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Jewish Families from Dolni Kounice (Kanitz), Moravia, Czech Republic

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This project seeks to list representatives of all of the Jewish families from the Moravian town of Dolni Kounice (Kanitz) in the Czech Republic.

DOLNI KOUNICE (Ger. Kanitz; Heb. קוניץ), small town in Moravia, Czech Republic. Jews were living there from the end of the 14th century. A "Jewish judge" is mentioned in 1581. The synagogue was destroyed by the Swedes in 1643; rebuilt immediately, it existed until the Holocaust. About the end of the 17th century several conventions of the Moravian communities were held in Dolni Kounice. Jews there were able to acquire real estate until the regulations imposing the *Familiants system were introduced in 1727; these also limited the number of families permitted to reside in the locality to 111. There were 16 "Jewish houses" registered in 1674 and 35 in 1823. Dolni Kounice was one of the political communities (*politische gemeinde). The community numbered 595 in 1848; 206 in 1900; 71 in 1921; and 53 in 1930 (1.6% of the total population), of whom 41 declared their nationality as Jewish. The Jewish quarter was destroyed by fire in 1823, and in 1862 by flood. Dolni Kounice was the birthplace of the historian Gotthard *Deutsch. The historian Heinrich *Flesch was appointed rabbi there in 1894. The Jews in Dolni Kounice were deported to the Nazi death camps in 1942 and perished there. The synagogue equipment and pinkas (minute-book) of the ḥevra kaddisha were deposited in the central Jewish Museum in Prague. No community was reestablished after World War II. The synagogue building was restored by the authorities in 1969. Ancestors of Austrian chancellor Bruno *Kreisky were from Dolni Kounice.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

H. Gold (ed.), Juden und Judengemeinden Maehrens… (1929), 267–78; H. Flesch, in: JGGJČ, 2 (1930), 285–92; idem, in: M. Stein (ed.), Jahrbuch des traditionstreuen Rabbiner-Verbandes in der Slowakei (1923), 47–83; idem, in: Jahrbuch zur juedischen Volkskunde, 2 (1924/25), 617–18; I. Halpern, Takkanot Medinat Mehrin (1951), index, S.V. Kuniẓ.

The first traces of Jewish settlement in Dolní Kounice (today a town in the South Moravian Region of the Czech Republic) are from half of 15th century. First written note comes from 1581. The old synagogue was located on eastern part of the village and was destroyed by Swedish troops during Thirty Years' War, in 1645. A new one has been built between 1652-1656 in the middle of the new ghetto (the Jewish district of Dolní Kounice, židovská čtvrť v Dolních Kounicích). The building, designed in Baroque style, has rectangular ground plan and two floors. At the half of 19th century new tract was added and used to extends tribune for women. In early 1940s Nazis closed down the religious services and moved the decorations to the Jewish Museum in Prague. After the war the building was used as storehouse. In 1991 it was returned, as a part of restitutions, to the Jewish community in Brno. In 1994 the synagogues was reconstructed. Today the synagogue also hosts small collection of Jewish historical artefacts and art exhibitions.