|VELHARTICE: Klatovy, Bohemia|
Velhartice is a village dating from the 13th century, dominated by a Gothic castle built 1290-1310. A Late Renaissance palace wing with arcades was added. A unique fortification system with a sizeable connecting stone bridge is part of the castle. In the reign of King George of Poděbrady, the Czech crown jewels were temporarily housed here. The castle interior is inaccessible because of renovation. In 1790's the Desfours family, who at that time also owned the castle, built a paper-making factory in Velhartice which, during the WWII, made sleeping bags for the German Army. A leather tannery opened in 1882 and during the WWII provided leather for military boots made in a neighboring town. In 1945, several armored units of Patton's 6th Army were stationed in Velhartice. The last owner of the Velhartice castle, Prince Windisch-Graetz, was expelled in 1946. Presently the castle is claimed by the Czech Republic. town website in Czech.
US Commission No. CZCE000199
Alternate name: Welhartitz in German. Velhartice is located in Bohemia-Klatovy at 49º15 13º24, 15 km SE of Klatovy and 52 km S of Plzen. Cemetery: 1300 meters SW. Present town population is 1,000-5,000 with no Jews.
Earliest known Jewish community was 1799. 1930 Jewish population was 18. Jews moved to big towns in second half of the 19th century. The landmarked Jewish cemetery originated in 1858 with last known Conservative or Progressive/Reform Jewish burial in 1941. The wooded flat isolated 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 0.056 ha.
20-100 stones, all in original location, date from 1859-20th century. The marble, granite, limestone and sandstone flat shaped stones, finely smoothed and inscribed stones, flat stones with carved relief decoration or multi-stone monuments have Hebrew, German and Czech inscriptions. The cemetery contains special memorial monuments to Holocaust victims but no known mass graves or structures. Plzen Jewish community owns the Jewish cemetery. Adjacent properties are forest. Occasionally, private visitors stop. Vandalism occurred occasionally 1945-1991. Jewish groups within the country did restoration about 1985-87. Plzen Jewish congregation pays the regular caretaker. Moderate threat: vegetation. Slight threat: uncontrolled access and vandalism.
Jiri Fiedler, z"l, Brdickova 1916, 155 00 Praha 5; tel. 02/55-33-40 75 completed survey on 26 May 1992. Documentation: F. Roubik: list of Jewish congregation in 1850 (1935); Jan Herman: Jewish Cemeteries of Bohemia and Moravia (1980); and 1983 letter of local historian K.Hanzik. The site was not visited. Inhabitants of neighborhood were interviewed in 1990.
|Last Updated on Friday, 27 February 2009 02:23|