46. Volary

A minor Jewish settlement was documented in the town from the middle of the 19th century. In 1880, there lived 2 Jews here, then in 1930 a single Jewish man. In May 1945, a graveyard for victims of the death march was established on the eastern edge of the town, adjacent to the municipal cemetery. At this time, women prisoners were buried here from the German concentration camp Helmbrechts, from where over 1,300 women were expelled on a death march on 13 April 1945. 

On 4 May in the afternoon, about 170 exhausted women arrived to Volary on foot, and another 140 women were carried on the back of eight horses because they were no longer able to walk. On May 5, Volary was liberated by the US Army. Its commander ordered the exhumation of all graves which held the women who died in the last section of the death march from Kvilda to Volary. The graves at the newly designated cemetery were dug by Germans under the supervision of American soldiers.

On May 11, a funeral was held with the mandatory participation of all German inhabitants, including children. The service was held by the chaplain of the American Army, Rabbi Herman Rocker. The coffins were later placed in several common tombs, over which were erected wooden crosses with the names of the buried. The women who died after May 11 were buried in separate graves. A total of 95 women of Jewish origin, born in Hungary, Poland, Bohemia, Germany, and Russia, were buried here. In 1974, a sculpture of a female figure in an elevated position was unveiled in front of the cemetery. The sculpture is the work of academic sculptor Vojtěch Pařík. 

In 1989-1990, the cemetery area was architecturally newly modified. Designed by architect Vojtěch Štorm from České Budějovice, 95 uniform tombstones in the form of traditional Jewish steles were erected over the graves of the buried victims. Eighty-five of the steles bear the names of the buried, while ten are marked only as “Unknown”. In the upper part of the cemetery there is a monument which bears the inscription: “Are you indifferent, all you who pass by? Look and see if anyone has a pain like that which was caused to me”.