Austria - Czech



LOCATION:  See Map by Mapquest.

       A major industrial and administrative center of North Bohemia, Liberec lies between the Jizerske Mountains and the Jested ridge, with the Jested peak rising just to the south of the city. The first appearance of the city in writing comes from the year 1352, in church records revealing that the little village on the Nisa River already had a parish church and that it was a trade center occupying a valuable spot on overland trade routes.  At the time the town was in the hands of the Bilberstein family residing in Frydlant Castle to the north. The city is just a few kilometers from the border with Germany, and for a long time was a primarily ethnic German city.

       Liberec is a city in northern Bohemia.  Jews were not legally permitted to reside in the town until the late 1840's.  The Synagogue pictured above, designed by Karl Konig, was dedicated in 1889.  At the time of the Sudeten crisis (1938), there were about 1,400 Jews in Liberec.  After the annexation by Germany, virtually all the Jews left.  The Synagogue was demolished in November, 1938.  The postcard below was posted in the early 1900's while the town was under Austrian control.

       See additional historical information in the  CEMETERY  section below.




CEMETERY: The following description is taken from the Czech Republic section of the IAJGS Cemetery Project:

(from IAJGS Cemetery Project)
US Comm. No. CZCE000303 

     Liberec is located in Bohemia. The cemetery is located at 900 m N. of Town Hall, on Ruprecticka street (corner of  Kvetnove revoluce street). It was also called Reichenberg in German. The town is located at 50.47 longitude and 15.03 latitude. Liberec is 80 km ENE of Usti nad Labem; 90 Km NNE of Praha. The present town population is over 100,000 with 10 - 100 Jews. 
     Town officials: Mestky urad, namesti E. Benese 1, 460 01 Liberec; mayor: ing. Jiri Drda, tel.048/311. Local officials: department of culture (rest as above). Regional officials: Okresni urad, referat kultury, namesti E.Benese 26, 460 01 Liberec, tel.048/237-66 and Zidovska nabozenska obec, Slavickova 5, 460 01 Liberec, tel. 048/12-06-73. Interested parties: Statni zidovske muzeum, Jachymova 3, 110 01 Praha 1, tel. 02/231-06-34, 231-07-85 and Krajske muzeum, Masarykova str., 460 01 Liberec, tel. 048/237-66. Caretaker: Anna Marie Kasparova (has the key), Reprechticka 101/385 (=caretaker house) 460 01 Liberec. 
     The earliest known Jewish community in this town was prayer room since 1861. The Jewish population as of the last census was 1392 people in 1930. Noteworthy historical events involving or affecting the Jewish community were increase in Jewish population since last half of 19th C. (6 families in 1823, 30 families in 1861, 3144 souls in 1869); prayer room since 1861, congregation since 1860s; expulsion of Jews by Nazis in 1938; many Jewish inhabitants from East settled in Liberec after WWII (1211 people in 1946); congregation exists still now. Noteworthy individuals who lived in this Jewish community: prominent local undertakers (industry, business); native town of German opera singer Richard Breitenfeld (1869-1942). The Jewish cemetery was established in 1865. Tzadakkim and other noteworthy Jews buried in the cemetery were 11 women prisoners from labour camp in Bily Kostel; 8 victims of rairoad transport of prisoners in early 1945. The last known Jewish burial was in still used now. The type of Jewish community which used this cemetery was probably Progressive/Reform. The cemetery is not listed and/or protected as a landmark or monument. 
     The cemetery location is urban, on flat land, isolated, marked by a sign or plaque in local language (German), a sign or plaque in Hebrew, inscriptions in Hebrew on gate or wall. The marker mentioned Jews. It is reached by turning directly off a public road. It is open with permission. The cemetery is surrounded by a continuous masonry wall. There is a gate that locks. 
     The approximate size of cemetery before WWII and now is approx. 0.42 ha hectares. There are 100-500 stones. 
     The cemetery has special section for children,suicides,refugees,victims: prisoners seeabove; urns from liquidated cemetery in Jablonec n.N). Stones are datable from legible, 1870 to 20th century. The cemetery has tombstones and memorial markers made of marble, granite, sandstone and slate. The cemetery contains tombstones that are flat shaped stones, finely smoothed and inscribed stones, sculpted monuments, multi-stone monuments and obelisks. The cemetery has tombstones with iron decorations or lettering and with bronze decorations or lettering. Inscriptions on tombstones are in Hebrew, German and Czech. The cemetery contains special memorial mounuments to Jewish soldiers. The cemetery contains marked mass graves. Within the limits of the there is a pre-burial house and there are other structures (both ceremonial hall/sold/and mortuary). The pre-burial house has a tahara and a chimney. 
     The present owner of the cemetery property is the local Jewish community (Liberec). The cemetery property is now used for Jewish cemetery use only. Properties adjacent to it is residential. The cemetery boundaries has not changed since 1939. The cemetery is visited occasionally by private visitors (Jewish or non-Jewish). 
     The cemetery has been vandalized between 1945 and 1981. No maintenance has been done. The work was done by Jewish groups within country. Restoration was done in occasionally since 1945 (60.d); 1981 and 1986-1987 (60. h); continuously since 1989 (a,c,e). Now there is regular caretaker. The caretaker is paid by the Jewish congregation of (Liberec).  
     Slight threat: pollution and vegetation. 
     This survey was complete by Jan Marek, Na hranici 208, 405 05 Decin, tel.and fax for messages: 0412/23-662 or 28-090 and Jiri Fiedler, Brdickova 1916, 155 00 Praha 5, tel.02/55-33-40 on 30 November 1992. 
     The following documentation was used to complete this survey: census 1930, 1946: Die Juden und Judengemeinden Bohmens,,,(1934); and notes from research made by Statni zidovske muzeum Praha; and notes from research made by J. Fiedler in 1986. Other documentation exists but was not used because not accessible now. The site was not visited. Persons interviewed for this survey were Jewish congrgation members in Liberec (see above), and Mrs. Kasparova (see above), etc. in Liberec, 1992. 

SOURCES:  International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies Cemetery Project, Czech Republic.

SUBMITTER:  Susan Buyer, Potomac, MD, USA -  descendant of William Hamerschlag of Libosovice.

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