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The Missing Images: Eugeen Van Mieghem and the Jewish Emigrants to the New World
Currently into its third month, the exhibition in the Robert Guttmann Galery is already the third exhibition of the Jewish Museum in Prague on the phenomenon of emigration. It is devoted to the millions of inhabitants of Central and Eastern Europe who decided to leave for America between the end of the 19th and the first decades of the 20th centuries.

The port of Antwerp was one of the main points of departure, and up until 1934 the Belgian Red Star Line, with its efficient network of sales agents in the region and attractive pricing, alone transported ca. 2.4 million emigrants from Eastern Europe. Among them were hundreds of thousands Jews from Eastern Europe and Russia, who were fleeing poverty, oppression, and persecution. The first large-scale wave of Jewish emigration followed the assassination of Tsar Alexander II in 1881. Another wave followed the widespread Kishinev pogrom in 1903 and the failure of the democratic revolution of 1905 in Russia, which also sparked pogroms. Between 1881 and 1914, more than two and a half million Jews emigrated from Eastern Europe and Russia and another million left Europe from 1918 to 1939. The statistics show that over a fifty-year period nearly one-third of all Jewish inhabitants in Eastern Europe emigrated.

This exodus was depicted by the painter Eugeen Van Mieghem (1875–1930), who was born and lived his whole life in Antwerp. Since the time of his youth he was in contact with the vibrant world of dockworkers, sailors, and East European emigrants who would become the lifelong subjects of his work. His life witnessed the greatest expansion of the Antwerp harbor and the massive waves of emigration to America. During the First World War, the inhabitants of occupied Belgium became the subject matter of his drawings.

On show are 50 drawings and paintings by Van Mieghem as well as documentation about Red Star Line and period photographs of the Antwerp harbor. The exhibition was organized by the Jewish Museum in Prague in cooperation with the Eugeen Van Mieghem Foundation with support of the Red Star Line Museum in Antwerp, and is being held under the personal auspices of Her Excellency Françoise Gustin, the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium to the Czech Republic. The exhibition will be open to the public until 10 April 2016.

You are welcome to visit a guided tour of the exhibition by its curator Arno Pařík on Wednesday 24 February at 3 p.m. In Czech only. Regular admission CZK 40.

The SS Vaderland and the emigrants at the Rijnkaai, ca. 1910, Van Mieghem Museum, Antwerp
Eugeen van Mieghem: Children waiting at the soup kitchen, ca. 1916, private collection, Antwerp

The ancient Jewish community of Yemen
An exhibition of photographs by Naftali Hilger will be on view in the Auditorium of the Jewish Museum's Department for Education and Culture (Maiselova 15, Prague 1) from 15 January to 3 March. Open: Mon–Thu, 12–4 p.m., Fri 10 a.m. – 12 p.m., during evening programmes and by prior appointment.


Jewish Customs and Traditions exhibition in Jihlava
In November and December 2015, the Gustav Mahler House in Jihlava hosted the Jewish Museum's touring exhibition Jewish Customs and Traditions. Items on loan from the Vysočina Museum in Jihlava and the Municipal Museum of Polná were also on display there. The focus of the exhibition is on Jewish traditions, religion and history in Bohemia and Moravia.

Planned exhibition

From May until September 2016, the Robert Guttmann Gallery will be hosting an exhibition entitled Castaways in Shanghai: The Hongkew Ghetto through the Lens of Arthur Rothstein, featuring scenes and images of the Hongkew Ghetto as depicted by the American photographer Arthur Rothstein (1915–1985) in April 1946: entrance to the ghetto in the Hongkew district, living quarters in Chaoufoong Street, a woman distributing food rations from UNRRA, stateless children born into Jewish refugee families in China, a game of outdoor chess, a makeshift outdoor kitchen in an inner courtyard, soup with matzo dumplings prepared in a traditional Chinese pot, an evacuation notice-board, mail sorting, a group of people checking the latest lists of survivors from concentration camps in Europe...

These documentary photographs from Shanghai later became famous after their publication. Rothstein took them at the start of his assignment in China as chief photographer for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA), following his discharge from the military. His main task was to document the activity of this international organization, which at the time mainly involved distributing food aid and organizing the repatriation of Jewish refugees back to Europe.

