CURRENT CZECH NAME: Doudleby
Doudleb, Daudleb, Daudleb an der Adler, Dautleb
nad Orlici is a village in North-Eastern Bohemia, in the district of Rychnov
nad Kneznou. In the past Doudleby belonged to the
district of Hradec Kralove (in German: Koniggratz). It is in the
vicinity of Kostelec nad Orlici (in German: Adlerkosteletz), Rychnov nad
Kneznou (in German: Reichenau) and Vamberk (in German: Wamberg).
It is built on the bank of the Orlice River (in German: Wilde Adler) and
hence the name.
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POPULATION: Doudleby’s population
is about 900 people (as of 1993). No Jews remained in Doudleby since the
Doudleby is one of the oldest settlements in the region. It was already
prominent around the middle of the 10th century. Since 1562
Doudleby belonged to the Counts of Bubna. The castle (chateau) of the family,
which was built in late Renaissance style is still there, and after the
end of the Communist regime it was returned to the family.
It is to be noted that the Bubna estate included, in addition to Doudleby,
Jeleni and Blato (both in the region of Chrudim), and earlier this family
also ruled Zamberk (Senftenberg), near Daudleb.
The Jewish Community - general
For at least 250 years there was a Jewish community in Doudleby, starting
no later than the first years of 18th century and lasting until the
The Jews were always a prominent
group in Doudleby, being a considerable share of the population (up to
Their economic contribution to the community and to the region exceeded
by far their share in the population: They engaged in trade and commerce
in this agricultural community. They were also those that brought industry
to Doudleby in the late 19th century.
Unlike the gentile population of the village, which was agricultural, the
Jews made their living in crafts and trade.
They carried on trade both within Doudleby and in the surrounding villages
and towns. Among the fields of trade recorded in the 18th century
documents: Peddlers, tanners, leather-traders, scrap-iron dealers, tailors,
brandy-makers, and others.
The demographical changes can be illustrated by the following data:
The beginning of the Jewish Community
1748: 8 Jewish
1793: 34 Jewish families (Parik)
1834: 305 Jews in 29 houses
(compared with 1008 Christian
residents in 102 houses) (Kodousek)
1852: 46 Jewish families (400
Jews) (Albert Kohn, p. 400).
1860: 31 Jewish houses (Cerny,
1869: 67 Jews (1869 Census).
1883: 24 Jews (Lasek)
1902: about 24 Jews (Lasek)
1930: 2 Jews (Fiedler).
There is no solid information regarding the beginning of the Jewish community
of Doudleby. The time when the first Jews settled in the village
of Doudleby is not clear yet. G. J. Lasek, in
his paper published in 1902, speculates that it might have been around
According to Dr. Arno Parik, there were Jews in Doudleby
in 1702 at the latest: At the time, there were 16 Jews in the Doudleby
The earliest records about Jews’ residence in Doudleby itself seems to
be from 1748: According to Parik there were at the
time 8 Jewish families in Doudleby. These were tradesmen and craftsmen.
The community was probably founded in the second half of the 18th
century. It is speculated, that the Jews of Doudleby might have come
from one of the many towns in the area that expelled their Jews.
It is alleged that in the 17th century there was a small Jewish community
in nearby Vamberk, and that its Jews were expelled and found refuge in
Doudleby. Lasek, in his series of articles published
in 1902, wrote that this is the oral tradition held by the Jews of
Doudleby and accepted by all elders of the community, but there is no documentation
to support this story. (Fiedler, p.193-194). The
earliest documentation mentioned by Fiedler in his book, is from 1777.
The count of Bubna (Buben) gained the right to settle 43 Jewish families
in the estate of Doudleby. For many years this was the number of
Jewish families, or Familianten, out of about 1,850 in the whole of Bohemia.
The 1772 Blood-Libel
In 1772 Doudleby was the scene of blood-libel riots. Shortly before
Pesach, a Christian girl was found dead in Doudleby. It was suspected that
the Jews murdered her to bake Matzos with her blood. Rioting crowds attacked
Jews, and armed officials from the Bubna estate had to intervene to prevent
farther violence. Later the murderer was found, and it turned out
that he was a Christian (Lasek). This incident
was the basis for a book by David Fanta: Judith,
eine Ghettogeschichte aus Daudleb (Judith, a Ghetto-story from Daudleb).
