Saint Bartholomew Church
|o Mayor||Josef Kozel|
|o Total||14.34 km2 (5.54 sq mi)|
|Elevation||280 m (920 ft)|
|o Density||340/km2 (880/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|o Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
He?man?v M?stec (Czech pronunciation: ['r?manu:f 'mst?ts]; German: Hermannstädtel) is a town in Pardubice Region of the Czech Republic. It has a population of around 4,800 inhabitants. It is located at the northern foothills of the Iron Mountains (about 10 km west of Chrudim and 87 km east of Prague) at an altitude of 275 meters above sea level.
Jews were living in He?man?v M?stec as early as the first half of the 15th century and it represents one of the oldest documented Jewish communities in the Chrudim District. A minyan (10 adult Jewish males) was recorded as early as 1570. The Jewish community continued to grow and thrive over the years.
Eventually, He?man?v M?stec became the seat of the district rabbi. The Jewish population peaked in 1849 at 840 and began to decline as both Jews and non-Jews left rural areas to pursue employment in cities as part of the industrial revolution. During the occupation by Nazi Germany during World War II, most of the approximately 60 remaining Jews were deported to the Tere?in concentration camp in December 1942. Few survived the war and the Jewish community was effectively destroyed. In 2001, through the efforts of the local inhabitants, the Jewish cemetery was restored along with the Synagogue and rabbi's home which now serve as a cultural center.
The town was the property of a series of aristocratic landowners who enjoyed a mostly positive relationship with the Jewish community. The Jewish community paid a fixed annual sum of money to the landowning gentry. During the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, Jews living in the town were mainly engaged in trade (linen, wool, hides, or feathers) and money-lending. The location of the town along the road connecting Prague with Moravia brought a great number of merchants into the area. A Jewish settlement grew up on single street (now Havlickova Street) which eventually had its own mayor, police, and other officials.
According to oral tradition, the Jewish cemetery in town dates back to the 1430. Usually, when Jews move into an area, one of their first community actions is to purchase land for a cemetery. There is documentation from 1667 that additional land was purchased for the purpose of enlarging the Jewish cemetery. There are records of additional extensions that took place in 1685, 1709, 1723 and 1838. The cemetery eventually reached almost 4,000 square meters. In 1643, the Jewish community united to form a Chevra Kadisha (or burial society). The date of the construction of the first synagogue is unclear, but it was destroyed in a large town fire in 1623.
In 1661 the Count Jan Karel ?pork became the owner of the estate which included the town. Under his administration, the local Jewish community flourished. The Count encouraged Jews to move into houses that were abandoned during the Thirty Years' War along a single street leading to the Jewish cemetery (now called Havlickova Street). He allowed the Jews to rebuild their synagogue, which was destroyed in the 1623 fire.
In 1680 the town was visited by a plague that claimed many lives, leaving a large number of dilapidated houses behind. In 1686, Count Ferdinand Leopold ?pork called upon the Jews from the region to inhabit the abandoned houses. At the turn of the 17th century the town became the seat of the regional rabbi.
The ruling Habsburgs introduced restrictions on Jewish movement, residence, marriage, and other matters of everyday life. In 1727 the vice regent's office in Prague confirmed a regulation concerning the distance between Jewish dwellings and Christian churches that led to the synagogue of He?man?v M?stec being torn down because it was too close to the town's Catholic church. Eventually, Jewish self-government was abolished, and the Jewish settlement was surrounded by an enclosure with three gates. All Jews were required to live in this part of town, effectively establishing a Jewish ghetto in He?man?v M?stec.
Until construction of a new synagogue in the Baroque style in 1760, the Jewish community used a private home as a house of prayer. Count Jan Václav ?pork, who then owned the town's land, is said to have financially supported construction and laid the foundation stone for the new synagogue, which is in the same location as the current synagogue.
For over a century the Jews of Bohemia including the Jews living in He?man?v M?stec had to endure a number of restrictions with regard to employment, where they could live, what they could study, and limitations on marriage. For a period only the first-born sons were allowed to marry. Despite the restrictions of the ruling Habsburgs, the relationship with the local gentry (i.e., the ?pork family) was generally positive.
In 1848 serfdom was abolished, and the Jews living in He?man?v M?stec were emancipated and allowed freedom of movement. As a result, many Jews left the town for employment opportunities in industrialized cities such as Prague or emigrated abroad.
In 1870 construction of new synagogue, with the backing of the aristocratic landowner, on the same site as the 1760 building was started. This building was in the Neo-Romanesque style by the architect Frantisek Schmoranz. The architect had some lofty plans which had to be abandoned because the Catholic clergy feared that the synagogue might outshine the nearby St. Bartholomew's church. The original design had a tower with a stairway leading to the women's gallery. After design changes, the synagogue provided access to the women's gallery via a covered passageway from the school building next door. A stone-hewn image of the Ten Commandants adorned the top of the building. Due to the reduction in size, the building was not really sufficient to support the large crowds which attended worship services especially on holidays. As the Jewish population declined toward the latter part of the 19th century, the building became sufficient.
