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GemeindeView: Doudleby nad Orlici

CURRENT CZECH NAME:  Doudleby nad Orlici

OTHER NAMES/SPELLINGS:  Doudleb, Daudleb, Daudleb an der Adler, Dautleb

LOCATION:   Doudleby 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. 

(see Map  - by Mapquest, then click on your browser's "Back" button to return to this page).

POPULATION: Doudleby’s population is about 900 people (as of 1993). No Jews remained in Doudleby since the Holocaust.

General History
       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 view
       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 Holocaust.
The Jews were always a prominent group in Doudleby, being a considerable share of the population (up to about 30%).
       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:

1748:  8 Jewish families (Parik)
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, p.7)
1869: 67 Jews (1869 Census).
1883: 24 Jews (Lasek)
1902: about 24 Jews (Lasek)
1930: 2 Jews (Fiedler).
The beginning of the Jewish Community
       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 1640-1670. 
       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 estate. 
       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 17th, 1860
       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 community
       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.
In 1859 some restrictions on trade were abolished.
In 1860 Jews were allowed to settle in Kostelec nad Orlici (Gold, p. 1).
       Following the 1860 fire in the Ghetto many Jewish families left Doudleby (Cerny, 28; Lasek).
       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).

       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 entrance.
       Photos of the synagogue can be found in: Gold, p.1, and Ehrmann

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 (Lasek).

       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 tombstones. 


  1. The Central State archives in Prague
  2. The Jewish Museum in Prague
  3. Rychnov district archives
  4. 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, 1).
       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.



1. Jan Kopsa, "Okenko do Starych Doudleb" (A Peep-Hole into
      the Past of Doudleby), Doudleby, 1941.
2. Jiri Fiedler, Jewish Sights in Bohemia, Fefer, Prague,1991.
3. V. Kodousek, Monografie Doudleb, Prague, 1874-1877.
4. Dr. Arno Parik, Jewish Monuments of the Eagle 
       Mountains, Okresni muzeum Orlickych hor, Rychnov nad 
       Kneznou, 1995. 
 5. Hugo Gold (ed.), Die Juden und Judengemeinden Bohmens
       in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart (Judischer Buch-und 
       Kunstverlag, runn-Prag, 1934).
 6. Jan Herman, Jewish 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” 
       (Prague, 1875).
 9. Jahrbuch fur die Israel. Cultusgemeinden Bohmens (A 
       yearbook for the Jewish Communities of Bohemia)  5654 - 
       1893/94 (Prag, 1893) 
10. Albert Kohn, Die Notablenoersammlung der Israeliten 
       Bohmens in Prag, ihre Berathungen und Beschlusse
       (Vienna, 1852).
11. G.J.Lasek,  “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 of the 
        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, A Mestecka v Cechach na Morave a ve 
        Slezsku  (1990s)
14. Josef Cerny, Mlhava Obrazky Minulych veku z Doudleb
        Vyhnanova a Prikaz (Prague, 1937).
15. Rudolf Wlaschek, Zur Geschichte der Juden in 
        Nordostbohmen (Marburg/Lahn, 1987).
SUBMITTER: Eytan D. Lederer, Haifa, Israel.

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