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Jewish Families from Slavkov u Brna (Austerlitz), Moravia, Czech Republic

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This project seeks to list representatives of all of the Jewish families from the Moravian town of Slavkov u Brna (Austerlitz) in the Czech Republic.

In the city famous for the battle Napoleon fought against Austrian and Russian armies in 1805, the record of a Jewish community dates back to as far as 1343. The settlement is called Ir laban, i.e. the White City, in the Jewish literature. The Jewish population in Slavkov peaked in the mid-19th century, the later period was marked by a continuous decline caused by the migration of citizens into large cities. Due to the Nazi persecution the autonomous Jewish Religious Community ceased to exist in 1942.

The historical Jewish quarter of Slavkov is situated west of the main Square (Fig.1) comprising the streets Úzká, U synagogy and Koláčkovo Square. Out of the initial 77 houses 36 remain, one of them a school with a ritual bath at No. 664, where a permanent exposition covering the history of the local Jewish community and featuring the preserved relics can be visited.

The synagogue (Fig.2) is situated in the centre of the area in U synagogy Street. It was built at the site of an older temple in 1857–1858 in Romanesque Revival style with two stepped gables in its front face. The synagogue was used as a storage space for 50 years; in 1994–1998 the building was restored in order to serve as the county archive. During the ceremonial reopening in 1998, a memorial plaque to the victims of the Nazi genocide mounted on the south wall of the building was unveiled. A small exposition in the entrance hall, also dedicated to the fate of the local Jewish community, can be seen. As the building is currently undergoing another reconstruction, it is closed to the public.

The new Jewish cemetery (Fig.3), founded in 1744, is situated north of the main Square by the road winding its way towards the village of Rousínov. The area consists of c. 300 tombstones; the oldest stones from 1735–1736 were relocated from the old cemetery, which was situated south of the city by the Litava creek. The cemetery is a place where you can visit the graves of a number of local learned rabbis. A memorial to the uprooted Jewish community was erected in the middle of the cemetery area in 1994.

The cemetery is open to public upon a prior appointment with Mr. Klenovský (phone +420 544 509 608).

Slavkov is the birthplace of the architect Max Katscher (1858–1918, Vienna).

For further information on the locality and its landmarks please see www.slavkov.cz.