|STRAZOV: Klatovy, Bohemia|
town website. Rudolf Krizek. History of Strazov [Drosau]1934: The first documentation of Jews in Strazov dates from 1405 (endowment documents of Knight Buska of Opalka, sponsor and protector of Strazov Church, mentioning Jews as permanent residents of Strazov). Jews were banned from agriculture or trades and only permitted commerce. Thus, they settled near the castle and along the active commercial route leading from the Bavarian Zwieslau to Klatovy where its citadel offered sufficient security for the Jews,who lived outside the citadel on northern manorial lands that ensured a continuous rent for the landlords. After the Hussite wars, new silver mines led to increased Jewish settlement. By 1441, 16 Jewish households dealt in salt, cattle, wine, textile, grain, etc. and secretly traded silver. Due to the influx of Jews and miners, in 1524 King Ludvik I elevated the growing village to town status and bestowed several economically beneficial privileges including a semi-annual market, one weekly cattle market, and a Thursday market for textile and salt. By the 16th century, twenty Jewish households lived there. Medieval Jews were tolerated without rights and forced to reside separately from rest of the population in a ghetto. In Strazov, they lived all on one street running west to east and unofficially still called "Jewish Street." The Jews occupied mostly one-story, solidly built stone houses. Street level rooms were all vaulted and numbered with Roman numerals to differentiate them from the Christian houses, a custom lasting until 1880. Today, these are houses numbered 180-I, 181-IIa, 182-XIIb, 196-XIII, 197-XIV, 198-XV, 199-XVI, and the synagogue with no number. In 1848, Strazov had 43 Jewish families in 20 houses, the largest Jewish settlement of the Klatovy region. The clever Strazov Jews attracted the most business to all of the town's stores concentrated exclusively in Jewish Street until 1860. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the Jewish merchants traded iron, hide, alcohol, grain, cotton, and textiles. Astute individuals also derived income from usury. Especially lucrative was their commerce in feathers with Austria, France, Belgium, Holland and through Hamburg even with America. Lively trade also with the Orient sent feathers as far as Smyrna, Damascus and Jerusalem. Many Strazov Jews derived their livelihood from peddling and buying and selling textiles in Bavaria, Austria, and the Tyrols. Non-resident Jewish peddlers, who came trading in Strazov, spent nights in the "Jewish Pub," today's house number 147 called "In Mouse's Hole." This house was erected for the convenience of the Catholic priest who oversaw the Jewish peddlers staying in this inn. After many centuries of oppression, Jews' relief was enlightened Kaiser Josef II's toleration decree of 1781 that permitted, among other things, free movement for Jews, the right to reside and engage in commerce anywhere outside the Jewish ghettos. Strazov's Jews reacted in the spirit of time. By 1805, ten Jewish families resided outside the ghetto and by 1876, fourteen families in Nos. 30, 31, 39, 42, 45, 47, 105, 106, 109, 110, 111, 113, 122, 145, 146, 154, 182, and 196. In 1805, the following Jewish families resided in Strazov by house number: I. Lebl and Sahra Weiner, Lazar and Anna Weiner [renters]; II. Josef and Barbora Herrnheiser, Josef and Sibilia Seligman;III. Abraham and Barbora Fleischman
A 1680 document mentioned that Jews of Strazov (with nearby Besin and Cachrov) had their own wooden synagogue. Some time later, in 1808, this wooden Synagogue was replaced by one of brick, a Baroque Synagogue, for its time, also richly adorned. Strazov Jewish Community had its own school with its own building, a one story high building adjacent to the synagogue (house number 189-VIII). On the street level was the rabbi's apartment and above were classrooms. However, because Jewish students simultaneously attended Strazov's public schools, lectures in the Jewish school were on Thursday and any other day after 5 p. m. The subjects taught were German and religion. The legistlated teaching language was German; and the rabbi was the teacher. Under "Perlavka," is a modest building that used to serve as the mikvah where only fresh water was used. Today, this building belongs to the adjacent property number 25. A 30 m x 54 m rectangular Jewish cemetery, its origin at least 500 years old, is at a distance of about 25 minutes from Strazov on a slope of the Smrkova mountain. One finds people buried from Strazov and also from nearby Besin and Cachrov. The last headstone is from 1925 [article written in 1934]. Graves on the upper left side[east] are completely collapsed and hardly visible. In the center of the cemetery and its upper part as well as along the western fence many graves are visible. Those gravestones are simple, stone and of identical shape and design. The lettering is only in Hebrew and already illegible. Gravestones dating back to the 19th century have inscriptions in Hebrew and German. Gravestones dating to the 20th century are of a more modern design with the majority of them made of polished granite. Gravestones with Czech inscription exist only on three. One can readily detect a strong overall deterioration of the cemetery. [February 2009]
In 1999, the cemetery in a forest was in very bad condition with foliage obscuring any gravestones. Nearer to the center, all the stones are on the ground and covered with plants, grass, soil, moss and lichen.Nettle and grass are waist high. [February 2009]
US Commission No. CZCE000176
Alternate German name: Drosau. Town is located in Bohemia, Klatovy at 49°18′4″N 13°14′52″E , 10 km SSW of Klatovy and 47 km SSW of Plzen. Cemetery: 1300 m E. Present town population is 1,000-5,000 with no Jews.
Earliest known Jewish community was 1441. 1930 Jewish population was 4 and 1 family in 1905. Jews moved to big towns in second half of 19th century. The Jewish cemetery originated before 1724 with last known Conservative or Progressive/Reform Jewish burial probably in 1925. Between fields and woods, the isolated hillside has no sign or marker. Reached by turning directly off a public road, access is open to all via a broken masonry wall without gate. The pre- and post-WWII size of cemetery is 0.1723 ha.
100-500 stones date from beginning of 18th-20th century. The granite and sandstone flat shaped stones, finely smoothed and inscribed stones, double tombstones or multi-stone monuments have Hebrew, German and Czech inscriptions. The cemetery contains no known mass graves or structures. Plzen Jewish community owns the Jewish cemetery. Adjacent properties are agricultural. Rarely, private visitors stop. Vandalism occurred 1945-1981 with no maintenance. Serious threat: proposed nearby development. Moderate threat: uncontrolled access, vandalism and existing nearby development. Slight threat: weather erosion and pollution.
Marketa Cibulkova, Serikova 20, 317 05 Plzen; tel. 019/416-87; and Dr. Peter Braun, Komenskeho 43, 323 13 Plzen; tel. 01/952-15-58; and Rudolf Loewy, Jesenicka 33, 323 23 Plzen; tel. 019/52-06-84; and Jiri Fiedler, z"l, Brdickova 1916, 155 00 Praha 5; tel. 55-33-40 completed survey on 21 May 1992. Documentation: J.Herman: Jewish Cemeteries of Bohemia and Moravia (1980); Gold: Juden...Bohemens... (1934); Rudolf Krizek: History of Strazov (1934); materials of local historian, Josef Kodym (1989); notes of Statni Zidovske Muzeum Praha. The site was not visited. Mr. L.Smolik, 340 37 Mecin cp. 56 was interviewed.
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 February 2009 21:42|