With the relaxation of restrictions on Jews, by the late 1800s the town and its Jewish inhabitants had a thriving role in the production of shoes. There were several Jewish-owned handmade and machine-made shoe production companies. The Falk family owned a handmade shoe factory; and the Löwit family production company had a shoe factory in town that employed 300 workers. Most of these companies had international exports. As Jews were now permitted to study without restriction, many of them also pursued opportunities as attorneys, physicians, and other professions. In 1891, He?man?v M?stec became the seat of a district rabbi, with the dependent communities being Chrudim, Hroubovice, and Drevikov. This was a logical decision given that the He?man?v M?stec Jewish community had a long established protected status, a positive relationship with the landowning gentry of the town, and had a rabbi in residence. While the town itself had less than a 100 Jewish inhabitants, it served a broader Jewish community of 500 Jews in the region including Chrast, Chrudim, Hroubovice, P?estavlky, Slati?any, Hlinsko, Svratká, Trhova Kamenice, Nasvrky, and Se?.
On March 16, 1939, Nazi Germany established the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. The He?man?v M?stec Jewish community was now under the rule of Nazi Germany and the Nuremberg Laws restricting Jewish rights were the law of the land. In 1940, Jews living in the Protectorate were deprived of the ability to do business, they were dismissed from government service, Jewish children were denied the right to attend school, and worship and assembly were forbidden. In He?man?v M?stec the Ten Commandants on the synagogue were removed, and the building was used by the German army for storage. Local residents planted vegetation around the Jewish cemetery in an attempt to hide it from the view of the German occupiers.
On December 3, 1942, most of the Jews of He?man?v M?stec (approximately 60) were ordered to assemble at a meeting point in the nearby town of Pardubice and transported to the Tere?in concentration camp two days later. Many of those were eventually transported to Auschwitz.
During the occupation by Nazi Germany, Jewish ritual objects, including over a dozen Torah scrolls, were transported to the Jewish Museum in Prague. These eventually became part of the Memorial Scrolls Trust collection housed at the Westminster Synagogue in London. It is likely that so many Torah scrolls were attributed to He?man?v M?stec because it was the seat of the district rabbi. As the Jewish community in the area shrank during the late 1800s and early 1900s and other synagogues closed their doors, their Torah scrolls probably were sent to the synagogue in He?man?v M?stec. Thus, by 1940, He?man?v M?stec had a large inventory of Torah scrolls.
In 1945 at the end of World War II, only two members of the Jewish community returned to He?man?v M?stec. The once thriving Jewish community in the town was now effectively gone. After World War II the synagogue was used mainly as a warehouse. The synagogue, rabbi's house, and cemetery received little maintenance or care and deteriorated. At one point, the Bohemian Brethren Evangelic Church purchased the synagogue and adjacent rabbi's house which were used as a storeroom and a prayer house, respectively.[6-] Many of the former homes of the Jewish community were razed between 1980 and 1982 as part of a redevelopment effort.
In 1986 the Town of He?man?v M?stec purchased the synagogue. The Jewish Culture Preservation Society was established in He?man?v M?stec at the suggestion of Ladislav Mare?, a son of Hermína Mare?ová, a Jewish woman who had married a non-Jew prior to World War II. Ladislav Mare? was not deported during the Nazi occupation because he was not registered as part of the Jewish community. Hermína Mare?ová was liberated from Bergen-Belsen and returned to He?man?v M?stec after the war.
The Jewish Culture Preservation Society raised funds and coordinated efforts to restore important Jewish sites in He?man?v M?stec. In the early 1990s much of the cemetery was restored. Wild vegetation was cleared, gravestones were reset and inventoried, the surrounding walls were repaired, and the Chevra Kadisha building (aka mortuary) and caretaker's home were restored. In 1991, the synagogue and the Jewish cemetery of He?man?v M?stec were declared national cultural monuments. Using plans from 1870, the synagogue building and adjacent rabbi's house were restored in 2001. The synagogue was furnished with replicas of the original benches, and the painting and stained glass windows were restored. The only major architectural change is the size of the bimah (area where the Torah is read). It was enlarged to better serve as a stage in support of its new role as a concert hall. The rabbi's house is now the home of the Cyrany art gallery.
The Jewish cemetery, which dates from the 15th Century, is among the oldest and best preserved Jewish cemeteries in the Czech Republic. It is almost 4,000 square meters, and contains over 1,000 tombstones. It is owned by the Jewish community of Prague and maintained by a local caretaker. The oldest preserved and legible gravestone is from 1647. The tombstones, especially the older ones, are mostly made from sandstone; the newer stones are made from marble. Inscriptions are in Czech, German, Hebrew, and various combinations.
