Czech Republic / Bohemia


Ancient synagogue of Carlsbad. Wikipedia

Carlsbad, Karlovy Vary in Czech, is a city famous for its spa complex and its festival.

The Jewish presence in Carlsbad was “only intermittent” until the middle of the 19th century, being forbidden to stay there and mainly coming to work occasionally from surrounding villages. Others came on holiday. The Jewish communities in Vienna, Prague and Berlin contributed to the creation of a holiday centre for disadvantaged families in nearby Marienbad.

Authorised by the municipality to form a community in 1868, the Jewish population grew rapidly, from 100 in that year to 1600 in 1910 and 2120 in 1930. Among the influential families were the Mosers, who founded a famous glass factory.

A synagogue was opened in 1877, its most famous rabbi being Ignaz Ziegler, who officiated from 1888 to 1938. He managed to escape during the German invasion and ended his life in Jerusalem. The synagogue was destroyed in 1938 and most Jews managed to leave the city in time. The city hosted the 12th and 13th Zionist Congresses in 1921 and 1923 respectively.

The Jewish community re-created itself in Carlsbad after the war, numbering about 400 people. It built a community centre with a synagogue, library and mikveh. Carlsbad also has a Jewish cemetery.

Sources : Encyclopaedia Judaica & Times of israel