37. Staré Město pod Landštejnem

It is not known exactly when Jews came to Staré Město pod Landštejnem. The oldest tombstone in the Jewish cemetery here dated back to 1610 (it has not been preserved), so we can presume that the history of the Jewish population in this town began by this time at the latest. A separate Jewish community might have been established with a wooden synagogue as early as in the first half of the 17th century, and the Jewish cemetery would have been founded earlier. In 1723, there were 11 Jewish families living in the town, then 18 Jewish families living here in 1783. In 1880 there were 79 Jews (8.4% of the population), in 1900 there were 32 Jews (3.8% of the population), and in 1930 only 12 Jews (2.0% of the population). Jewish houses were probably concentrated in one area in the northern part of the town from the 17th century. Before the middle of the 19th century, Jews lived in about fifteen houses between today’s municipal office building and the creek. About eight ground-floor and multi-storey houses have still been preserved as partial reconstructions, including the former ritual bath building No. 171 near the creek. The first synagogue was built as a wooden building in the 17th century. In the middle of the 19th century a new brick Classical synagogue was built, which apparently served for worship until the First World War. It was demolished without building documentation in 1959. The valuable Jewish cemetery is located about 600 meters north of the square on a rocky elevation between meadows. It was founded before 1610 and was last expanded in 1863. Even though the cemetery itself is documented from the beginning of the 17th century, the oldest tombstone from 1727 is likely that of Mendel, son of Jicchak. The cemetery was used for burials until the 1930’s, and several tombstones have survived from this period. During the war, the cemetery was badly damaged by the Nazis and gradually dilapidated after the war. At present, there are about 170 tombstones preserved over an area of 1,295 square meters; only a small remnant of the masonry is left of the mortuary. The cemetery is freely accessible.