Rothstein's documentary photographs captured the atmosphere of the Hongkew slum immediately after the war. Covering an area of about 2.5 square kilometres, the ghetto was set up by the Japanese occupation authorities as a designated area for European Jewish refugees who had arrived in Shanghai since 1937. In operation between 18 February 1943 and 14 August, it was liberated on 3 September 1945. A large number of European Jewish refugees were still in the ghetto at the time of its liberation, with as many as 20,000 having made their various ways there between 1938 and 1942.

Against the backdrop of Rothstein's photo reportage, the exhibition Castaways in Shanghai: The Hongkew Ghetto through the Lens of Arthur Rothstein aims to draw attention to the fate of the Czechoslovak nationals who formed a small but far from insignificant group in Shanghai. On the basis of various lists from 1942–1946, there are estimated to have been between 300 and 400 people in this group, about three quarters of whom were Jews.
American photojournalist Arthur Rothstein. (Family archive photo)


On 1 October, the Maisel Synagogue hosted a concert by the Ančerl Quartet – Lukáš Novotný and Martin Balda (violin), Vanda Kubíková (viola), Daniel Petrásek (cello) – with performances of Janáček's String Quartet No. 1 (“The Kreutzer Sonata”), Viktor Ullmann's String Quartet No. 3 and Dvořák's String Quartet No. 3 in D Major.

The Ančerl Quartet – Lukáš Novotný and Martin Balda (violin), Vanda Kubíková (viola), Daniel Petrásek (cello) 
On 6 November, the Jewish Museum's Department for Education and Culture hosted the third in a series of seminars on refugees – entitled The Orient in Bohemia? – with the support of the Heinrich Böll Foundation. As with the previous two, the seminar was attended by more than 40 teachers. Papers were given on Czech Jewish refugees in Denmark (by Dana Schmidt) and Switzerland (by Helena Kanyar Becker) and on present-day refugees (by Věra Roubalová). The participants were also introduced to the Jewish Museum's new education programme Adventurers Against their Will (by Jan Wittenberg), which is based on the letters of Czech Jewish emigrants. In addition, they went to see the Lost Images exhibition at the Robert Guttmann Gallery with the curator Arno Pařík. They also met Dr. Al Rajab, a refugee from Syria with whom they discussed questions relating to current migration. Judging by the solely positive responses from the participants, this kind of seminar enables them to become more oriented in the given topic. Moreover, what the teachers learn here is often later included in their lessons.
Věra Roubalová with teachers at the “Orient in Bohemia?” seminar
On 23 November, the Maisel Synagogue hosted an author reading by the writer Ivan Kraus and his brother, the famous actor and popular TV host Jan Kraus. This was a unique event with a special atmosphere and was much appreciated by the packed audience.
Literary evening with the Kraus brothers
On 15 December, the Jewish Museum's Department for Education and Culture hosted a lecture entitled Gottfried Bloch: A Psychoanalyst Recollects the Holocaust. The lecture was given by Martin Mahler, Vice President of the Czech Psychoanalytical Society and President of the Rafael Institute. Last year saw the publication of a Czech translation of the memoirs of Dr. Gottfried Bloch (1914–2008), a Czech-born psychoanalyst and Holocaust survivor who had faded into oblivion for about half a century. This book is remarkable not only for the author's personal story, but also for the unusual account of the Holocaust experience from the perspective of a psychoanalyst. Based on its level of reflection on the Holocaust experience, this book belongs to the same category as works by Primo Levi, Bruno Bettelheim and Viktor Frankl. The lecture on the life and work of Gottfried Bloch was accompanied by a documentary film about this psychoanalyst and humanist.
Martin Mahler speaking about Gottfried Bloch

A day later, the eleventh discussion evening in the Spirituality Dialogue project took place in the Maisel Synagogue. The topic of “secular society and spiritual life” was explored by Karol Efraim Sidon, Chief Rabbi of the Czech Republic, and Marek O. Vácha, a Roman Catholic priest and head of the Ethics Institute at the Third Medical Faculty of Charles University. Many of the positive aspects of secular society pose burning questions for religion. For example, does secularization weaken or benefit spiritual life? What place does religion actually have in a secular society and what is the place of secularism in spiritual life? The guests spoke about these and many other issues with Miloš Hrdý, one of the initiators of the Spirituality Dialogue project.

