07. Čkyně

Written sources document a Jewish settlement in Čkyně since the mid-17th century. The largest number of Jews in the town was record-ed at the beginning of the 19th century: in 1825 there were 151 Jews living here. Their number later declined: in 1880, there were 80 Jews living in Čkyně, and in 1930 only 11. Due to the decreasing number of Jews, the seat of the Jewish community moved from Čkyně to Vimperk in 1899-1900.

There was never a Ghetto in Čkyně, since the Jewish houseswere scattered all over the town among the Christian houses. Before the middle of the 19th century, there were 8 Jewish houses located around the synagogue from a total of 23. Some of them have been preserved, albeit reconstructed.

The synagogue No. 105, located at the mill run in the southern part of the town, was built in 1828 in simple Classicist style as a replacement for the older synagogue which was demolished in the 1960-70’s. On the ground floor of the new synagogue there was a prayer hall as well as a classroom, a matzo bakery, and a flat. Regular worship services took place in the synagogue until 1895, then occasionally until the First World War. In 1922, the synagogue was sold and adapted for use as a carpenter’s workshop and flat. In 2014, the synagogue was renovated and used for cultural purposes and as a regional Jewish museum. In the courtyard adjacent to the synagogue there stands the former barn that held the funeral car. The Jewish cemetery is located 700 meters southeast of the town center, on a hillside above the railway line from Strakonice to Vimperk. It was founded in the last quarter of the 17th century, then enlarged in the 19th century. Nearly 400 tombstones are preserved and cover an area of 1,853 square meters from the time the cemetery was founded (the oldest readable stones are from 1688 and 1700) until the early 1940’s. The repaired mortuary from the 19th-century bears a commemorative plaque honoring the victims of the Holocaust. The cemetery is freely accessible.

Interesting: In the synagogue’s prayer hall there is a uniquely preserved wall painting around the 19th-century tabernacle, and a winter chapel has been preserved on the upper floor with a restored tabernacle for the Torah scrolls.