.mw-parser-output .hidden-begin{box-sizing:border-box;width:100%;padding:5px;border:none;font-size:95%}.mw-parser-output .hidden-title{font-weight:bold;line-height:1.6;text-align:left}.mw-parser-output .hidden-content{text-align:left}@media all and (max-width:500px){.mw-parser-output .hidden-begin{width:auto!important;clear:none!important;float:none!important))You can help expand this article with text translated from the corresponding article in Czech. (July 2018) Click [show] for important translation instructions. Machine translation, like DeepL or Google Translate, is a useful starting point for translations, but translators must revise errors as necessary and confirm that the translation is accurate, rather than simply copy-pasting machine-translated text into the English Wikipedia. Consider adding a topic to this template: there are already 252 articles in the main category, and specifying|topic= will aid in categorization. Do not translate text that appears unreliable or low-quality. If possible, verify the text with references provided in the foreign-language article. You must provide copyright attribution in the edit summary accompanying your translation by providing an interlanguage link to the source of your translation. A model attribution edit summary is Content in this edit is translated from the existing Czech Wikipedia article at [[:cs:Židé v Česku]]; see its history for attribution. You may also add the template ((Translated|cs|Židé v Česku)) to the talk page. For more guidance, see Wikipedia:Translation.
Czech Jews, Bohemian Jews, Moravian Jews
Židé v Českých zemích
Juden der böhmischen Länder
(יהדות בוהמיה (צ'כיה
בעמישע יידן
Jews taking snuff in Prague, painting by Mírohorský, 1885
Total population
Regions with significant populations
Czech, German, Yiddish, Hebrew, Judeo-Czech
Judaism, Frankism, Jewish Brotherhoods
Related ethnic groups
Jews, Ashkenazi Jews, Slovak Jews, Austrian Jews, German Jews, Hungarian Jews, Ukrainian Jews
Historical local Jewish population
Source: [2][3][4]

The history of the Jews in the Czech lands, historically the Lands of the Bohemian Crown, including the modern Czech Republic (i.e. Bohemia, Moravia, and the southeast or Czech Silesia), goes back many centuries. There is evidence that Jews have lived in Moravia and Bohemia since as early as the 10th century.[5] Jewish communities flourished here specifically in the 16th and 17th centuries, and again in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Local Jews were mostly murdered in the Holocaust, or exiled at various points. As of 2021, there were only about 2,300 Jews estimated to be living in the Czech Republic.

Jewish Prague

Further information: History of the Jews in Prague

Jews are believed to have settled in Prague as early as the 10th century. The 16th century was a "golden age" for Jewry in Prague. One of the famous Jewish scholars of the time was Judah Loew ben Bezalel, known as the Maharal, who served as a leading rabbi in Prague for most of his life. He is buried at the Old Jewish Cemetery in Josefov, and his grave, with its tombstone intact, can still be visited. According to a popular legend, the body of Golem (created by the Maharal) lies in the attic of the Old New Synagogue where the genizah of Prague's community is kept.[6] In 1708, Jews accounted for one-quarter of Prague's population.[7]

Austro-Hungarian Empire

As part of inter-war Czechoslovakia, and before that the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Jews had a long association with this part of Europe.[8] Throughout the last thousand years, over 600 Jewish communities have emerged in the Kingdom of Bohemia (including Moravia).[9] According to the 1930 census, Czechoslovakia (including Subcarpathian Ruthenia) had a Jewish population of 356,830.[10]

First Czechoslovak Republic

Further information: History of the Jews in Czechoslovakia

During the 1890s, most Jews were German-speaking and considered themselves Germans.[11][12][13] By the 1930s, German-speaking Jews had been numerically overtaken by Czech-speaking Jews;[14] Zionism also made inroads among the Jews of the periphery (Moravia and the Sudetenland).[15] In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, thousands of Jews came to Prague from small villages and towns in Bohemia, leading to the urbanization of Bohemian Jewish society.[16] Of the 10 million inhabitants of pre-1938 Bohemia and Moravia, Jews composed only about 1% (117,551). Most Jews lived in large cities such as Prague (35,403 Jews, who made up 4.2% of the population), Brno (11,103, 4.2%), and Ostrava (6,865, 5.5%).[17]

Antisemitism in the Czech lands was less prevalent than elsewhere, and was strongly opposed by the national founder and first president, Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk (1850–1937),[18][19] while secularism among both Jews and non-Jews facilitated integration.[20] Nevertheless, there had been anti-Jewish rioting during the birth of the Czechoslovak Republic in 1918 and 1920.[21] Following a steep decline in religious observance in the 19th century, most Bohemian Jews were ambivalent to religion,[22] although this was less true in Moravia.[23] The Jews of Bohemia had the highest rate of intermarriage in Europe:[24] 43.8% married out of the faith, compared to 30% in Moravia.[11]