(From left): Miloš Hrdý, Karol Efraim Sidon and Marek O. Vácha
The autumn months saw the continuation of the popular Our Twentieth Century series, sub-headed “A View from the Other Side”. This focuses on the lives of Czech Jews in the 20th century with an intertwining of Jewish and non-Jewish perspectives. As part of the series, pairs of Holocaust survivors are invited to talk about their experiences. In October we invited Bohumila Havránková (b. 1927) and Libuše Příbová (b. 1925) and in November we invited Jiří Navrátil (b. 1923), who is one of the leading representatives of Czech scouting, and the historian Toman Brod (b. 1929). Both meetings were moderated by Petr Sokol, an instructor for the educational project Ours or Foreign? Jews in the Czech 20th Century. In December the journalist, documentary filmmaker and writer Adam Drda presented a meeting with Jiří Čejka (b. 1929), a scout who was convicted of anti-communist activities, and Vladimír Tuček (b. 1927), who became a victim of Nazi persecution because of his Jewish origin.

Silent film and live music in the Spanish Synagogue – Cinegogue 2015

On 12–13 October, the Spanish Synagogue hosted the seventh’s annual CINEGOGUE programme – a unique series that combines silent cinema, live music and historic architecture. Entitled The Poetic Avant-garde: Between Walt Whitman and Robert Desnos, it featured a series of five short films made by Jewish American artists Paul Strand (1890–1976), Ralph Steiner (1899–1986) and Man Ray (1890–1976) – established photographers with an interest in cinematic experiment.

The five films form a multi-genre collage that ranges from the (proto)documentary of Paul Strand to the abstract cinematic montages of Ralph Steiner to the Surrealist games and dreams of Man Ray. Restored and digitized versions of the films were shown and accompanied by new music from young Czech composers – produced and performed by BERG Orchestra, conducted by Petr Vrábel, the ensemble’s artistic director.


A still from Ralph Steiner's film Mechanical Principles

Both events were held in front of a packed audience


National authority records

Since 2012, the Jewish Museum's Library has been involved in a project that focuses on the co-operative creation and use of national authority records. In library science, an authority record is the standardized “authoritative” form of a personal or corporate name, geographical name, document title or subject indexing language. This project is co-ordinated and guaranteed by the Czech National Library's Department of National Name Authority Records. As a local supervisor, the Jewish Museum's Library is adding new entries to the database of national authority records and is helping to make current authority records more accurate. Over the course of four years, the Jewish Museum's Library has processed 672 new authority records and corrected about a hundred existing records. In 2014, authority control was done on subject and corporate indexes on the basis of a database of national authority records. From the start of 2015, authority control has also been done on author indexes. This involves checking for names in the indexes and correcting them in accordance with the database of national authority records; for each author, it is necessary to find the national authority number (control number) and relevant bibliographical data. In November 2015, the Jewish Museum's Library became directly linked to the database of national authority records. Authority records for personal and corporate names can now be followed via links in the Library’s online catalogue. Authority control is set to continue in the following years. So far, however, only a small proportion of the names have been subject to authority control, as this is a process that requires careful assessment and verification.

At the source: professional training programme for archivists and librarians

Between 2-19 November, the National Library of Israel (NLI) in Jerusalem hosted a training and development programme entitled At the source – Text and Context: Understanding Jewish materials. The programme aimed to bring together archive and library professionals from European memory institutions working in the field of Jewish cultural heritage. Silvia Singerová, curator of the rare prints collection of the museum’s library took part in the programme alongside colleagues from cities across Europe including Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, Kiev, Riga and Vilnius. The ambition behind the NLI programme was to facilitate knowledge sharing and help initiate co-operation among the NLI and European libraries and archives that collect and preserve Jewish resources. The lectures covered a variety of topics, such as collection policy and its strategies for the future; library cataloguing; introduction to archives and genealogy; digital access to collections; exhibition policy, and palaeography and codicology of manuscripts and rare books. The course will hopefully lead to further ideas for future co-operation on shared projects aimed at the preservation (restauration, digitization) and presentation of Jewish heritage in the care of the participating institutions. The initiative was funded by the Rothschild Foundation (Hanadiv) Europe.

