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VOLARY: Prachatice, Bohemia PDF Print E-mail

In Prachatice district are three preserved Jewish cemeteries: Those in Čkyně and in Vlachovo Březí have been repaired in 1980s and 90s. The one in Dub is still under repair. Also a burial placein Volary of 96 Jewish victims of the Nazis exists.In the Šumava Mountains, close to the border with Germany, in 1946 the German population of the town was expelled and deported by Czech forces on the grounds of the Benes decrees. [February 2009]

 

{NOTE FROM PROJECT COORDINATOR: We normally do not include specific individual in our cemetery listings; however, this story requires recognition.] The town website history has no mention of the following information. US ARMY FIFTH INFANTRY DIVISION Red Devils [very graphic photos] "liberated Jews from the Death March: April 1945, during the last few remaining days of World War II , that would ended up with the liberation of Czechoslovakia. The Fifth Infantry Division had arrived starting their forward push East into Southern Czechoslovakia and Northern Austria to mop up the remaining German resistance in the area to which they were link to the right flank of Trp. B and C of the 42nd Reconnaissance. Squadron (MECZ), 2nd CAV Group. The Second Calvary (MECZ) who spearhead a secret operation known as "Operation Cowboy", the rescue of saving the famous Lipizzaner horses from Hostau (Rosendorf, Czechoslovakia) that occurred on 28 April " Wild West Cowboy Western Style". 30 April, the Fifth Infantry Division having been ordered to move forward being replaced by the Second Calvary to which on this very day two troopers would make the ultimate sacrifice and die in Bila nad Radbuzou, Pfc. Raymond E. Manz and Tec5. Owen W. Sutton.The men of the 5th Infantry Division made fast progress and met up with very little resistance. Soldiers of the 5th Infantry Division knew the war would be over in a few days as units of the division moved into position.5 May, five Sherman tanks rolled into this small Sudetenland village. During the next few days two events occurred that shocked the soldiers of the Fifth Infantry Division and the world at large. One hundred and eighteen to one hundred and thirty three starving Jewish girls were discovered in a barracks and the last official casualty in the ETO took place nearby. 6 May, the 2nd Regiment, 5th Infantry Division, 3rd US Army entered Volary, commanded by Colonel Graham. One platoon of the division upon their arrival would come upon a barracks where there they found 118-133 prisoners covered in lice lying on the floor and liberated the women from the factory building. 7 May, would bring about another historical incident that occurred in Volary, the last official casualty in Europe to die some nine minutes after the official ending of the war. From the 5th Infantry Division Headquarters in Volary, Colonel Graham would present the article of surrender to the German Nazis in Volary. Pfc. Charles Havlat, 803rd Tank Destroyers , 5th Infantry Division , would become the last of many Red Devils who made the ultimate sacrifice by giving of their lives by fighting the fascist terror and occupation created by the German Nazis during World War II, in Europe. Female victims of the death march were treated at the US military hospital at Volary. [Photos are very graphic.] They had no potable water and only a wooden box in the corner as a toilet. These young ladies, with an average weight of 82 pounds, survived the 700 kilometer Death March that began in Poland on January 29 and lasted for 97 days. The women were suffering from starvation, malnutrition, tuberculosis, typhus, heart trouble, blistered and gangrenous feet, festered wounds, diarrhea, and frostbite. Upon seeing the poor condition of the women, American soldiers set up a hospital for them in Volary where they were able to recuperate for the next few months. On May 11, soldiers found the mass graves of Jewish women who were on the final "Death March" to their deaths, 22 Jewish girls, who died from malnutrition while the rest were shot by the German Nazis near Volary, were discovered. Germans were forced to exhume them in order to give the victims proper burial. Of the 83-89 bodies exhumed, many showed evidence of having been murdered. Under the supervision of the Fifth Infantry Division Jewish chaplain Herman Dicker, German civilians exhumed a mass grave containing the corpses of the Jewish women who died at the end of a death march from Helmbrechts, a sub-camp of Flossenbuerg. German civilians from Volary were made to attend burial services given by Fifth Infantry Division Jewish Chaplain Dicker for the Jewish women exhumed from the mass grave in Volary. Because of the soldiers, medics, and Jewish chaplain Herman Dicker of the US Fifth Infantry Division, the victims buried in Volary are the only victims in any Holocaust cemetery where  headstones bear the victim's name." photos. USHMM photos.52 young Jewish women survivors posed in Vodnany school-hospital before release. Center front are 4 Czech Nurses. photo of survivors with their Czech nurses and partial survivor list and the Nazis who marched them. also see reunion photos. Survivors from Neu Vorwerk had marched 800 kilometers, often without shoes. Survivors from DWM (Deutsche Wollenwaren Manufaktur) had marched 700 kilometers. . Story with photos of one survivor, Gerda Weissman, who married the lieutenant who liberated her, Kurt Klein. [February 2009]