The Holocaust

Main article: The Holocaust in Bohemia and Moravia

Jewish refugees from Czechoslovakia are deported from Croydon airport, England, on March 31, 1939.
Jews wearing yellow badges in Prague, c. 1942

In contrast to Slovak Jews, who were mostly deported by the First Slovak Republic directly to Auschwitz, Treblinka, and other extermination camps, most Czech Jews were initially deported by the German occupiers with the help of local Czech Nazi collaborators to Theresienstadt concentration camp and only later killed. However, some Czech Jewish children were rescued by Kindertransport and escaped to the United Kingdom and other Allied countries. Some were reunited with their families after the war, while many lost parents and relatives to the concentration camps.[citation needed]

It is estimated that of the 118,310 Jews living in the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia upon the German invasion in 1939, 26,000 emigrated legally and illegally; 80,000 were murdered by the Nazis; and 10,000 survived the concentration camps.[25]


Jewish communities associated under the Federation of Jewish communities and their administration within the Czech Republic, 2008

Prague has the most vibrant Jewish community in the entire country. Several synagogues operate on a regular basis, there are three kindergartens, a Jewish day school, two retirement homes, five kosher restaurants, two mikvot, and a kosher hotel. Three different Jewish magazines are issued every month, and the Prague Jewish community officially has about 1,500 members, but the real number of Jews in the city is estimated to be much higher, between 7,000 and 15,000. Due to years of persecution by both the Nazis and the subsequent Stalinist regime of Klement Gottwald, however, most people do not feel comfortable being registered as such. In addition, the Czech Republic is one of the most secularized and atheistic countries in Europe.[26]

There are ten small Jewish communities around the country (seven in Bohemia and three in Moravia), the largest one being in Prague, where close to 90% of all Czech Jews live. The umbrella organisation for Jewish communities and organisations in the country is the Federation of Jewish Communities (Federace židovských obcí, FŽO). Services are regularly held in Prague, Brno, Olomouc, Teplice, Liberec, Plzeň, and Karlovy Vary, and irregularly in some other cities.

See also


  1. ^ "SLDB 2021: Obyvatelstvo podle národnosti, jednotek věku a pohlaví". Public Database (in Czech). Czech Statistical Office. Retrieved 2023-02-10.
  2. ^ "YIVO | Czechoslovakia". Yivoencyclopedia.org. Retrieved 2013-04-16.
  3. ^ "YIVO | Population and Migration: Population since World War I". Yivoencyclopedia.org. Retrieved 2013-04-16.
  4. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-02-09. Retrieved 2012-03-15.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "The Jews of the Czech Republic". The Museum of the Jewish People at Beit Hatfutsot. Archived from the original on 2018-06-24. Retrieved 2018-06-24.
  6. ^ "The Golem, Temple Emanu-El, San Jose". Templesanjose.org. Archived from the original on 2013-09-16. Retrieved 2013-04-16.
  7. ^ Prague, The Virtual Jewish History Tour
  8. ^ "The Jews and Jewish Communities of Bohemia in the past and present". Jewishgen.org. 2013-04-02. Retrieved 2013-04-16.
  9. ^ "Czech Synagogues and Cemeteries". Isjm.org. 2003-01-04. Archived from the original on 2010-04-07. Retrieved 2013-04-16.
  10. ^ "The Holocaust in Bohemia and Moravia". Ushmm.org. Retrieved 2013-04-16.
  11. ^ a b Čapková 2012, p. 22.
  12. ^ Rothkirchen 2006, p. 18.
  13. ^ Gruner 2015, p. 99.
  14. ^ Čapková 2012, p. 152.
  15. ^ Čapková 2012, p. 250.
  16. ^ Čapková 2012, pp. 17, 24–25.
  17. ^ Gruner 2015, p. 101.
  18. ^ Gruner 2015, p. 100.
  19. ^ Čapková 2012, p. 25.
  20. ^ Čapková 2012, p. 24.
  21. ^ Rothkirchen 2006, pp. 27–28.
  22. ^ Čapková 2012, pp. 16, 22.
  23. ^ Rothkirchen 2006, p. 34.
  24. ^ Rothkirchen 2006, p. 49.
  25. ^ Kulka, Erich (1987). Jews in Svoboda's army in the Soviet Union : Czechoslovak Jewry's fight against the Nazis during World War II. Lanham, Md.: Univ. Press of America. p. xviii. ISBN 9780819165770.
  26. ^ "Most Czechs don't believe in God".


Further reading