This project seeks to collect all of the Jewish families from the town of Třeboň (Wittingau) in Bohemia, Czech Republic.
Třeboń is a town of about 8,900 people in South Bohemia (Jiho Ceché). In earlier times, it was also known by its German name Wittingau. Třeboń, was established in the mid-Twelfth Century and in 1366 it came under the ownership of the Rozmberk family until 1611 when the town and castle came under the ownership of the Schwarzenberg family.
A few hundred feet west of the castle, very near the center of the town, is a small, dead-end street called Kričinova Street. On the south side of the street at number 50 stands a building that before the Second World War was the Jewish Synagogue. Just to the left of the synagogue at number 49 is a building that served as the Jewish School (cheder). Around 1880, the synagogue was established in an existing building. The building is in an architectural style known as "Trebon Rennaissance" (generically, this style is called "genius loci" "the spirit of the place.") The synagogue was developed in the 20th Century under the leadership of Ludvik Metzl who was chairman of the Jewish Community and administrator of the synagogue. In June of 1925, Ludvik Metzl met with Tomaš Garrigue Masaryk, the President of Czechoslovakia when he visited Třeboń The synagogue's prayer hall was appointed for sermons and the reading of the Torah. An aron ha-kodesh (altar) was built for storage of the synagogue's torahs as well as a bima (lectern) on which to unroll the Torah for reading. In the yard of the synagogue there is an addition that was used as the living quarters for the caretaker (shammes) of the synagogue. The building was used for religious services until World War II. After the war it was remodeled for living quarters. During the post-war conversion, on the upper floor of the building they were able to preserve the ceiling with its original decorative painting and stucco work. The aron ha-kodesh, bima, the altar curtain (parochet) decorated with a symbolic torah with crown, the menorah and the eternal light were lost or destroyed during the war. Also lost were the 14 books of the Misnah Torah which belonged to the synagogue. Miraculously, three torahs which belonged to the Třeboń synagogue survived the war. They were recovered from a the Michel Synagogue in the suburbs of Prague where the Nazi authorities had assembled torahs from all over the Czech lands. After the war the torahs become the property of the communist government of Czechoslovakia and in 1964 the Jewish community of Westminster in Great Britain acquired 1,564 torahs from the Communist authorities. Among these torahs, there were three torahs from Třeboń which were given on loan to three synagogues. One was loaned to The Pinner and Northwood Synagogue in the London metroplex. A second is on loan to Temple B'nai Sholem in New Bern, North Carolina. The third was loaned to the Kol Am Congregation in Saint Louis, Missouri. In 2011, when the Kol Am Congregation was disbanded the Třeboń torah was adopted by Temple Emmanuel in Saint Louis. The buildings which housed the Třeboń synagogue and cheder are now owned by the Prague Jewish Community Administration which is in charge of preserving the buildings. In 2012, it was reported that the buildings were in good repair, however there was no marker to indicate the original purpose of the buildings or the fate of the now-vanished Jewish community of Třeboń. [With translation assistance from Branka Sedlacek.]