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Jewish Families from Louny (Laun), Bohemia, Czech Republic

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This project seeks to collect and identify Jewish individuals and families from or connected to the town of Louny (Laun) in Bohemia, Czech Republic.

Louny (Czech pronunciation: [ˈlou̯nɪ]; German: Laun) is a town in the Ústí nad Labem Region of the Czech Republic. It is situated on the River Ohře.

The city was founded in the 12th century (the first known written record dates from 1115). The Church of St Peter stands on the site of the original fort. The original name was Luna, which is retained in the name of a local park, Pramen Luna, and accounts for the Moon as part of the town's emblem.[1] The town developed and expanded during the reign of Ottokar I of Bohemia, although the Thirty Years' War depopulated the city. The second half of the 19th century witnessed the economic growth of the area.

Until 1918, LAUN - LOUNY was part of the Austrian monarchy (Austria side after the compromise of 1867), in the district of the same name, one of the 94 Bezirkshauptmannschaften in Bohemia.[2]

The town lies on a railway junction and a factory for overhauling railway engines and rolling stock was established in 1873[3] which became a major employer and contributed to the town's expansion during the early 20th century. The former state company has now been privatized, but remains the town's largest employer with a workforce of 750.

LOUNY (Ger. Laun), town in N.W. Bohemia, Czech Republic. Jews are first mentioned in Louny in 1254 – one year after it received its freedom as a town – as living on a Jewish street and having a synagogue and a cemetery. The city records for 1380–92 contained a special section for Jewish lawsuits. In 1505 there were 12 Jewish houses. A Jew, accused in 1541 of having acquired a monstrance, was burned and the community was expelled from the town. From 1655 only one Jewish family was protected by the town, but in 1680 a cemetery was established. The cemetery and the prayer room were used by Jews from the vicinity. At the end of the 18th century there were 43 "bad Jews" in Louny, i.e., Jews who did not have permission under the *Familiants Law to live there, and the first Jew to settle there in 1849 was forcibly returned to his former town by the crowd. Thereafter, Jews came to Louny, a synagogue was built, and in 1874 a German-language Jewish school was founded (given up in 1897); a new cemetery was built in 1875 (which still existed in 1970). Fifty-one Jewish families lived in Louny in 1880 and 567 persons in 1890. In 1893 the community adopted Czech as the official language. In 1902 there were 666 Jews in Louny and the 18 surrounding villages; and in 1930 there were 205 (1.8% of the total population). The community was deported to the Nazi death camps in 1942, and the synagogue's equipment was sent to the Central Jewish Museum, Prague. The community was briefly reestablished after World War II.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

K. Linhart, in: H. Gold (ed.), Die Juden und Judengemeinden Boehmens in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart (1934), 348–61; F. Štědry, Dějiny města Loun (1930); Abeles, in: Juedisches Centralblatt, 3 (1884), 115–6. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: J. Fiedler, Jewish Sights of Bohemia and Moravia (1991), 108–9.'

International Jewish Cemetery Project: US Commission No. CZCE000358 Alternate name: Laun in German. Louny is located in Bohemia, Louny at 50º21 13º48, 36 km SSW of Usti nad Labem and 51 km NW of Prague. Cemetery: 600 meters SE of main square. Present town population is 5,000-25,000 with fewer than 10 Jews. Town: Mestsky Urad (Director: Mts. Honkova), 440 01 Louny; tel. 0395/3887; tel. to mayor: 0395/2035. Regional: Jewish congregation: ZNO (Mr. Chaim Klein), Lipova 25, 415 01 Teplice; tel. 0417/26580 AND Okresni Urad, Referat Kultury, Palackeho 2380 (Director: Mr. Parma), 440 01 Louny; tel. 0395/2421 or 2012. Interested: Okresni Muzeum Louny, Pivovarska 28, 440 01 Louny; tel. 0395/2456 AND Statni Zidovske Muzeum, Jachymova 3, 110 01 Praha 1; tel. 02/2310634 AND Engineer Jan Nic, Doudova 30, 147 00 Praha 4; tel. 02/433229. Caretaker: Anna Frolikova, Palackeho ulica [Street], 440 01 Louny may have additional information.

Earliest known Jewish community was 15th century. 1930 Jewish population was 205. Jewish community (over 100 Jews) banished in 1542. From 17th century until 1848, only 1 to 2 families were permitted, but prayer room for vicinity existed. Modern congregation dates of 1860. Peak Jewish population was 567 Jews in 1890. Later, Jews moved to big towns. Scanty population existed after WWII. The Jewish cemetery originated in 1874-1875 as the third Jewish cemetery in Louny. Buried in the landmarked cemetery are Rabbi David Blitz (died 1912) with last known Conservative or Progressive/ Reform Jewish burial after WWII. The urban hillside, separate but near cemeteries, has a sign or plaque in Hebrew wall reading" "The gate for all living" and Jewish symbols on gate. Reached by turning directly off a public road-from a street and open to all, a non-locking gate and continuous masonry wall surrounds on two sides only. The pre- and post-WWII size of cemetery is 0.1712 ha. 100-500 stones, most in original locations, date from 1870s-20th century. The granite, limestone and sandstone flat shaped stones, finely smoothed and inscribed stones, flat stones with carved relief decoration or multi-stone monuments have Hebrew, German and Czech inscriptions. Some tombstones have portraits on stones and/or metal fences around graves. The cemetery contains no known mass graves. Within the limits of the site is a pre-burial house with a tahara, wall inscriptions and platform for ceremonial speeches. Teplice Jewish community owns Jewish cemetery. Adjacent properties are garages, central bus station, and municipal cemetery. Frequently, organized Jewish tours or pilgrimage groups (seldom), Jewish or non-Jewish private visitors, and local residents stop. Vandalism occurred during World War II, occasionally 1945-1991. Jewish groups within the country: re-erected stones and periodically cleared vegetation after WWII and did other work in 1986. Teplice Jewish congregation probably pays the regular caretaker. Moderate threat: uncontrolled access and vandalism. Slight threat: vegetation. Ladislav Mertl, Mgr. of Geography, Kubanske namesti 1322/17, Praha 10-Vrsovice; tel. 02/743213 and Jiri Fiedler, z"l, Brdickova 1916, 155 00 Praha 5; tel. 02/553340 completed survey on May 17, 1992. Documentation: J. Herman: Jewish Cemeteries in Bohemia and Moravia, 1980; Frantisek Stedry: Dejiny mesta Loun, 1930; Die Juden and Judengemeinden Bohemens, 1934; Jarbuch fur die israelische Cultusgemeinden Bohemens, 1893-1894; notes of Statni Zidovske Muzeum Praha; letters of Engineer J. Nic, 1987; census 1890, 1930, 1991. Other documentation was inaccessible. The site was not visited. Anna Frolikova was interviewed for this survey on May 17, 1992 in Louny. Last Updated on Thursday, 01 October 2015 16:31

Tombstones in Louny: Chewra has data on about 400 tombstones in Louny here: http://www.chewra.com/keshetnew/kweb/location_tombs.aspx?lid=170&kid=0

Holocaust database at www.yadvashem.org has data on about 70 individuals.