The oral history collection of the Jewish Museum in Prague one year on
Since 1990 the Jewish Museum in Prague (JMP) has been systematically developing its oral history collection so as to help preserve the Jewish legacy of the 20th century. Most of the people we have recorded interviews with were born in Czechoslovakia. Some spent their whole lives in this country while others were forced to emigrate. Some were religious Jews while others saw their Jewishness more as a respect for Jewish traditions, whether they were aware of their Jewish identity from childhood or whether they found out about it only with the introduction of the anti-Jewish laws of the Nazi Protectorate and with their subsequent persecution. Our focus is not only on how Jews died, but actually on how they lived. We are interested not only in their own biographies, but also in the experiences of their family members, what it was like for them at home, how they spent their leisure time and how they celebrated holidays – in other words, their day-to-day lives against the background of major historical events. Each story is different, each testimony is equally important.

At present we have a collection of more than 1,300 interviews, which is the largest of its kind in the Czech Republic and the most widely used by researchers in this country. We believe that it is important to preserve Jewish memory and to establish the Jewish experience as part of Czech collective memory. Where possible, we try to obtain testimonies from several generations of the same family. The Jewish experience in the latter half of the 20th century is a topic that has not yet been sufficiently researched or presented in a historiographical way.

With the support of Robert B. Fried from Long Island, NY, in a joint project (“From Generation To...Interview Project”), we were able to record as many as 75 interviews with survivors living in the Czech Republic and abroad over the course of 11 months in 2015; we made 2000 digital copies of photographs and documents from the family archives. Robert B. Fried financed the recording of 20 interviews and also funded our last trip to Israel to meet narrators. Robert B. Fried is grandson of four survivors, his paternal grandparents were born in Czechoslovakia. "We have reached a critical time, where now more than ever before, we have the ability to utilize technology and multimedia to document the stories of the diminishing survivor population. The power of one's story in one's voice, will help to educate this generation and the next generation, and so on... It is because of this, that I have chosen to and will continue to provide long term support of JMP's Oral History Collection," adds Robert B. Fried, also the author of a book of poetry about the Holocaust, From Generation To... published in 2013 by Wingspan Press.

We are continuing to work on the audio and video recordings, transcribing each interview, editing the written text and sending it to the narrator for authorization. We have a great deal of respect for our interviewees and so we fully respect their decision how to use their testimonies. Our oral history collection is available to professional and lay researchers, and the testimonies are also used in the production of educational materials for students and teachers, as well as for our publications and exhibitions. When recording interviews we also collect archival materials, such as photographs and documents from the family archives of interviewees. So far this year we have produced digital copies of 1,700 archival materials, some of which we have received in their original form.

The story of John and Ruth Gruschka

The story of John and Ruth Gruschka – which our oral history project has managed to record for posterity – covers major events in modern Czech-German-Jewish history from the perspective of what happened to individual family members. We were put into contact with the Gruschka siblings through the documentary filmmaker Martin Šmok, who is the author of the exhibition Traces of the Jewish Presence in Prague 2. This exhibition dealt with the history of the Prague 2 district in connection with its inhabitants who were of the Jewish faith, who were born into Jewish families or who were designated as Jews according to the Nazi racial laws. Their stories are linked to the history of Královské Vinohrady, which was once dominated by an opulent Neo-Renaissance synagogue. The chief cantor of this synagogue at the end of the 19th century was Solomon Gruschka, the grandfather of John and Ruth. John's account describes how the family on his father's side lived in a small apartment in the synagogue before the Second World War. John never got to know his grandfather, who died in 1922, but his grandmother Emma and several other family members lived in the apartment until 1938.

