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The derelict synagogue in Rychnov – 1984
Picture of scrolls on shelves
Jews in Kladno - Photo: The Kladno Museum

Jewish schoolchildren in Ostrava - Photo: Yehuda Bacon

What Was Lost

Jews had lived in Bohemia and Moravia for more than a thousand years, and over that time a rich Jewish culture had developed. It was centred on Prague and spread across a large number of communities in towns throughout the country. Following the Nazi invasion, historic congregations were closed down and their synagogues deserted.

According to the 1930 census, there were 117,551 Jews in Bohemia and Moravia (356,830 in all of Czechoslovakia). By 1943, some 26,000 had managed to emigrate. Approximately 81,000 Jews were deported to Terezin and other camps, of whom about 10,500 survived.

In all, the Final Solution claimed almost 80,000 Czech lives.

Prior to 1938 there were some 350 synagogues in Bohemia and Moravia.
Between 1938 and 1945 the Nazis destroyed more than 60 synagogues.
The contents of at least 50 synagogues that were attacked in the pogrom of November 1938 were lost. About 300 synagogues remained and most were abandoned and left to decay.

During the Communist regime over 80 of these were demolished.