The Fire in the Ghetto - August
On August 17th, 1860 a fire broke out in the Jewish Ghetto. It began at
the house of Samuel Weissbart, and destroyed 15 houses in the northern
side of the street. The houses on the southern side, including the
Synagogue, were not damaged. The Count Frantisek of Bubna-Litic headed
the efforts to stop the fire and save the Ghetto from complete destruction
(Kodousek, p.100; Lasek, p.28).
Decline and the end of the
In the second half of the 19th century, many of the Jews left Doudleby,
going to other localities in North-Eastern Bohemia (Kostelec nad Orlici,
Rychnov, Vamberk, Chocen, Vysoke Myto, Litomyshl, Nachod, Horice,
Brandys nad Orlici, etc.), Brno (Brun), Svitavy (Zwittau), Prague, Vienna
and even to America.
Developments both in Doudlerby and in the entire state in the years 1848-1860,
brought about the gradual decline of the Jewish community of Doudleby (as
happened in other rural communities):
In 1848 Jews were officially
allowed to live in any place they wanted.
Following the 1860 fire in the Ghetto many Jewish families left Doudleby
(Cerny, 28; Lasek).
In 1859 some restrictions on
trade were abolished.
In 1860 Jews were allowed to
settle in Kostelec nad Orlici (Gold, p. 1).
In 1896 the organized Jewish community was abolished, and the administration
of the community was transferred to Kostelec nad Orlici (Parik,
Gold, p.1; Jahrbuch, p. 175).
In 1930 only 2 Jews lived in Doudleby (Fiedler).
The last two Jewish residents of Doudleby were deported by the Nazis and
killed in the Holocaust (Radovan Drazan and Josef Mazura, Holocaust Zidu
okres Rychnov nad Kneznou v letech 1939-1945 (Rychnov nad Kneznou, 1997)
p. 83, 237, 264).
The Jewish Ghetto
The Jews lived, with few exceptions, in the Jewish Ghetto, consisting of
more than 30 houses. All houses were along one street, the “Jews’
street.” The Ghetto was in the southern part of the village, on the
bank of the Orlice River. (Fiedler) It is
close to the bridge at the entrance to Doudleby.
The houses of the Ghetto were numbered originally in Roman numerals, from
I to XXXI. In many cases a second dwelling-unit was built on the
same yard, and each unit got a sub-numbering (e.g. “IX a” and “IX b”).
In the Ghetto were the synagogue, a Mikveh, and the Jewish school.
Fire was not the only threat to the Ghetto: In January 1834 the Orlice
river flooded the Ghetto (Kopsa, p. 16-17).
NOTABLE RESIDENTS AND DESCENDANTS:
Heinrich Loehnern (b. 22 April 1838 in Daudleb - d. 17 May 1920 in Vienna)-
Journalist and writer, editor of the “Prager Zeitung” and its Viennese
correspondent, regirungsrat, [Rudolf Wlaschek, Bigraphia Judaica Bohemiae
(1995) p. 133; Gold, p.1].
Heads of the Jewish community:
Isak Tausig (1814)
Abraham Fleischner (1845)
Aron Lederer (1847)
The following surnames are among those mentioned in the lists of the Jewish
families of Doudleby:
Kohn / Khon
Wilchek (Vlcek, Weltschek)
The original synagogue was built in 1777 when the community grew to about
30 families. In 1820-1821 the synagogue was rebuilt. A new building,
in Baroque-Classicist style, was built on the site of the old synagogue.
Until WW II the synagogue served the last Jews of Doudleby and the larger
community of Kostelec nad Orlici (Parik).
In the 1950s the synagogue was repaired and since then it has been used
as a Hussite Church (Parik). Parts of the synagogue
ornaments can still be seen on the ceiling of the attic and above the side
Photos of the synagogue can be found in: Gold, p.1,
Jewish community institutions
In addition to the Synagogue, there were in Doudleby also a "house of the
Jewish community"(?), a mikveh, and a Jewish school, in which studies were
in German and which existed until 1890 (Gold; Lasek).
