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Pre-War Jewish Sites Restored in Czech Republic

Czech Republic's Ministry of Culture to renovate ten Jewish sites in gesture to country's rich Jewish history.
By Nissan Tsur
First Publish: 6/26/2014, 1:07 PM

Hareidi Jews in Czech Republic (file)
Hareidi Jews in Czech Republic (file)
Reuters

After a long renovation process two Jewish sites have undergone a comprehensive restoration and renovation process in the last years, as part of the “Ten stars” project launched by the Czech Ministry of Culture. As part of the project, aimed to revive the Jewish heritage of the Czech Republic, ten Jewish heritage sites will be renovated and restored. The project is funded by EU funds and the Czech government.

The synagogue in Ustek was built in 1791-1794 and along the history served the local Jewish community. With the beginning of the World War II the synagogue was abandoned and over the years has become dilapidated.

It 1990 it was renovated for the first time, thanks to the financial support of the International Fund for the Victims of the Holocaust, the Czech government and the local municipality. Shortly later it was opened for the public and the Jewish community, but in recent years the synagogue was forced to undergo another massive renovation.

Last week it was opened again, and will be operated in cooperation by the Federation of the Jewish communities in the Czech Republic and the municipality of Ustek. A Jewish school will be operated from the basement of the synagogue to service the country's roughly 3,900 Jews.

The house also went through a comprehensive renovation process and was reopened in last days; it will host an exhibition on the history of the local Jewish community and its schools, and will also operate as educational center.

Six synagogues and four other Jewish heritage sites were renovated in recent years as part of the “Ten Stars” project for 282 million Czech crowns in total. The project is mainly funded by the EU, while the Czech government has contributed to the project about 40 million crowns.

Although many Jewish institutions were destroyed during the World War II by the Nazis, over 60 synagogues and 350 Jewish cemeteries were still preserved - an unprecedented number in Europe.