A restored mortuary building, which dates from 1838, is situated in the middle of the cemetery. This building was used by the Chevra Kadisha (burial society) to prepare the deceased for burial. Today the mortuary building contains a restored hearse that came from the Jewish cemetery in Ho?ice.
1849 - 840
1900 - 240
1903 - 300
The following people served as the Rabbi of He?man?v M?stec:
Judah Löb Borges (died 1872), a member of the community distinguished for his Talmudic and literary attainments, officiated temporarily when there was a vacancy in the rabbinate.
The list below depicts Jewish citizens of He?man?v M?stec that were deported by the Germans in 1942. The list is mainly based upon material compiled by Ladislav Mare? (dated 14 February 1992) and was cross-checked against other sources.
These are the people who boarded the train from Pardubice to Terezín on December 5, 1942.
|Name||Disposition||Age at death|
|Marta Agularová||Auschwitz 1944||17|
|Irma Agularová||Auschwitz 1944||15|
|Markéta Agularová||Auschwitz 1944||13|
|Julie Agularová||Auschwitz 1944||11|
|Kamila Agularova-Vohryzková||Auschwitz 1943||58|
|Old?ich Algular||Auschwitz 1944||7|
|?t?pán Barbier||Auschwitz 1944||71|
|Elsa Barbierová||Auschwitz 1944||52|
|Kamila Briková||Liberated in 1942 at age 73|
|Leo Brosan||Auschwitz 1943||46|
|Elisabeta Eisnerová||Terezín 1943||81|
|Terezie Englanderová||Terezín 1944||80|
|Ota Flor||Auschwitz 1943||42|
|Marketa Florová||Auschwitz 1943||39|
|Vera Florová||Auschwitz 1943||9|
|Marie Florova-Vohryzková||Auschwitz 1943||65|
|Rabbi Isak Folkmann||Terezín 1943||85|
|Arno?tka Folkmannová||Terezín 1944||67|
|Marie Fuchsová||Auschwitz 1944||83|
|Artur Fuchs||Auschwitz 1944||45|
|Karel Fuchs||Auschwitz 1944||16|
|Helena Fuchsová||Auschwitz 1944||11|
|Zde?ka Fuchsová||Auschwitz 1944||51|
|Emil Goldmann||Auschwitz 1943||64|
|Bedriska Goldmannová||Auschwitz 1943||53|
|Jan Goldmann||Auschwitz 1943||23|
|Kamila Goldmannová||Auschwitz 1944||79|
|Oskar Goldmann||Auschwitz 1943||56|
|Karel Goldmann||Auschwitz 1943||54|
|Marta Goldmannová||Auschwitz 1943||53|
|Pavel Goldmann||Auschwitz 1943||14|
|Hedvika Kohnová||Auschwitz 1943||43|
|Hermína Mare?ová||To Auschwitz, Neuengamme/Tiefstack, Neuengamme/Neugraben, liberated from Bergen-Belsen at age 53|
|Anna Passerová||Terezín 1943||68|
|Anna Pipalová||Auschwitz 1944||29|
|Jitka Pipalová||Auschwitz 1944||5|
|Hermína Pokorná||Terezín 1942||82|
|Julius Pollak||Auschwitz 1943||49|
|Karolína Pollaková||Auschwitz 1943||49|
|Karel Pollak||Auschwitz 1943||19|
|Zden?k Pollak||Auschwitz 1943||15|
|Regina Pollaková||Auschwitz 1944||75|
|Artur Richter||Auschwitz 1943||63|
|Klára Richterová||Auschwitz 1943||59|
|Josef Richter||Auschwitz 1943||30|
|Jana Scharpnerová||Auschwitz 1944||75|
|Kamila Schicková||Auschwitz 1944||47|
|Rudolf Spitz||Terezín 1943||69|
|?ofie Traubová||Auschwitz 1944||69|
|Vít?zslav Wachsmann||Auschwitz 1944||49|
|Berta Wachsmannová||Auschwitz 1944||44|
These are the people who boarded the train from Pardubice to Tere?in on December 9, 1942.
|Name||Disposition||Age at Death|
|Ev?en Bass||Auschwitz 1944||67|
|Julie Bassová||Terezín 1943||58|
|Frantisek Oesterreicher||Auschwitz 1944||31|
Other trains to Terezín and incomplete data
|Name||Disposition||Age at Death|
|Josef Agular||Mauthausen 1942||36|
|Rudolf Kacer||Terezín 1945||65|
|Rudolfina Klausová||liberated from Terezín at age 49|
|Arno?t Lowit||Mauthausen 1942||45|
|Vilém Pokorný||Auschwitz 1942||58|
|Karel Schultz||Auschwitz 1944||53|
|Olga Ucnová||liberated from Terezín at age 51|
|Pavel Weissbarth||Auschwitz 1943||43|