|VARNSDORF: Decin, Bohemia|
With a population of around 16,000, Varnsdorf, the second largest town in the Děčín District, is close to the German border with crossings to the Sachsen towns of Seifhennersdorf and Großschönau. Varnsdorf as a village was first recorded in the fourteenth century and united with nearby villages in 1849 to form the largest village in the Austrian Empire. Made a town in 1868, Varnsorf was an early site of the Old Catholic Church and the cathedral remains. The population declined somewhat from its peak in 1911 (20,000) as a textile town. 211 Jews used to live in Varnsdorf just before WWII. Around 2500 Vietnamese Buddhist live in and around Varnsdorf, with the first Buddhist temple in Czech Republic. Pivovar Kocour Varnsdorf is located here.
US Commission No. CZCE000314
Alternate name: Warnsdorf in German. Varnsdorf is located in Bohemia, Decin at 50°53′N 14°37′E , 31 km SW of Decin and 33 km NW of Liberec. Cemetery: 800 m WSW of main square. Present town population is 5,000-25,000 with 10-100 Jews.
Earliest known Jewish community was 1845. 1930 Jewish population was 226. The Jewish population increased both in second half of 19th century and first third of 20th century. Religious society was unrecorded before WWII. Local worshippers belonged to congregation in Rumburk. After the Holocaust, many Jews of the E Ruthenia settled in Varnsdorf. A synagogue group and religious community with prayer-room was founded in 1945 with aliyah and emigration after 1948. Prayer-room closed in 1983. Painter and poet Peter Kien (1919-probably Auschwitz 1944), who was active in Terezin ghetto, was born here. The Jewish cemetery originated in second half of 19th century with last known Progressive/Reform Jewish burial in 1972 or later. Rumburk (German: Rumburg) used this cemetery, 6 km away. The isolated suburban hillside has a sign or plaque in Yiddish and Czech. Access is open to all via a continuous masonry wall and non-locking gate. Stones date from second half of 19th-20th century.
The granite finely smoothed and inscribed stones or multi-stone monuments have German and Czech inscriptions. Some have bronze decorations or lettering. The cemetery contains special memorial monuments to Holocaust victims and Jewish and non-Jewish soldiers, marked mass graves of Jewish victims of death-march in 1945, and a pre-burial house with a tahara and a catafalque for all religions. The municipality owns the property used as municipal cemetery. Adjacent properties are commercial or industrial and agricultural. Occasionally, private visitors stop. Vandalism occurred occasionally 1981-91. Local/municipal authorities do continuous restoration with care by regular caretaker paid by a local contribution. Slight threat: uncontrolled access and vandalism.
Jan Marek, Na hranici 208, 405 05 Decin; message or fax: 0412/23-662 or 28-090 and Jiri Fiedler, Brdickova 1916, 155 00 Praha 5; tel. 02/55-33-40 completed survey on 27 November 1992. Documentation: personal archives of J. Marek; article in Vestnik NZO, year 34, No. 9; and letter of Ms. H. Vymetalkova from Varnsdorf (1985). The site was not visited. Friedl, Maly, Springer, and Funda (addresses above) in Varnsdorf and Rumburk were interviewed in 1992.
|Last Updated on Friday, 27 February 2009 01:57|