removed from the Jewish cemetery by the Nazis: They were dug out, and removed so
that no trace of or monument to the Jewish community of Hlucin would remain.
they were placed lining a drainage ditch, some kilometers from the cemetery. In
January, workmen from the city of Hlucin public works department discovered the
gravestones that had been separated from the cemetery for more than half a
A message from
I went to
in the summer of 2006 primarily to play ice hockey for a Czech high school team
in the local arena (the coach of my
New York City
based team is from
). After returning to
, I began to wonder about the Jewish community of
. Had there been a vibrant Jewish community there, what was its history
and what became of it during the Holocaust? After doing research online
and making contact with the Czech Heritage
Action Initiative (CHAI) and the Jewish
Community of Ostrava (JCC), I returned to
in the summer of 2007. The trip was a meaningful and life-changing
experience. I spent time with various members of the Jewish community who
took me to the JCC, the two Jewish cemeteries, and the newly discovered Jewish
tombstones in nearby Hlucin, which had been discarded into a drainage ditch by
the Nazis during the Holocaust. My younger brother and I spent a day
helping to unearth some of these tombstones. It was an emotionally
draining day. Reading the tombstones and some of the broken pieces with
Hebrew writing made me wonder about the lives of the Jewish people who had once
lived in Hlucin. The utter disrespect for the tombstones was overwhelming.
(See my pictures above.) The Jewish community hopes to begin work to
restore dignity to the cemetery and create a memorial next spring or summer.
So far, there is no funding for this project.
The Jewish community of
is mostly elderly. Many Holocaust survivors are left dependent on the JCC
for services which include assistance with homecare, meals, and transportation
to and from rehabilitation. These services allow these elderly survivors to
remain independent in their homes. We must put our knowledge of the Holocaust to
use and help those elderly survivors who are living out their final years alone.
By providing the assistance necessary to allow them to remain in the comfort of
their own homes we can ensure that their remaining days are dignified. Mr.
Walter Kranz, a survivor of Thereisenstadt, is one of the sweetest and most
energetic men I have ever met. (See his profile above.) He is 85 years old
and would like to remain independent and self sufficient in his home and not in
a Czech elderly facility.
Please help this rapidly aging Jewish community in
and help restore dignity to the gravestones of former Jewish residents of
Hlucin. By helping these Holocaust survivors and Hidden Children of
Ostrava and preserving the memory of those Jews who lived there though the
restoration of its cemeteries, we can work towards Tikkun Olam – the repair of
Right: Josh, his brother Jack, Coach Martin and Waltr Kranz
and Josh with Jirina Garajova, Chairwoman of the Ostrava Jewish Community
Lisa B. Feder