Prague, April 21 (CTK) – Three family vaults and 480 tombstones have been repaired at the New Jewish Cemetery in Prague thanks to a project, which received 4.7 million crowns from the Norway Grants and 1.1 million crowns from the Prague Jewish Community, project manager Zuzana Berankova said on Thursday.
“In most cases tilted or fallen tombstones were corrected,” Berankova said.
Norwegian Ambassador to Prague Siri Ellen Sletner said the preservation of cultural heritage is one of the most important spheres that the Norway Grants support.
The Jewish community has always played a substantial role in European history and has been an important part of the European cultural identity, Sletner said during the presentation of the results of the project at the cemetery on Thursday.
The New Jewish Cemetery was founded in Prague-Strasnice in 1890 and there are more than 27,000 gravestones there now.
Berankova said tombstones often fall because roots of high trees grow under them and move them and many tombstones are covered by ivy, which makes them even less stable. Some tombstones are so unsteady that one could knock them down with just one finger, she added.
She said the reconstruction of the most precious art works and the stabilisation of all the tombstones would cost approximately 50 million crowns.
The Prague Jewish Community will try to win further subsidies to be able to have this work done, Berankova said.
Famous writers are among the people buried at the cemetery, including Franz Kafka (1883-1924), Jiri Orten (1919-1941) and Arnost Lustig (1926-2011).
The names of people who died in concentration camps were added to some tombstones after World War Two.
One of the known Prague families of the 19th and 20th centuries who have vaults at the cemetery is the Waldes family. Contrary to the Jewish tradition, their vault also includes the portraits of the husband and wife made by sculptor Josef Vaclav Myslbek.