06. Čichtice

A Jewish settlement in Čichtice is documented from the end of the 17th century until the beginning of the 20th century. The Jewish community that was founded in the first quarter of the 18th century was abolished at the end of the 19th century.

Jewish houses were likely concentrated in two separate groups from the 18th century: three houses stood on the street on the eastern edge of the village with another eleven houses on a street on the western outskirts of the village. The house that served as the synagogue and school stands on a Jewish street on the west-ern edge of the village. There are eight original Jewish houses today under heritage protection: on “Horní Židovna” houses No. 71 and 75, and on “Dolní Židovna” No. 80, 81, 85, 86, 88, and 92.

The Jewish cemetery was founded only after the establishment of the Jewish community, and in 1724 the Jews were still being buried in the Jewish cemetery in Dub near Prachatice. The Jewish cemetery near Čichtice was probably founded around the middle of the 18th century. It is located 800 meters southeast of the village, on a hillside amidst meadows. The oldest readable tombstone comes from 1798 – the tomb of Abraham, son of Leb. The cemetery covers 1,439 square meters and holds about 230 preserved tombstones from the end of the 18th century to the Second World War, including several dozen tombstones with typical South Bohemian ornamentation. The mortuary of unknown age was reconstructed at the end of the 1990’s. The cemetery is freely accessible.

Interesting: Tombstones from the late 18th century frequently bear the motif of wine grapes. Wine grapes symbolize the kingdom of God, Israel, and the twelve tribes, especially the tribes of Judah and Joseph, which rep-resent two forms of the Jewish government: in exile “Joseph is a fruit-ful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; whose branches run over the wall” and in the land of Israel “(Judah) binding his foal unto the vine, and his ass’ colt unto the choice vine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes”. The wine motif may also be a symbolic expression of the name Weiner or Weinberger.