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[Page 699]

The History of the Jews in Vodňany (Wodnan)

(Vodňany , Czech Republic – 49°09' 14°10')

Compiled by Jaroslav Polák–Rokycana, Prague

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

Edited in English by Dan & Rob Pearman/UK

The oldest records about the Jews in the town archive are as follows:

At the time of the pawning of the manor of Count Schwarzenberg[1] (Johan Adolf 1661–1683, Ferdinand Wilhelm in 1703, Adam Franz Karl in 1732) there were just three Jewish families in Vodňany, and even at that time they had to pay an unusually high protection tax.

The year of their settlement in Vodňany is not known, but their names are known from 1746:


The following arrived later:

Šalomoun Nossal, merchant, since 1678
David Isák, since 1687
Abraham Nossal, distiller, since 1687
Leopold Arnsteiner, grocer, since 1713.

On 27 November 1746, the vice–presidency[2] inquired how many Jews there were living in Vodňany. The reply shows that there were seven settled Jews and one non–settled – in total, 52 souls.

In 1848, there were 12 Jewish families in Vodňany, and they had their own prayer house.

By 1852, there were 22 families. In the same year the Jewish community built a synagogue. This was extended and repaired in 1877. This shows how quickly the Jewish community grew. In 1884, there were still some 50 to 60 Jewish families in Vodňany.

(Prameny: „Vodňany”, rab. J. Schüller, a v Grün waldově Jüd. Centralblatt, červen 1884.) J. P. R.[3].


  1. The Schwarzenberg family has its origins in the Middle Ages. An important aristocratic dynasty, it owned much land and many properties not only in Bohemia. The principal residence is in Český Krumlov. The meaning of this sentence is that, presumably for financial reasons, the manor was pawned (ie they raised money against the value of the manor). The names that then appear are believed to be those of Schwarzenbergs, though not necessarily of the first born. The current head of the family was an advisor to the first post–communist President, Vaclav Havel, and also a Minister in recent Czech governments. Return
  2. The vice–presidency refers to the office of the deputy president. Return
  3. This footnote refers to the source material as being a piece about Vodňany by Rabbi J. Schüller, a Jew from Grünwaldově, published in the Central Newspaper in June 1884. J. P. R. are the initials of the author of the text on Vodnany: Jaroslav Polák–Rokycana. Return


Useful Links

History of the town in German

Short History of Jews in Vodňany in English

Photos from Vodňany Jewish cemetery in Czech


Former synagogue in Vodňany.
Today it is the town museum.


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