetery are no structures. The municipality owns Jewish cemetery property. Adjacent properties are cemetery. Rarely, private visitors stop. Vandalism occurred 1945-1981. Local/municipal authorities and Jewish groups within country did restoration in 1990-1. Now, authorities occasionally clean or clear. Slight threat: uncontrolled access, pollution, vegetation, vandalism and proposed nearby development.

Engineer-Architect Jaroslav Klenovsky, Zebetinska 13, 623 00 Brno; tel. 0 completed survey on March 1, 1992. Documentation: Jan Herman: Jewish Cemeteries in Bohemia and Moravia (1980). He visited site in 1990. No interviews.

Last Updated on Friday, 20 February 2009 21:41