 

US Commission No. CZCE000055

Alternate German name: Wallern. Volary is located in Bohemia, Prachatice at 48°54′32″N 13°53′12″E / 48.90889°N 13.88667°E / 48.90889; 13.88667 , 13 km SW of Prachatice and 41 km WSW of Ceske Budejovice. Cemetery: 500 meters NE, near the municipal cemetery. Present town population is 1,000-5,000 with no Jews.

  • Town: Mestsky Urad, namesti 24, 384 51 Volary; tel. 0338/922-38; Maor Svatopluk Vokurkas home: Ceska 133, 384 51 Volary; tel. 0338/922-79.
  • Local: Engineer Robert Procka, Stavebni odbor MU, Nova 304, 384 51 Volary.
  • Regional: Ms. Sarka Fidlerova, Okresni Urad-Referat Kultury, 383 01 Prachatice; tel. 0338/223-61 or 228-61 and Engineer Marie Bartyzalova, Pamatkovy ustav jiznich Cech, namesti Premysla Otakara 34; tel. 038/23792.
  • Interested: Okresni Muzeum, Horni 13, 383 01 Prachatice; tel. 0338/216-52 and and PhDr. Jan Podlesak, Jihoceska universitz pedagogicka fakulta, Bezdrevska 1021/8, 370 11 Ceske Budejovice; tel. 038/371-42. Arch. Vojtech Storm, Dlouha 1052/21, 370 11 Ceske Budejovice.

No Jewish community/congregation existed in Volary. 1930 Jewish population was 1. The landmarked Jewish cemetery originated as burial place in May 1945 and as a symbolic cemetery from 1989-1990. 95 Jewish women and girls, victims of a death-march from the Grunberg Concentration Camp near Auschwitz and one man (Soviet victim of Nazis) were buried there 22 May 1945 (inmates from Hungary, Poland, Soviet Union, and Czechoslovakia). The suburban hillside, separate but near cemeteries, has a sign or plaque in Hebrew, Jewish symbols on gate or wall, and inscriptions in Czech, Polish, Hungarian, and German mentioning the Holocaust. Reached by turning directly off a public road, access is open to all via a continuous masonry wall and non-locking gate. The approximate size of cemetery is now approximately 0.1 ha.

96 stones, all in original location, are 20th century marble flat shaped stones with only names of the people buried. 3 special memorials to Holocaust victims exist but no special sections, other known mass graves, or structures. The municipality owns Jewish cemetery property. Adjacent properties are agricultural and municipal cemetery. Occasionally, organized Jewish group or individual tours or pilgrimage groups, private visitors and local residents stop. This cemetery was not vandalized. Local non-Jewish residents, individuals or groups of non-Jewish origin, local/municipal authorities, regional/national authorities and Jewish individuals within country did work in 1989-1990. Now, authorities occasionally clean or clear.

PhDr. J. Podlesak completed survey on 3 August 1992. Documentation: archives of PhDr. J. Podlesak; Jan Podlesak: In memoriam 96 obeti in Vyber z praci clenu Historickeho klubu pri Jihoceskem Muzeum1982, No. 2; Vestnik ZNO, VIII, No. 7. The site was not visited. Mayor S. Vokurka in July 1992 were interviewed.

Last Updated on Friday, 27 February 2009 18:57
 
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