John and Ruth's father, Theodor Gruschka, was born into an Orthodox Jewish family but decided to take another path. He studied medicine and devoted his entire life to the public health service. Ruth recalls the following: “I think that we were educated in Jewish values but they were not defined as such. And I also think that my father in his choice of public health and his activities in the social democratic party sort of realised Jewish values in the way in which again there were not identified as Jewish but I think they were Jewish values. So at that respect my brother and I did get a Jewish education in the terms of humanistic contents of Jewish values, but they were not identified as Jewish.” John and Ruth Gruschka were born in Ústí nad Labem, north-western Bohemia, at the beginning of the 1920s. “The town was situated in the Sudetenland and of course the language in our city was German. All our friends spoke German and my school was German and my mother spoke to us in German, although we did learn Czech at school, unfortunately I didn’t hold on to my Czech. I still understand a little bit,” John recalls. John further reminiscences about his happy childhood, which was interrupted by Hitler's coming to power in neighbouring Germany. “Unfortunately, the Nazi movement in Germany, crossed the border. It had a big influence on the German speaking Sudeten Germans. Refugees started coming across. At that stage, it wasn’t Jewish refugees, but we had political refugees, and I remember that we had a German Senator who stayed with us for quite a long time. This influence of Nazi Germany, it was quite out of all proportion to anything that happened before because the Sudeten Germans, they started organizing into the Nazi movement, they started wearing the brown Nazi uniform, they held street parades, the SA with their Heil Hitler slogans and salutes. It affected us as young kids. I can remember that my own school friend... he felt that I should be part of this Nazi movement and in his innocence he came up to me and said: ´John, why don’t you join us?´ Not realizing that he was talking to a little Jewish boy. But it just shows the innocence of the young people in becoming part of the Nazi movement. It was expected of the Germans unfortunately, and it’s a very sorry story about the whole of Czechoslovakia, that the German population deserted the Czechoslovak Republic. This happened before our very eyes….“

As a physician, Theodor Gruschka had a prominent position in the town's health administration. He was also one of the local social democratic leaders. At the end of the 1930s, however, it was no longer possible for him to retain his position on account of his Jewish origin. In 1937 his family moved to Prague, where he was offered the post of ministerial councillor at the Ministry of Health. In the interview, John and Ruth recall their paternal grandmother Emma, who lived in an Orthodox Jewish home in Vinohrady, and their maternal grandmother Paula, who lived on Wenceslas Square. They also reminisced about their new home in the Podolí district of Prague.

According to Ruth, neither Theodor, nor his wife Helena had planned to leave the country but were forced to do so as a result of political events. In February 1939 John was spared the tragic fate of many other Jewish children as he was able to move to Britain, where he stayed with Meeks, distant relatives on his father's side. “I was 14 turning 15 at the time. I had a little suitcase in one hand and a little violin case in the other. As a little boy, I didn’t really know what was going to happen. It was a big adventure for me to leave the country, to see the world, so I said goodbye to my mum and my father and all our relations and hopped on the train. The train went through Germany. I remember at one station, the SS boarded the train, and obviously, they picked on me, they could tell I wasn’t a little German boy, I was a little Jewish boy. They harassed me, molested me, and opened my luggage and chucked everything on the floor, they made life a bit difficult, but I was on my Czech passport, so eventually, they decided to let me go. And I picked up my belongings off the floor again and the train went on the Ostend in Belgium. I got off the train there and boarded the ferry. Another relation of Mr. Meek was waiting for me in Dover and we got on the train to London and up to Manchester. My mother wanted to make sure that I would have something to eat on the way, and she gave me a few slices of bread and a salami to take with me, and then when this relation found out that I had a salami, he made sure that I didn’t take it to the house in Manchester because it was a kosher household, so there was my beloved salami, and it was thrown out of the window on the way to Manchester,“ smiles John at the end.

At the time, John's two-year older sister Ruth was an active member of the Zionist movement Techelet Lavan. One month later, having received a group visa with other young Zionists, she left for what was then Palestine – two weeks before the German occupation. During the war she was active in the British army as a member of the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS).