Until 1876, the Jewish children attended this school instead of going to
the general school. After 1876, studies in the Jewish school were held
as a supplement to the studies at the Czech school (Lasek
- his recording of the school is seems biased).
An apartment near the synagogue belonged to the Jewish community and was
given as residence to the Shochet, who often was also the Hazzan and teacher
There was no Jewish cemetery in Doudleby. The Jewish community buried
their dead in the cemetery near Vamberk. This cemetery is on a hill to
the north of the main square of Vamberk. Most of those buried there
were from Doudleby, rather than Vamberk. According to Fiedler, the
eldest preserved tombstones are from 1700 and earliest records mentioning
the cemetery are from 1688 (Fiedler, 194).
In 1820 the cemetery was enlarged, and the wall was built around the cemetery.
I visited the cemetery twice, in 1991 and in August 1993. During my second
visit I observed some reconstruction work as the wall surrounding the cemetery
and the entrance to the cemetery were under repair. Later I
learned that a group of volunteers worked to preserve the Jewish cemeteries
in the region, including the cemetery in Vamberk.
From the Jewish Community in Prague I learned in 1991 that the caretaker
of the cemetery was Mr. Vladimir Dvorak (address: Janova 588, Vamberk).
At the Jewish Museum in Prague one can find photos of many of the older
I had excellent results through the combined efforts of two professional
researchers: Mr Jiri Osanec (I.P.Pavlova 26 Olomouc) for research in the
regional archives; and Mr. Eugen Stein from Prague for research in Prague.
The Central State archives in Prague
The Jewish Museum in Prague
Rychnov district archives
Zamrsk - including parts of the
archives of the estate of the Bubna-Litic, which were not available to
the authors who wrote about the community for Gold’s book (Gold,
D. Lederer, Haifa, Israel.
1. Jan Kopsa,
"Okenko do Starych Doudleb" (A Peep-Hole into
the Past of Doudleby), Doudleby, 1941.
2. Jiri Fiedler,
Sights in Bohemia, Fefer, Prague,1991.
3. V. Kodousek,
Monografie Doudleb, Prague, 1874-1877.
4. Dr. Arno Parik,
Monuments of the Eagle
Mountains, Okresni muzeum Orlickych hor, Rychnov nad
5. Hugo Gold
(ed.), Die Juden und Judengemeinden Bohmens
in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart (Judischer Buch-und
Kunstverlag, runn-Prag, 1934).
6. Jan Herman,
Cemeteries in Bohemia and Moravia.
7. Petr Ehl,
Arno Parik, and Jiri Fiedler, Old Bohemian and
Moravian Jewish Cemeteries (Prague, 1991).
8. David Fanta,“Judith,
eine Ghettogeschichte aus Daudleb”
fur die Israel. Cultusgemeinden Bohmens (A
yearbook for the Jewish Communities of Bohemia) 5654 -
1893/94 (Prag, 1893)
10. Albert Kohn,
Notablenoersammlung der Israeliten
Bohmens in Prag, ihre Berathungen und Beschlusse
“Zidovska obec v Doudlebich - Obrazek
kulturne-historicky” ("The Jewish Community in
Doudleby: A Cultural and Historical Picture") Posel z
Pohory No. 29 (19.7.1902) 1; No. 30 (26 July 1902) 1; No.
31 (2.8.1902) 1. (Presented to the local branch
North-Bohemian National Unity in Vamberk in 16 Feb
12. Arch. Leopold Ehrmann,
“Synagogen”, in: Die Judischen
Denkmaler in der Tschechoslowakei (Prag, 1933) 5-18.
13. Karel Kuca,
Mestecka v Cechach na Morave a ve
14. Josef Cerny,
Obrazky Minulych veku z Doudleb,
Vyhnanova a Prikaz (Prague, 1937).
15. Rudolf Wlaschek,
Geschichte der Juden in
Nordostbohmen (Marburg/Lahn, 1987).
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