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13.01.2016

Book about city’s Jewish community published in Prague

The book is the result of a project which began in 2011

In the capital of the Czech Republic, Prague, a book has been published about the life of the Jewish community in the Vinohrady district.

The author is the documentary filmmaker Martin Šmok, in collaboration with other authors and historians.

The book with the laconic title “Traces of the Jewish presence in Prague 2” was the result of a project of the same name that the authors began in 2011 with the support of the city authorities.

“The unique book gives a comprehensive picture of the fate of our vanished neighbors. The people who constituted a significant Vinohrady community, about whom only fragmentary information survives. Everyone knows the history of the Vinohrady synagogue on Sázavská Street, which burned to the ground after bombing in February 1945, and was demolished in 1951. But we know little about the fate of a member of the Jewish community who is inseparably linked to this place. We know that during the Second World War, Hana Epstein ran a children’s shelter in the synagogue building, and then looked after children in a concentration camp. A search for information about the subsequent fate of her and other outstanding figures will be the topic of the next stage of research,” said Jana Černochová, head of the Prague 2 district.

By 1939 the number of Ethnic Jews had reached 120,000 (around 16% of the total population), but around 80,000 of them were exterminated in the Holocaust. The majority of the remaining Jewish population emigrated to the USA and Israel, or assimilated.

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