Hartmanice - Hartmanice Mountain Synagogue

In 1881, the Hartmanice-Kundratic Jewish community decided to build a synagogue, which would be a place of prayer for the growing Jewish community from Hartmanice and the surrounding area. From the builder Georg Beywl, she bought the land with his residential house, which was later connected to the synagogue and served as a Jewish school and the rabbi's apartment (the house to the right of the synagogue). Within three years, a building with generous spaces and specific architectural details was created.

However, the synagogue served its purposes for only fifty-five years. The gradual outflow of the Jewish population to larger cities was followed by the seizure of Hartmanice by the Great German Empire. After the arrival of the Wehrmacht, the plates of the Ten Commandments were hammered out of the shield, the synagogue was confiscated and converted into a carpentry workshop. The shield above the main facade was torn down, the entrance to the garden was demolished where the aron stood, and the raised step below was razed to the ground. The inner space of the synagogue was divided vertically and horizontally. Partitioning the nave into two rooms and inserting a floor at the level of the former gallery completely eliminated the spatial characteristics of the tabernacle.

Insensitive interventions did not take place only during the war, but also in the following years, when the building was confiscated as German property (carpenter Ferdinand Pelikan died in the war) and the German workers of the carpentry factory were displaced. Karel Šimek from Petrovice, also a carpenter who previously worked for Pelikan, became the new manager of the building. A chimney was immediately built into the middle of the nave, the upper parts of the large windows in the northeast facade were bricked up, and primitive electrical wiring was installed throughout the building. Over time, the deterioration of the shingle roof was solved by layering Eternite, bars were inserted into the ground-floor windows.

Stripped of all dignity, the synagogue was later used by the State Forests and Farms enterprise and served as a tire warehouse for the army. The Hartman family used to go to her floor to play ping-pong. However, no one took care of the building itself, so it was "dedicated to the national committee for demolition" in the 1980s. Fortunately, thanks to November 1989, that didn't happen. The synagogue was returned to the Jewish religious community in Pilsen, which offered it for sale due to lack of funds. The owner changed several times, until in 2002 the building was purchased by Michal Klíma, who founded the Civic Association Památník Hartmanice with the idea of restoring it.

Source: Website of the civic association pámátník Hartmanice http://www.hartmanice.cz/

Exposition on Czech - German - Jewish coexistence in Šumava.

The restored former women's gallery houses the main exhibition of the Hartman Synagogue, in which the history of the Šumava settlement is displayed in a modern, attractive and graphically imaginative way, with an emphasis on explaining the roles of the three peoples who lived there. Relations between Czechs, Germans and Jews are documented here in historical photographs and documents. Unlike other museums, the exposition does not avoid the topic of the persecution of Jews during World War II. world war, the displacement of Germans after 1945, the cold war and the fall of the iron curtain. These events are presented non-ideologically and without prejudice. Exhibits on loan from the Šumava Museum are displayed on the ground floor.

Villages in Šumava liquidated by communists after 1948.

After the advent of the communist regime, the majority of villages, settlements and hermitages that were within a few kilometers of the border with Germany were systematically liquidated in Šumava. Among them were also villages in which hundreds of inhabitants used to live. A reminder of these settlements is an exhibition of nine pairs of photographs by Blanka and Honza Reichardt on the ground floor of the synagogue, which show the places as they looked before 1948 and as they look now. The location of the liquidated villages is documented by an orthographic map.

The fate of the Jewish community and synagogue in Hartmanice.

A very pleasant non-traditional exhibition space was created in the attic of the synagogue during the renovations. The three panels show the history of the Jewish community of Hartman and the fate of the synagogue and the course of its rescue. On display are fragments that have been preserved from the original building and which served as a template for the production of replicas - the entrance door, the railing plate of the women's gallery, preserved window frames, cast iron railing cones, etc.

Šumava in old photographs from the collection of Pavel Scheufler

On the raw stone wall of one of the gables of the synagogue in the attic, small photographs from the collection of Pavel Scheufler stand out very effectively. They capture the people, buildings and nature of the Šumava Mountains more than 100 years ago. In the atmosphere of the restored ancient building, the view of historical photographs is particularly impressive.

Source: Information leaflet Mountain Synagogue in Hartmanice, published by the civic association Památník Hartmanice.

Jews come to Šumava

Jews came to Šumava with the first colonists in the 10th century. German and French merchants met on the territory of today's Bohemia, and Jewish merchants also entered here for the first time. They exchanged their initially nomadic encounters with the center of Europe for a more settled life and from the aforementioned 10th century they were a stable part of the population of the Czech lands. Although they contributed significantly to the development of local trade with their knowledge and contacts, their presence was not always welcome.


The rapid deterioration of their position occurred in connection with the Crusades and as a result of the provisions of IV. the Lateran Council. Even later, their contact with Christians was restricted, Jews had to live separately in closed quarters and wear different markings on their clothing.

Medieval society limited the Jews' source of livelihood strictly to trade and prohibited them from practicing crafts. The legal status of the Jewish population was anchored by Přemysl Otakar II. According to his Statute Judaeorum of 1254, Jews were understood as servants of the royal chamber. This obliged the monarch to protect the personal safety of the Jewish population and its institutions, but the Jews had to pay special fees for this service. In its main features, this basic norm of the position of the Jews, as a permanent source of income for the monarch, remained valid until the 19th century.

In the Czech lands, Jews settled mainly in the lowlands, along rivers and in large cities. The dense network of Jewish communities in Šumava is therefore a surprising exception and a specific phenomenon worthy of attention.

The old mining town of Hartmanice remained closed to the Jewish population for a long time. Only after 1867, when their full equality was recognized by the new constitution, did Jews begin to settle in Hartmanice to a greater extent and penetrate deeper into the Šumava mountains. In 1880, more than 100 Jews lived in the town of almost a thousand people, who actively participated in its development. At this time, the synagogue in neighboring Kundratice was no longer sufficient for the local Jewish community, and in 1881 it was decided to establish its own tabernacle.

In 1884, the synagogue was already built, and 200 Jews from the entire Hartman area meet in it. Every Saturday, the Torah is read and Shabbat, a day of rest, is celebrated. During the year, the Tabernacle witnesses the celebrations of the Jewish holidays Rosh Hashanah (New Year), Sukkot (Festival of Tabernacles), Hanukkah (Festival of Lights), Pesach (Feast of Unleavened Bread), Purim (Festival of the Lot), and hosts weddings and other festive ceremonies. . The synagogue has been a center of Jewish culture for several decades.

Source: information from boards in a Jewish synagogue