Cobblestones on Prague's Charles Bridge

Prague to return cobblestones made from tombstones to Jewish Community

The Jewish community, who initiated the project, will return the stones removed from the streets to the Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague's Žižkov district.

Prague, Nov 18 (CTK) – Prague will remove the sett pavement cobblestones from several streets in the city’s center made from old Jewish gravestones during the communist era and return them to the Jewish community, the City Hall and the Technical Road Administration (TSK) representatives agreed today.

The Jewish community, who initiated the project, will return the stones removed from the streets to the Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague’s Žižkov district.

Jewish community of Prague chairman Frantisek Banyai told CTK that if such stones are found and identified, they will be ritually returned to a place of reverence. He added that the community welcomed the city’s decision and hopes such cooperation will continue.

The Jewish community thinks most of the stones have been used for the pavement of the Wenceslas Square as well as the Na Prikope and 28 rijna streets and they most probably originate from gravestones that have been cut up and transported from Jewish cemeteries, most probably the one near Udlice, north Bohemia, as well as others from around the Czech Republic.

Prague to return cobblestones made from tombstones to Jewish Community
Prague’s Old Jewish Cemetery in Žižkov via Raymond Johnston

In case any road work takes place at the selected locations, a representative of the Jewish community will be invited to identify the stones. These will then be marked and handed over to the Jewish community in Prague.

The community has been pointing out that parts of the pavement were made from gravestones for many years. Lately, Prague 1 leadership considered placing an information plaque on the specified location to draw attention to the fact.

A recently founded project, the Search for the Lost Face of Jewish Cemeteries, wants to help in finding and identifying the gravestone fragments.

Prague to return cobblestones made from tombstones to Jewish Community

The project was inspired by a campaign focused on the search for lost gravestones from a cemetery in Prostejov, central Moravia, that took place in 2015-2016.

During the Nazi and Communist regimes in former Czechoslovakia, tens of Jewish cemeteries were completely destroyed.

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