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RYCHNOV NAD KNEZNOU: Hradec Kralove, Bohemia PDF Print E-mail

The District of Rychnov Nad Kneznou

Tourist Information: (42-04) 455-337-39

Jewish Synagogue, Cemetery, Mikvah


Rychnov nad Kněžnou in the Hradec Králové Region with around 12,000 inhabitants. is a small town, with a sprinkling of other small towns in the vicinity. The nearest big city (more than 100,000 inhabitants) is Hradec Králové which is about 32 km to the west. The first documentation is a charter of Přemysl Otakar II from the year 1258. The municipal coat of arms and the privilege of two annual markets were confirmed by the king Vladislav II in March 1488. A farming and forestry with craftsmen settlement was established across the river Kněžna. Cloth manufacturers were the prevalent, hence the fomer name: Soukenický Rychnov. Today the castle and its art, owned by the House of Kolowrat, is open to visitors. Near the main square, a renovated synagogue (regional museum) has a memorial of Karel Poláček. The almost 52 km-long common border with Poland influences tourism in both countries with four border crossings. [February 2009]


"Cimetiejournal, review Juif de Rychnov nad Kneznou", 205, article p. 000205, 6/15/1990, HAMACKOVA Vlastimila, in Judaica Bohemiae, Volume XIX/1, 1983, pp. 35-42, French. Source: contact Daniel Dratwa/ Jewish Museum of Belgium; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


US Commission No. CZCE000398

Alternate German name: Reichenau an der Knezna (Knieschna). Town is located in Bohemia, Rychnov nad Kneznou at 50°09′47″N 16°16′28″E , 31 km ESE of Hradec Kralove. Cemetery: 600 meters NW of square, close to road leading to Lokot. Present town population is 5,000-25,000 with probably fewer than 10 Jews.

  • Town: Mayor RNDr. Frantisek Bartos, Mestsky Urad, 516 01 Rychnov nad Kneznou; tel. 0445/227-40.
  • Regional: Petr ben Pinhas Narwa, Director, Okresni urad, 516 01 Rychonov nad Kneznou; tel. 0445/212-84 or 217-04; Pamatkovy ustav vychodnich Cech, zamek, 530 02 Pardubice; and Ms. Jana Wolfova, Zidovska Nabozenska Obec v Praze, Maislova 18, 110 01 Praha 1; tel. 02/231-69-25.
  • Interested: Okresni Muzeum, zamek, 516 11 Rychnov nad Kreznou and Statni Zidovske Muzeum, Jachymova 3, 110 01 Praha 1; tel. 02/231-06-34 or 231-07-85.
  • Caretaker with key: Engineer Miroslav Zeman, Bezrucova 12, 516 01 Rychnov nad Kneznou.

Earliest known Jewish community was probably 16th century but recorded in 1604. 1930 Jewish population was 71. Peak Jewish population was in mid-19th century, approximately 400 people; Later, Jews moved to big towns. Native town of musicologist Jan Loewenbach (1880-1972) and writer Karel Polacek (1892-1944). The landmarked Jewish cemetery originated in 1588 with last known Conservative Jewish burial before 1943, probably 1938. Buried here are rabbis, founders of local textile industry. The isolated suburban hillside has a sign or plaque in Czech mentioning Jews and the Jewish community. 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 0.3187 ha.

100-500 stones, most in original location, date from 1690-20th century. The marble, granite and sandstone flat shaped stones, finely smoothed and inscribed stones, flat stones with carved relief decoration, double tombstones, multi-stone monuments or obelisks have Hebrew, German and Czech inscriptions. Some tombstones have traces of painting on their surfaces, portraits on stones and/or metal fences around graves. The cemetery has special section for refugees but no known mass graves. Within the limits of the site is a pre-burial house with a chimney. Praha Jewish community owns cemetery. Adjacent properties are recreational and agricultural. Occasionally, private visitors stop. This cemetery was not vandalized. Local non-Jewish residents and local/municipal authorities did restoration in 1970s-1980s. Praha Jewish community pays the regular caretaker. Moderate threat: vegetation. Slight threat: uncontrolled access, weather erosion, vandalism and existing nearby development.

Vlastmila Hamackova, Zabelska 37, 312 15 Plzen; tel. office 02/231-06-34 and Jiri Fiedler, z"l, Brickova 1916, 155 00 Praha 5; tel. 02/55-33-40 completed survey on 24 August 1992. Documentation: Tomas Kouril, Antonin Svoboda: Dejiny Rychnova nad Kneznou (1928); Hugo Gold: Die Juden und Judengemeinden Bohemens (1934); Jan Herman: Jewish Cemeteries of Bohemia and Moravia (1980); notes of Statni Zidovske Muzeum Praha. No site visits or interviews occurred.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 February 2009 03:35
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