Prague Will Have a New Memorial Built With Jewish Gravestones

The Czech sculptor Jaroslav Róna will create a new memorial from the cut Jewish gravestones, which have been part of the paving on Wenceslas Square in Prague for decades.

The Jewish community in Prague is launching a crowdfunding campaign to build the memorial, stated in a press release Petra Schwarz Koutská of the Jewish community.

The memorial will be placed close to the Jewish cemetery not too far from the Žižkov TV Tower in Mahlerovy sady.

For many years, the Jewish community in Prague drew attention to the origin of the paving in the lower part of Wenceslas Square.

In 2020, dozens of paving stones made from Jewish headstones have been found during redevelopment work, confirming speculation that the former communist regime raided synagogues and graveyards for building materials.

The names of the dead are unidentifiable because the headstones have been broken to form cobblestones. One person appears to have died in 1877, when Prague was part of the Habsburg empire, while the most recent death is shown to have happened in the 1970s, during the height of communism.

The stones appear to have been taken from different cemeteries.

Thanks to a memorandum signed by Prague and the Technical Administration of Roads, the paving stones returned to the Jewish community.

The new memorial will have the shape of a horizontal circular lens of 200 gravestones with remnants of Hebrew and Czech inscriptions. The total budget is estimated at 750,000 crowns, and will be unveiled on September 7.

“We also ask those of you who care that the stones, as witnesses of past injustices, will experience lost piety. We therefore ask you to contribute to the reverential correction of past crimes, “says the chairman of the Jewish community in Prague and the campaign organizer František Bányai. He wants to raise 150,000 crowns, which should allow the surroundings of the new monument .

Source

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