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Jewish Families from Loštice (Loschitz), Moravia, Czech Republic

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

History of Jews in Lostice


SYNAGOGUE Lostice around 1930 9th cent. The presence of Jewish merchants in the Greater Moravia is documented by the Raffelstetten Customs and Shipping Regulations written in the early 10th century. However, the evidence of Jewish trading caravans operating in the present Czech Republic dates back to the Roman period.

1254 King Premysl Otakar II issued Statuta Judaeorum. This important decree codified the legal position of Jews in Bohemia and Moravia. Jews were direct subjects of the king and he in turn guaranteed their protection and freedom of religion. The document was confirmed by several successive rulers and became a basis for the legal position of Jews in this land until the end of the 18th century.

1454 King Ladislav Pohrobek expelled Jews from Unicov, Olomouc and other Moravian royal towns. However feudal land owners accepted Jewish settlers into their towns. This was the case in Usov and later in Lostice.

1544 Oldest record of Jewish settlement in Lostice: Benes - a man of Jewish faith bought a house in the town. At this time Lostice was a part of the Bouzov estate and its feudal owner was Vaclav Haugvic of Biskupice.

1554 A Jewish cemetery was established by the road to Palonin.

cca 1560 The first wooden synagogue was built in the Jewish quarter near the parish church.

1581 A Jewish self-run government (headed by a bailiff and counselors), a Jewish Community Register and a Community House were established in Lostice.

1618-48 A period of prosperity ended during the Thirty Years' War. The entire town including the synagogue was devastated and about half of the houses in the Jewish quarter were abandoned.

1651 A new wooden synagogue was constructed. The Jewish community prospered again. Jewish settlers from Poland, Ukraine and Latvia arrived in Lostice. They escaped persecution caused by the Chmelnicki uprising (1648 - 1656). Jews expelled from Lower Austria and Vienna settled here in 1670.

1727 The Jewish quarter was moved to the western part of the town. According to the Translocation Decree issued by the Emperor Charles VI, all Jewish houses which were in close proximity to Catholic churches in any town or city were to be moved to other locations. In Lostice the problem was resolved by an exchange. Jewish owners swapped houses with Christians. Owners of Lostice and its citizens fought this decree in vain. This move did not discourage the growth of the Jewish community in the new location.

1781-88 Reforms declared by the Emperor Joseph II began to remove the most discriminatory laws, made education accessible for all and prepared the conditions for integration of Jews into society.

1782 A Jewish school opened in Lostice. By request of the Jewish community, a local Christian schoolteacher, Josef Cap, began to teach there.

1793 A fire, which started in the Jewish quarter, spread to the town and destroyed 38 houses.

1805-06 A synagogue built of masonry in the Classicist style replaced a former wooden structure and is preserved to the present day.

THE OFFICIAL SEAL OF THE JEWISH COMMUNITY Lostice 1836 1848-49 Revolutionary events caused a major reorganization of the state administration and an improvement of rights for all citizens. Jews attained civil rights with a final amendment in 1867. From now on Jews could relocate freely, choose any profession and marry without restrictions. Feudal ownership was dismantled and Lostice became a free town. Christian and Jewish communities created a joint municipal administration. There were 483 Jews in Lostice, which represented about 17 % of the inhabitants.

1900 Total of 115 Jews lived in Lostice. Their number gradually declined, as some families took advantage of a new freedom and moved to bigger towns and industrial centers. 44 255 people of Jewish faith lived in Moravia.

1919 Dr. Ezriel Günzig, the last Lostice rabbi who served his community from 1899, left the town. Dr. Berthold Oppenheim, the Olomouc rabbi, assumed the religious duties.

1928 A fire destroyed 16 houses in the Jewish quarter. The fire started in the house of a tvaruzky cheese maker, Mr. Eckstein. A strong wind quickly spread the fire to other houses. Almost 30 fire brigades rushed to Lostice to put out the blaze. The damage was extensive but no lives were lost.

JEWISH QUARTER Ztracena Street, Lostice around 1930 The dark building in the background: The synagogue and adjacent two-storey wing, which contained apartments for the rabbi and synagogue assistant. The light building in the foreground: Door with the pointed arch led to the shlachta, where the ritually pure (kosher) slaughter of poultry was done.

1939 The start of German occupation and persecution of Jewish people.

1942 On June 22nd Nazis transported 59 Jews from Lostice via Olomouc to Terezin. From there they were sent to other concentration and liquidation camps, where most of them died.

1945 After the war, only Greta Eckstein with her parents, and Richard Morgenstern with his five children, returned from concentration camps to Lostice. The Jewish congregation was not renewed.

The Jewish community was part of Lostice's history for almost 400 years. Several significant Jewish intellectuals were born or lived in Lostice, namely the acclaimed rabbi Arje Jehuda ben Rechnitz and his son called Salomo Loschitz, Hebrew scholar Lazar Flamm, rabbis Aron Moses Neuda, Abraham Neuda, Elias Karpelles and Ezriel Gunzig, historian Gustav Karpelles, writers Fanny Neuda and Carola Groag etc. Christians and Jews of Lostice lived together through periods of peace and prosperity and suffered in times of war, plague and economic depression. During that time they lived without serious hostilities, fights and pogroms. Both communities influenced and enriched each other and contributed to the economic, social and cultural growth of the town.

Jewish Cemetery in Lostice

The cemetery was founded in 1554. The area of 6 500 square meters contains about 650 gravestones. Most of them were made from Maletin sandstone during the 18th and 19th centuries. The oldest preserved tombstones date from the early the 18th century. The house near the entrance used to be the gravedigger's dwelling and morgue. The record of the last funeral is from 1942.