Ruth also recalls the fate of other members of her family: “When the Germans invaded, my father had to go underground immediately, both as a Czech, part of the Czech regime and as a Jew. And the socialist. I don´t know how they managed, but the party week or two weeks after the entrance of the Germans to Prague offered him two air tickets to Paris. For him and my mother. My mother was caring for my maternal grandmother Paula who was sick and dependent on her.” Theodor went on his own and his wife Helena stayed behind in Prague. In Paris Theodor received an interesting offer from a colleague in Tel Aviv, so he moved there in the summer of 1939, working as the medical administrator in a local hospital. In Palestine he tried to obtain an immigration visa for his wife, but unfortunately by the time he managed to get one it was too late, as she was no longer allowed to leave. Along with other relatives who had remained in Czechoslovakia, she did not survive the Nazi persecution. From the Terezín ghetto she was deported to the Auschwitz death camp, where she was murdered in the gas chambers, probably immediately after her arrival in 1943. “When I parted from my parents, I don´t think I realised how faithful separation it was. We left, I don´t remember which railway station it was, and there were about forty young people with their rucksacks, you know, going on a big trip, and the parents who probably did realise how faithful this separation was. At the time also of course we didn´t know what the future is going to bring. In fact it was the last time I saw my mother.”

Theodor Gruschka

John and Ruth with their mother Helena and grandmother Emma
Ruth has spent her whole life helping others as a social worker. She remained in Palestine, later in Israel – another important part of her life that is captured in the interview. John also talks about his life with relatives in Manchester during and after the Second World War. He got married in England and spent some time with his family in Israel, but in the end settled down in Australia. Many years later he visited Prague with a group of close family members and friends. The conversation about his relationship to his home country was very moving. He spoke about Czech music and the Czech countryside with great emotion. During his visit, he saw the places he had been familiar with in his childhood years. Both John and Ruth spoke to us very openly about their experiences. Ruth, whose interview took place in Jerusalem, also provided us with a large amount of unique photographs from the Techelet Lavan camps and from her family archive, of which we were able to make digital copies.

Ruth and Johna Grushka's recollections are another piece of the mosaic of Jewish memory of the 20th century – a mosaic that we are carefully putting together and are safeguarding for a future time when it will no longer be possible to ask and receive answers from the people who directly experienced these events in our modern history. We believe that the Jewish Museum in Prague is the right institution to turn to for sharing experiences and helping to preserve the continuity of Jewish memory.

For additional information about the JMP's Oral History Collection or Robert B. Fried please visit
Techelet-Lavan Summer Camp

History of the Jews in the Bohemian Lands in the 10th – 18th Centuries

The new publication authored by historian Alexandr Putík presents a chronological overview of the Jewish history of the Bohemian lands in the pre-modern era – with key chapters on the fate of Jews in the Early and High Middle Ages, the Late Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period, the Golden Age of Emperor Rudolf II, the Thirty Years' War, the period of the absolutist state and the period of reforms under Joseph II. The main chapters are further divided according to topic – the individual sub-chapters provide basic information about the professions, settlements and legal status of Jews, as well as anti-Jewish accusations and pogroms. Special attention is paid to the history of Jewish self-government, scholarship, book culture and Messianism. The book contains 135 high-quality illustrations of the exhibits on display in the Maisel Synagogue exhibition – particularly documents, manuscripts, old printed books, paintings, vedutas, maps, flags, synagogue textiles and metal objects.

The publication can be purchased in the museum shops and online at

Traces of Jewish Presence in Prague 2
The publication Traces of the Jewish Presence in Prague 2 by documentary filmmaker Martin Šmok marks the culmination of an educational project that was initiated by the Prague 2 district in 2011 and was carried out over several years in collaboration with the Jewish Museum. This book ties in with an exhibition of the same name from 2014, which charted the little-known or completely unknown fate of Vinohrady families and of localities associated with the existence of the Jewish community in this district of Prague from the late 19th century to the present. The exhibition was first held at the New Town Hall in Prague and was later shown in local elementary schools for educational purposes. It is now back on view in the historic space of the town hall. The book contains a wealth of pictorial documentation, including material from the Jewish Museum's photo archive, as well as first-hand testimonies and an expert narrative. The unique family records that the author acquired during work on the project have been placed in the Jewish Museum's archive.


