This project seeks to collect all of the Jewish families from the town of Karlovy Vary (Karlsbad) in Bohemia, Czech Republic.
CARLSBAD (Cz. Karlovy Vary, Ger. Karlsbad), spa in West Bohemia, Czech Republic. An express prohibition on Jewish settlement there remained in force from 1499 to 1793, and until 1848 Jewish residence in Carlsbad was contested in protracted litigation initiated by the non-Jewish merchants, in which the authorities generally took the part of the Jews. However, the Jews living in the nearby communities of Becov (Petschau; 18 in 1930), Luka (Luck; 21 in 1930), and *Hroznetin did business in Carlsbad.
After 1793 Jewish peddlers were permitted to visit the town, while Jews could take the cure there during the official season and sick persons on doctors' orders in the winter. A hostel for needy Jewish patients, founded in Carlsbad by a Prague philanthropic association in 1847, was the first Jewish institution of its kind. Religious services were held during the season. A number of Jews began to settle in Carlsbad and acquired houses after 1848. The community received authorization to form a congregation in 1868, and it grew rapidly. A synagogue able to accommodate 2,000 worshippers was opened in 1877.
Ignaz *Ziegler officiated as rabbi from 1888 to 1938. He fled in the fall of 1938 and died in Jerusalem in 1948. In the second half of the 19th century the Moser family established a famous glass-work factory.
Carlsbad became popular among Jews as a resort and a rendezvous of matchmakers and as a meeting place for rabbis and communal leaders from Eastern Europe. The 12th and 13th Zionist Congresses were held there in 1921 and 1923.
- The German population in Carlsbad was largely anti semitic, but anti-Jewish manifestations were restrained during that season, when political activities were banned.
- The Jewish population numbered 100 in 1868; 1,600 in 1910; 2,650 in 1921; and 2,120 in 1930 (8.9% of the total). An additional 292 lived in the industrial area of Rybáře (Fischern). All but four Jews left Carlsbad during the Sudeten crisis in 1938.
- The synagogue was destroyed on Nov. 10, 1938. A new community was established in 1945, mostly by Jews from Sub-Carpathian Ruthenia, numbering approximately 400, including the members of the congregation and old-age home in Marienbad under its administration. A communal center, with a synagogue, mikveh, and reading room, was installed.
- A memorial to Nazi victims and the fallen in World War II was erected in 1956 on the site of the destroyed synagogue. It was demolished in 1983. Carlsbad had an active Jewish community in 2004. The historian Bruno Adler (1889–1968) was born in Carlsbad, as was Walter Serner (1889–1942), one of the founders of the Dada movement in art, who was murdered in a concentration camp.
1930 Jewish population was 2,526. Settlement by Jews was prohibited until 1848 and again 1853-55. Religious society with rabbinate in Hroznetin was founded in 1854 or 1864 and independent congregation established in 1868. Jewish population steadily increased until Nazi rule's pogrom and expulsion (internment) of Jews in 1938.
After the Holocaust
After the Holocaust the Jewish congregation revived and still exists. Two World Zionist Congresses (12th in 1921 and 13th in 1923) and the 1947 European Zionist Conference were held in Karlovy Vary.
- Family Moser (founders and owners of famous glass factory) as well as native town of the following:
- Historian and journalist, Bruno Adler, pseud. Urban Roedl, (1889-1968 London);
- Writer and co-founder of Dada Movement, Walter Serner (1889-1942);
- Poet and actor, Heinrich Fischer (1896, residing in Munich);
- Pianist Edith Kraus, resident of Tel Aviv;
- Broaday director, Franz Allers (1905), residing in New York.;
- Composer, musicologist, and conductor, Walter Kaufmann, (1907), residing in Indiana, USA;
- Ernst Sommer (1888-1965 in London), writer;
- Louis Fernberg (1909-1957 in Weimar), writer; and
- Sculptor Arnold Zadikow (1884-1943)
Karlovy Vary was a famous local spa. Jewish cemetery originated in 1869. Moser family and prominent visitors to the spa from various countries are buried in the still active but not landmarked cemetery.
The Jewish community is Conservative or Reform/Progressive.
The suburban hillside, separate but near other cemeteries, has Czech signs and Hebrew language mentioning the Jewish Community. Reached by turning directly off a public road, access is open to all during regulated hours. Size of cemetery before and after WWII: about 1 ha. 500-1000 gravestones, all in original location with less than 25% toppled or broken, date from 1869-20th century. The cemetery is divided into special section: children and Russian grave.
The marble, granite, limestone, and sandstone flat shaped stones, finely smoothed and inscribed stones, flat stones with carved relief decoration, double tombstones, multi-stone monuments, or obelisks have Hebrew, German, Czech, Russian, and Hungarian inscriptions. Some have iron decorations or lettering, bronze decorations or lettering, portraits on stones, and/or metal fences around graves. The cemetery contains special memorial monuments to Holocaust victims and Jewish soldiers.
- The cemetery contains no known mass graves. Within the limits of the cemetery are a pre-burial house, an ohel, a well, and a caretaker's house. The Jewish community of Karlovy Vary owns the Jewish cemetery. Properties adjacent are the Catholic and Evangelical cemeteries. Frequently, organized Jewish group tours or pilgrimage group, organized individual tours, private visitors, and local residents stop.
- Vandalism occurred prior to World War II and since. Local non-Jewish residents and Jewish groups within country re-erected stones, patched broken stones, cleaned stones, cleared vegetation, fixed wall, fixing of gate, and new roof on ceremonial hall, mostly in 1985-91. Karlovy Vary Jewish Congregation pays a regular caretaker. Weather erosion and vegetation are slight treats. Vegetation overgrowth seasonally prevents access. Vandalism is still a moderate threat.