22. Neznašov

The earliest written reports of Jews in Neznašov are from the begin-ning of the 17th century. In 1618, 15 Jewish families (51 persons) lived in the Neznašov estate, then in 1721 there were 10 Jewish families living here; the registry of Jews from 1793 indicates 28 families. In 1880 there were 37 Jews living here, 22 Jews in 1900, and only 5 Jews in 1930. The ghetto was probably founded in the 17th century in the northeast part of the village.

Jewish houses made up two settle-ments and were separated by the castle and park. In the larger Jewish neighborhood, 22 houses were owned by Jews in the first half of the 19th century; the smaller neighborhood consisted of 8 houses in Jew-ish ownership. Most of them are still preserved as reconstructions. In the larger neighborhood of Jewish houses there still stands the former Jewish schoolhouse; in the jamb of the entrance door, there are still traces of the mezuzah, a small ornate wooden box in which a parch-ment scroll with selected biblical verses was preserved. The synagogue is first mentioned in written sources in 1678. In 1709, a new synagogue was built in a different place and in 1770 it was probably rebuilt. Worship was held in the synagogue until around 1918. In the early 20th century, the synagogue was heavily damaged by strong winds, and in 1927 its roof collapsed. The perimeter walls of the synagogue were demolished in 1973.

The Jewish cemetery is located 600 m southeast of the village on the edge of a forest on a hillside above the stream, in the village of Všemyslice. It was founded in the first half of the 18th century and was expanded in 1858. There are over 300 tombstones ranging from 1749 to the 1930’s, including an interesting Cubist tombstone of Alois Bondy from 1926. The cemetery is locked.

Interesting: The repaired mortuary, built in 1858 (this year is carved on the stone entrance portal), houses a stone table. It was used after death in a ceremony called the taharah, which was the ritual cleaning of the deceased’s body.