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Part II: The Jews of Frantiskovy Lazne

by Kosher River Cruise Kosher Tour Operator
The history of Jews in Františkovy Lázně is relatively short, starting only during the era of emancipation by the end of 18th Century.  Before that, Jews were barred from residing within the city inbounds. 

Their short history doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take the time to visit the town during your Jewish vacation to the Czech Republic!

A Short-lived Community


The first evidence of any Jews within the city dates back to 1793. During the spa Summer season, Jewish merchants from neighboring towns such as Hazlov, Kynšperk nad Ohří, Kynžvart or Lomnička, would come to town and offer their goods. Around 1830, a Jew named J. Kauders opened a season-operating kosher restaurant, where the Jewish spa-guests naturally started to concentrate and, also, where very first services were held. 

Jewish Community

The place functioned mainly under the auspicies of Kauder's son-in-law, Phillip Adler, who later became the first head of the Jüdischer Cultusverein in town. However, Jews are permitted to settle down permanently only after 1848. 

In the beginning of 1870s, the number of Jews living in the city reached more than three dozen and continued to rise. The peak of Jewish population was in the beginning of 1880, a total of 70 persons. In 1930, during the last pre-WWII census, the number of citizens claiming Jewish nationality and/or faith was 63.  We can assume that the community was, throughout its history, small but relatively stable and well- established.

Only a handful of survivors, after returning from concentration camps in May 1945, had for some time re-established the Jewish community. But it very quickly ceased to exist before the end of 1940s. This was due to rapid decrease of population (consequences of Shoah, as well as the beginning of Communist regime in Czechoslovakia, and emigration to Israel).

Nowadays, the number of people that are officially affiliated with the nearest active Jewish communty (Karlovy Vary) is a mere 3. 

The Body of the Jewish Community


An independent Jüdischer Cultusverein in existed probably as early as 1830's. However, due to non-existent sources, it is impossible to establish any concrete date. For this reason, we have to asumme only the year 1875 as a hard-set point of beginning of an existence of a legal Jewish body. 

However, there are sources stating that as early as in 1830, a kosher restaurant for Jewish visitors of the spa city was operated by J.Kauders and later by his son-in-law Phillip Adler. The restaurant attracted more and more rich Jewish guests every year and naturally would become a center of the Jewish life in the city, which at that time, was still more or less restricted to the Summer season only.

Synagoga

Another turning point in the existence of the community could have possibly happened during the revolutionary year 1848, when Jews in Bohemia were granted full civil rights, and therefore could free-willingly move to any place, own land, study at universities, run any business, etc. It is more than likely that a number of them moved from neighboring places and opened their businesses here.

Hugo Gold states that in 1870's the number of the Jews who were permanently settled in the city was more than 30 people and thanks to devotion of some, and donations of others, they begun to consider a purchase of a lot for a synagogue and a Jewish cemetery. In 1873, a decision to buy two building grounds was made.

Despite its relatively short history, the Jews of Františkovy Lázně had lived quite prosperous lives at least until the Second World War. But that’s not all there is about them. Let us move on to Part 3 — that is, unless you wish to go on a Jewish trip to Europe and immerse yourself in history!

Here are the other Part of the article:
Part I: The Jews of Františkovy Lázně


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Created on May 16th 2018 00:27. Viewed 276 times.

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