|PRESTICE: Plzen-jih, Bohemia|
Torah dates from 1876. photos. King Wenceslav I gave this village as a gift to his sister Ann of Czech, who gave it to the Kladruby cloister. The village received the privilege as a town in the half of the 16th century. When the cloister closed, the town was sold to the family of Schönborn. A big part of the town was damaged by fire several times, but the historical center survived. The Jewish settlement in Prestice dates back to the 15th century, but the Jewish community was established at the end of the 19th century. Jews did not live in a ghetto and were differentiated only by the synagogue that was pulled down in 1974. Georg Leopold Weisel (1804-1873), a writer, collector and publisher of the Jewish old tales, was born in Prestice.The Jewish cemetery is on the edge of the village towards Vodokrty and was used by the hunting association under communist rule. The cemetery and surrounding wall were reconstructed recently.The ceremonial house is used by the caretaker. In 1934, Rabbi Leopold Singer, who worked in Prestice for 41 years, was buried here. Several volunteers working here probably will save more tombstones, some with interesting Czech inscriptions on the preserved tombstones. The Jewish population of Prestice peaked at around 750 in the mid 1800s. 1930 Jewish population was around 300. Most of the Jews in the district owned small businesses, mainly grocery, dry goods, haberdashery and in the villages around Prestice, cattle. Prestice was home to Leopold Weisel (1804-1873), a prominent collector and editor of Jewish legends and possibly the first to publish a story of the Golem of Prague in 1847. Prestice synagogue, built in 1910, was destroyed by the Czech authorities in 1974. The concentration of Czech Jews in the ghetto of Terezin began in November 1941. From there they were deported to extermination camps. Before the deportation of the Jewish Community of Prestice to Terezin, 152 documents and 212 religious items of the community were transferred to the Central Jewish Museum in Prague. cemetery photo [February 2009]
US Commission No. CZCE000023
Alternate names: Přeštice [Cz], Pschestitz [Ger], Prestitz. Prestice is located at 49°34' N, 13°19' E in Bohemia, Plzen South, 13 miles S of Plzeň (Pilsen), 12 miles N of Klatovy (Klattau). Cemetery: 2 km E, near road leading to the village Vodkrty. Present town population is 5,000-25,000 with no Jews.
Jewish population: 430 (in 1900), 54 (in 1930).] Georg Leopold Weisel (1804-1873), writer of novels of Jewish life and book of Jewish folk legends, was born here. The unlandmarked Jewish cemetery originated after 1900 with last known Progressive/Reform Jewish burial before WWII. Buried in the cemetery is Rabbi Leopold Singer, d. 1934. The flat isolated suburban site has no sign or marker. Reached by turning directly off a public road, access is open with permission via continuous masonry wall and locking gate. The pre- and post-WWII size of cemetery is 3387 sq. m.
20-100 stones, all in original location, date from 20th century. The granite finely smoothed and inscribed stones or multi-stone monuments have Hebrew and Czech inscriptions. Some have portraits on stones and/or metal fences around graves. The cemetery contains special memorial monuments to Holocaust victims, no known mass graves or special sections, and a pre-burial house with a chimney. Plzen Jewish community owns property used for Jewish cemetery and agricultural garden. Adjacent properties are agricultural and residential. Rarely, private visitors stop. The cemetery probably was never vandalized. Local non-Jewish residents (tenant of pre-burial house) and Jewish groups within country Jewish congregation did restoration in 1990-1991. Plzen Jewish congregation pays the regular caretaker use of the pre-burial house. Slight threat: uncontrolled access and vandalism.
Jiri Fiedler, Brickova 1916, 155 00 Praha 5; tel. 02/55-33-40 completed survey on 25 December 1991. Documentation: history of town and notes of the Jewish Congregation in Plzen. The site was not visited.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 26 February 2009 12:17|