Welcome To The Caslav* Jewish Cemetery Restoration Project.

  

 Photos:  ©Rita Reed          

The Caslav Jewish Cemetery in 1990           

The Caslav Jewish Cemetery October, 2002

     Photos © Mojmir Maly'

* Please note: The "C" in Caslav is pronounced like the "ch" in church.

Project Details      Project Coordinators      Progress Report      How You Can Help!      Contact Us      Photo Essay by Rita Reed     

A Message From Al Stein      Project Donors and Supporters      The Caslav Synagogue      List of Surnames in the Caslav Jewish Cemetery

 

Purpose and Scope

The purpose of the Project (CJCRP) is the complete restoration of the Jewish Cemetery of Caslav, Czech Republic.  On this web-site you will find the history of the Caslav Jewish cemetery, the objectives of the Project, CJCRP coordinators, sponsors, donors and supporters.   The Project was founded by Mr. Al Stein and is realized in cooperation with the Czech Heritage Action Initiative (CHAI)the Jewish Community of Prague, the Federation of Jewish Communities of the Czech Republic, with  the assistance of the United States Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad, and in the oversight of Rabbi Karol Efraim Sidon, the Chief Rabbi of the Czech Republic.

Background Information about Caslav and its Jewish Cemetery

C
aslav is located in Bohemia, at 49 degrees 05 minutes latitude, and 15 degrees 04 minutes longitude, 9 km SE of the district town of Kutna Hora, approximately  70 km SE from Prague, and 30 km SW of Pardubice. The cemetery is 1.5 km N of the city center on Chotusicka Street. The town was founded around the year 1260.

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History of The Jewish Cemetery of Caslav

The Jewish cemetery was established in 1884 in a section of the municipal cemetery of
Caslav. Its present area is 53 X 19 meters. In the original plan for the cemetery, space was delegated for 380 burials, including the Children's Section, but the cemetery contains just under 340 burials (there are approximately 275 adults and 59 children). 

The land on which the cemetery lies is owned by the town of Caslav (as it has always been).  Recently, an agreement was reached between the municipal authority of Caslav and the Jewish community of Prague (in whose area of responsibility the cemetery falls) for the transfer of ownership of the Jewish section of the cemetery to the Jewish Community of Prague.

The Jewish Community of Prague, through its corporation,  Matana a.s. administers and pays for the routine maintenance of the cemetery as it has done since the year 1997.  There is a permanent local caretaker, who conducts the routine maintenance of the site year-round, but due to the serious lack of funding, the work is restricted to the constant battle against the overgrowth of vegetation to which the cemetery is strongly prone. 

When we began this project, approximately 120 gravestones lay fallen on the ground.  During the Nazi occupation and during the communist period, approximately 80 gravestones were removed from the cemetery, and these individuals continue to lie in unmarked graves.  Fortunately, the burial list was preserved in its entirety.  Please help us to restore the dignity of this cemetery, and to honor the memory of those who went before us.

To find out how to support  CJCRP, please go to: Donation Information

The Jewish Community of Caslav

The history of the Jewish community of Caslav is not long, but it is important and of great interest as in many ways it is representative of the Jewish experience in the Czech lands from the mid- 19th century to the mid-20th century.

Jews living in the Czech lands, under the rule of the Austro-Hungarian Empire faced many restrictions and limitations.  Until the First Austrian Constitution of 1848,  under which Jews were granted equality under the law,  only one Jewish family was permitted to live in Caslav.  The creation of the Dual Monarchy in 1867 officially proclaimed the full civic and political emancipation of the Jews, and brought about dramatic demographic shifts, as Jews were allowed to purchase homes and land, and residency restrictions were abolished.   Naturally, many new Jewish communities were formed.  For example, in the year 1872 alone, 327 Jewish congregations, and 47 religious societies were recorded. 
                                                                                       
Excerpted from an essay by Dr. Arno Parik,  published in Jewish Sights of Bohemia and Moravia .   Fiedler, Jiri. Prague:Sefer 1991)

The Jewish Community of Caslav was formally founded in 1870, and numbered approximately 300 people.                                                               (Statistic: Jewish Sights of Bohemia and Moravia  Fiedler, Jiri  Prague: Sefer:1991)         

194 Jewish residents of Caslav were killed by the Nazis.
(Statistic:  Blackbook of Localities Whose Jewish Population Was Exterminated by the Nazis  . Yad Vashem Martyr's and Heroes' remembrance Authority.  Jerusalem, Yad Vashem: 1965

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