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Picture"The first reconstruction to be completed [in Bohemia] was that of the Baroque Synagogue in Rakovni'k (1764), which houses the Vaclav Rabas Gallery and is the venue for chamber concerts." Source Vandalism in 1986 damaged 91 gravestones. Rakovnik District museum site with excellent information. Torah information. Rakovnik retains a quiet  "medieval" character, with all of its historic houses including the sgraffito Samson house in what was once a famous Jewish quarter, as well as original gate towers, and many side streets winding uphill.  [February 2009]


US Commission No. CZCE000395

Alternate name: Rakonitz in German. Rakovnik is located in Bohemia, Rakovnik at 50°06' N, 13°45' E , 32 miles W of Praha (Prague), 30 miles NE of Plzeň (Pilsen). Cemetery: 1 km SE of main square in Diepoltova Street leading to Novy Dum. Present town population is 5,000-25,000 with fewer than 10 Jews.

  • Town: Mestsky Urad, Husovo namesti 27, 269 01 Rakovnik; tel. 0313/2846 (dept. of culture) and 0313/2850 (mayor).
  • Regional: Okresni Urad-Referat Kultury, 269 01 Rakovnik cp. 166; tel. 0313/3282 and Pamatkovy ustav strednich Cech, Hybernska 18, 110 01 Praha 1; tel. 02/23-54-940 to 942 and Jewish Congregation: Ms. Jana Wolfova, Zidovska Nabozenska Obec v Praze, Maislova 18, 110 01 Praha 1; tel. 02/231-69-25.
  • Interested: Statni Zidovske Muzeum, Jachymova 3, 110 01 Praha 1; tel. 02/231-06-34 or 231-07-85 and Okresni Muzeum, Vysoka 232, 269 01 Rakovnik; tel. 0313/3953.
  • Caretaker: Jiri Vokolek, Diepoltova 20/7, 269 01 Rakovnik.

Earliest known Jewish community was probably 17th century. Cemetery was founded in 1635; and prayer-room existed before 1724. Short banishment of Jews was in 1633 and 1657. Increase in Jewish population was in 19th century with 7 families in 1816, about 30 families in 1849, and 329 people in 1900. Jews moved to big towns in 20th century. Seat of family Perutz (ancestors of writer Leo Perutz); native town of conductor Robert Brock (1905-1979). The landmarked Jewish cemetery originated in 1635 with last known Conservative Jewish burial in 1979. Olesna (German: Woleschna) in 18th century; Vsetaty (German: Wschetat) in 17-18th centuries; Petrovice (German: Petrowitz) in 18-20th centuries; and Svinarov before 1858, 4-11 km away, used site. The isolated urban/suburban crown of a hill 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 approximate size of cemetery before WWII was probably 5986 sq. m.and is now approximately 0.5 ha.

500 stones, all in original location, date from 1656-7-20th century. The cemetery has special section for children, refugees, and urns. The marble, granite and sandstone flat shaped stones, finely smoothed and inscribed stones, flat stones with carved relief decoration, double tombstones or multi-stone monuments have Hebrew, German and Czech inscriptions. The cemetery contains no known mass graves but has a pre-burial house with wall inscriptions and gravedigger's house. Praha Jewish community owns cemetery. Adjacent properties are agricultural and residential. The boundaries are smaller than 1939 because of housing development on unused plot without graves. Occasionally, private visitors stop. This cemetery was not vandalized. Local non-Jewish residents and regional/national authorities did restoration periodically and before 1980. Praha Jewish congregation pays the regular caretaker. Moderate threat: vegetation. Slight threat: uncontrolled access, weather erosion, pollution, vandalism, and existing and proposed nearby development.

Vlastmila Hamackova, Zabelska 37, 312 15 Plzen; tel. office 02/231-07-85 and Jiri Fiedler, z"l, Brickova 1916, 155 00 Praha 5; tel. 02/55-33-40 completed survey on 24 August 1992. Documentation: Vaclav Kocka: Dejiny Rakovnick (1936) and in Vestnik musejniho spolku kral. mesta Rakovnika XXVI (1936) are the following: by Jan Renner: Zide v Rakovnice; Zidovska obec v Petrovicich (with J. Lokvenc); Dejiny zidu na Slabecku (with Josef Fiser) and Jan Herman: Jewish Cemeteries of Bohemia and Moravia (1980); and notes of Statni Zidovske Muzeum Praha. Other documentation was inaccessible. Caretaker: J. Vostarek in Rakovnik in 1984 and former head of regional congregation, R. Salus, 1983-85, were interviewed.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 24 February 2009 19:58
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