Judaica Bohemiae

A new issue of the journal Judaica Bohemiae (Vol. 50/2015, 2) came out at the end of December 2015. The opening paper, by Daniel Soukup and Lukáš Reitinger, explores in detail the mid-14th-century Krumlov picture codex Liber depictus. It looks afresh at the question of the origin of this historical manuscript and, for the first time, examines it from the perspective of research into Jewish topics. The study provides an in-depth analysis of the scenes depicting Jews and places them in a broader context. As such, it significantly contributes to research into the clothing customs of the Jewish community in medieval Ashkenaz, or more specifically in the Bohemian lands. On the basis of a study of hitherto unknown archival material, the following paper by Pavel Kocman offers completely new findings on the history of the Jewish community of Hustopeče from 1621–1651 and considerably adds to our knowledge of the life of Moravian Jews in the turbulent period of the Thirty Years' War. In the 'Documents' section, Andrea Jelínková explores the beginnings of the Brno Hebrew printing press and its production in the years 1754–1760. In the 'Reports' section, Iveta Cermanová provides information about the Jewish Museum in Prague's new exhibition Jews in the Bohemian Lands, 10th–18th Century at the Maisel Synagogue, and Martin Jelínek discusses the recent exhibition The Auschwitz Album, which was held at the Prague House of Photography in May–September 2015 and organized by the Jewish Museum in Prague in co-operation with the Prague City Gallery.

The final section of the journal contains a review by Jan Láníček of Martin Wein's book A History of Czechs and Jews: A Slavic Jerusalem (Routledge 2015) and a review by Ilona Bažantová of Tomáš Jelínek's book Pojišťovny ve službách hákového kříže. Prosazování německých zájmů v protektorátním pojišťovnictví, arizace pojistek a mezinárodní odškodňování [Insurance Companies in the Service of the Swastika: The Promotion of German Interests in the Protectorate Insurance Sector, Aryanization of Insurance Policies and International Compensation] (Karolinum 2015).

Published since 1965 by the Jewish Museum in Prague, Judaica Bohemiae focuses on Jewish history and culture in Bohemia, Moravia and the wider Central European area (the territory of the former Habsburg Monarchy). The texts are in English and German.

Survivor testimonies used for education

The Remembrance, Responsibility and Future Foundation (German: Stiftung Erinnerung, Verantwortung und Zukunft) has recently published From Testimony to Story. Video Interviews about Nazi Crimes: Perspectives and Experiences in Four Countries, a volume that has been under preparation for a long time. This book is an English-language anthology and part of a series focusing on the use of survivor testimonies for educational work at schools. It presents various collections of interviews with survivors of National Socialism in Israel, Poland, the Czech Republic and Germany. In addition, it explores and provides specific examples of the use of oral history material. Pavla Hermína Neuner and Julie Jenšovská (from the Jewish Museum in Prague) also contributed to the book with a description of the Museum's oral history collection – “Interviews with Shoah Survivors” – and its successful educational project “Ours or Foreign? Jews in the Czech 20th Century.” The book is available online in PDF format at the Foundation's website and in printed form in the Jewish Museum's Library.


At the start of 2015, the Czech Ministry of Culture, the Association of Czech Museums and Galleries and the Czech Committee of ICOM (International Council of Museums) announced the 14th Gloria Musaealis 2015, a national competition for museums in the Czech Republic.

The aim of the competition is to enhance the prestige of museum institutions and to improve public awareness of their role as trustees of the national cultural heritage for present and future generations. It comprises three main categories – Museum Exhibition of the Year, Museum Publications of the Year, and Museum Achievement of the Year. The highest award is the Gloria Musaealis, which is decided on by the Czech Minister of Culture on the basis of recommendations from the competition jury.

The Jewish Museum will be entering the competition in the “Museum Achievement of the Year” category for its new permanent exhibition in the Maisel Synagogue and for the related renovation work that was done on this heritage-listed building. For more information on this competition, see (in Czech).

Maisel Synagogue – view of the west-facing façade


On 22 October 2015, the President of the State of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, visited the Pinkas Synagogue with Jewish Museum director Leo Pavlát.

On 30 October 2015, the Jewish Museum was visited by Yossi Chajes, a Jewish history professor at the University of Haifa, with his wife Julie.

President of the State of Israel, Reuven Rivlin

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