Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Ministry insists on Jewish cemetery being heritage-listed

ČTK |
1 December 2016

Prostejov, South Moravia, Nov 30 (CTK) - The Czech Culture Ministry has rejected a protest against the Jewish cemetery in Prostejov being heritage-listed, lodged by the local town hall, Tomas Jelinek, spokesman for the U.S. Kolel Damesek Eliezer charity foundation, told journalists on Wednesday.

Despite the town hall's disagreement, the Culture Ministry had the cemetery heritage-listed in mid-July.

The Jewish cemetery, where roughly 2,000 people are buried, was founded in Prostejov in 1801 and in 1943, after the German occupation, it was abolished on the proposal of a German mayor. Most tombstones were taken out and then used as construction material or in a different way.

Prostejov had a large Jewish community until the 19th century. Ancestors of philosopher Edmund Husserl and writer Stefan Zweig are buried at the old Jewish cemetery.

The foundation wants to rehabilitate the cemetery.

"I hope that this has closed a sad chapter of misunderstanding of historical and religious circumstances by some local residents and the town's political representation because the resolution directly confirms the reverent importance of the site," Jelinek said.

Culture Minister Daniel Herman (Christian Democrats, KDU-CS) said he had turned down the protest because the area of the former cemetery fulfilled the conditions to be heritage-listed.

"I had no choice but to reject the protest and confirm the decision challenged by it," Herman said.

The town hall argued that the decision might complicate the local infrastructure. There is a park and a school on the relevant site and the original cemetery is only commemorated by a monument.

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