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[Pages 512-514]

The History of the Jews in Protivín

(Protivín, Czech Republic – 49°12' 14°13')

Compiled by specialist subject teacher[1] František Krhoun, Protivín.

Translated from the original Czech by Jan O. Hellmann/DK

Edited in English by Dan & Rob Pearman/UK

According to its owner, the merchant Felix Richter, the oldest Jewish house in Protivín is probably house no. 111 in Blanická Street.

Mr. Richter is of the opinion that the house had a connection with the Jewish community in Protivín. According to him, the Richter family was apparently one of the ‘Schutzjuden’[2] (the families under the protection of the manorial authority). There were only a few such families, and only the oldest son in the family had the right to marry.

There was no synagogue in Protivín – just a wooden prayer house. After this burned down in 1857, the Jews leased a room for praying in the house of Mr. Zelenka – today this is no. 22[3]. In 1889 or 1890, they bought house no. 113 in Blanická Street from the heirs of Salomon Ignác (Jonáš) Weil[4] and adapted it for use as a prayer house. The cost is not known. It has not been in use since 1923; instead the prayer house in Vodňany is used.

There were no rabbis in Protivín, just teachers who also led the prayers, sung and carried out ritual slaughtering.

Until 1878, when the Jewish cemetery in Protivín was founded, Protivín Jews were buried in the Jewish cemetery at Pražák, near Vodňany.

On 13 April 1879, the Chevra Kadisha was established in Protivín. The founding 19 members were:

Šimon Weil
Abraham Holub
Salomon Weil
Jakob Kohn
Salomon Jonáš Weil
Adam Kohn
Dr. Karel Löwenstein
Michael Kohn
Emanuel Kohn
Löbl Mautner
Josef Kohn
Wilhelm Klauber
Julius Ofner
Jakob Wagner
Ludvig Blum
Berthold Richter
Rosalie Ledererová
Pepi (Josefa) Steinerová
Marie Steinerová

In 1879 Emanuel Kohn was the chairman, while Wilhelm Klauber and Jakob Wagner were the assistants. Today (1932) Alfred Weil is the chairman.

The Jewish school in Protivín used to be at the old prayer house, which burned down in 1857. After that it was in the house of Mr. Zelenka at no. 22 on the square. From around 1889 the school was in house no. 113 Blanická Street, which is also where the prayer room was. There is still a classroom in the house, but it has not been in use for a long time; the schooling stopped some years before the war[5] and the children of Protivin Jews now attend the public school. One of the most fondly remembered teachers at the Jewish school is Emanuel Traub who was a very good singer with a fine tenor voice. He lived here for a long time. After him came Schleisner, then some others, then Weis and finally Neu. After the last of these, there were probably no others. Some members of the Richter and Bloch families attended the private Jewish school in Dub at Vodňany, which was attended by Jewish children from all over the Vodňany area.

The majority of Jews in Protivín were poor. They were mainly small merchants, some were butchers and one was a glazier. According to the estimate of one of the oldest citizens, they did not own more than 100,000 guilders between them.

The relatively richest one was Vilém Platovský, a merchant of drapery goods. Around 1890, he founded the ‘Premo’ factory in Protivín, producing metal buttons. The factory was in the house of Mr. Böhm, on the square. Before the war a new building was constructed for it at the train station. Mr. Platovský sold the factory after the war.

An important person today is engineer František Holub, chief clerk at the Mine and Iron Works Company in Prague.

In 1870, the Jewish community had the following members:

Šimon Weil
Salomon Weil, senior
Abraham Sametz
Salomon Weil, junior
Moritz Richter
Jakob Weil
Veit Richter
Bernard Bloch
the widow of Leopold Wagner
Jakob Kohn
Emanuel Kohn
Šimon Pleschner
Filip Neumann
Adam Kohn
Michael Kohn
Josef Kohn
Leopold Mautner from nearby Myšenec
Ehrlich from nearby Skály
Leopold Fröhlich from nearby Heřmaň
Blumová, a widow from nearby Maletice
L. Koschitschek from Žďár at Protivín

Jewish families in Protivín in 1932 were:

Richard Weil, grain merchant and owner of house no. 34 Masaryk Square, Protivín
   Lotty Weilová, his mother
   Ida Weilová, his sister;
Felix Richter, merchant with a general store at no. 111 Blanická Street, in Protivín.
   Lidka Richterová, his wife
   Jiří Richter, their son;
Alfred Weil, merchant with a general store at no. 112 Blanická Street, in Protivín.
Olga Weilová, his wife
Hanička (Hana) Weilová, their daughter;
Jindřich Spiegel, merchant with a general store on Blanická Street, in Protivín.
   Spieglová, his sister.

Jewish merchants and industrialists:

  1. those living in the Protivín area:
    Richard Weil, grain merchant in Protivín;
    Felix Richter, merchant with a general store in Protivín;
    Alfred Weil, merchant with a general and animal skins store in Protivín;
    Jindřich Spiegel, merchant with a general store in Protivín.
  2. those originating from the Protivín area:
    Engineer František Holub, chief clerk of ‘Báňská a hutní společnost’ (Mine and Iron Works Company) in Prague II, Lazarská 7;
    Leopold Wagner, first chief clerk of the Czech bank ‘Union’;
    Julius Klauber, director of the mill in St. Šaldorf at Znojmo (Moravia);
    Karel Holub, department chief at ‘Gesellschaft für elektrische Unternehmung, Ludwig Löwe & Company. A.G. Berlin, N.W.87’;
    Felix Holub, managing clerk at the Czech bank ‘Union’ at Příkopy;
    Engineer Rudolf Steiner, wholesale iron wares in Jablonec;
    Otto Klauber, CEO of Klauber & Mährischel, Vienna 1, Salzgries 10.
In 1879, the Protivín Jews founded ‘The Israelite Charity Association’, according to Josef Renner and Ota Paroubek in ‘Popis okresu hejtmanství píseckého’ (Description of the region under the stewardship of Písek) published in 1889.

This information is based on conserved documents in the possession of Mr. Felix Richter, merchant in Protivín, and on his memory. A few details are based on information from Mr. František Janoušek, belt maker in Protivín.


 

Footnotes

  1. ‘Specialist teacher’ – ie who specialized in one or more major subjects such as mathematics rather than a general teacher of many subjects. Return
  2. ‘Schutzjuden’: these are the families that were under the protection of the manorial authority. Return
  3. ‘no 22’: this is later referred to as ‘no. 22 on the square’, although the name of this square is not given. Return
  4. The author uses different versions of the same name. Here it was ‘Šalamoun’ which we have changed to ‘Salomon’ to match later uses. Return
  5. ‘the war’ refers to the First World War, in which Bohemia, as part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, fought alongside Germany. Return

 

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