38. Strakonice

The Jewish settlement in Strakonice is documented in written sources from the end of the 15th century. In 1724, there were 12 Jewish families living in Bezděkov (part of today’s Strakonice), then before the middle of the 19th century there were 25 Jewish families here. In 1880, 379 Jews lived in Strakonice, in 1900 there were 281 Jews, and in 1930 there were 169 Jews in the whole city. Jewish houses were concentrated in the southern part of Bezděkov from the end of the 17th century at the latest. They were built on the eastern bank of the Volyňka as well as at the mouth of the Otava River. In 1837, there were 14 Jewish houses located in the Jewish quarter, divided by the Volyňka River and the mill run; eight houses and the synagogue were on the right bank, and six houses on the left bank forming a single street. Both parts of the Jewish quarter were joined by a wooden bridge. In the 20th century, all the Jewish houses on the west bank of the river were demolished as part of construction of the Fezko company, while the houses on the east bank, including the synagogue and the Jewish community house, were demolished in the 1970’s for the construction of a department store. The oldest documented prayer house was wooden and burned down in 1741. The old synagogue which replaced it collapsed in 1858 with a new neo-Romanesque synagogue built on the same site in 1860. Service took place in the synagogue until the Nazi occupation. The Czechoslovak Hussite Church used it as a prayer hall from 1951, and it was demolished in 1976. Jewish cemetery – it is not known when the Jewish cemetery was founded, but it probably existed around 1700. After 1860, the cemetery was significantly expanded. The most readable tombstone dates back to 1736, with a total of 480 tombstones covering the 2,827 square meters of the cemetery. It was used for burials until even after the Second World War. This is a well-preserved cemetery with many Baroque and Classicist tombstones. The cemetery is located about 2 km west of the castle, on the street named U Židovského hřbitova. Interesting: The tombs of Fürth family members are preserved in the cemetery; they were part of the initial renowned Strakonice production of fez caps.