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Thousands of people visit Czech synagogues and cemeteries

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Prague, Aug 13 (CTK) – Thousands of people visited synagogues and Jewish cemeteries in various places of the Czech Republic on Jewish Heritage Day on Sunday when visitors could also see sites that are not open otherwise.

During World War Two, the Nazis burnt down and fighting destroyed about 70 synagogues. Another 105 were pulled down by the Communist regime.

The salvation of the heritage started after the regime’s fall in November 1989, thanks to which 200 synagogues and 370 Jewish cemeteries were preserved.

“In regions there is a big quantity of Jewish heritage sites,” Pavel Vesely, coordinator of the heritage day, told CTK.

Jewish Heritage Day was organised by the Prague Jewish community in cooperation with the Brno and Teplice, north Bohemia, communities, the Federation of Jewish Communities and the Matana cemeteries administration.

Most Jewish communities in Czech territory ceased to exist in consequence of the Holocaust and post-war emigration. Now, there are ten of them. In addition, some Jewish heritage sites are owned and managed by towns and private owners.

The Prague Jewish Community takes care of 30 synagogues and 175 cemeteries in central, south and east Bohemia.

The organisers of Jewish Heritage Day say people in the Czech Republic do not yet know much about how rich Jewish culture is and what its role in Czech history is.

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