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December 13, 2012 12:53 pm

Czech Jewish Museum Will be Housed in Restored Synagogues Throughout Country

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A reconstructed synagogue in Jičín, Czech Republic, the birthplace of Jewish-born writer Karl Kraus. Photo: Jan Jeništa/Wikimedia Commons.

The Czech Republic will open a new Jewish museum in October 2013—but it will not be housed in a single building.

Instead, the museum will consist of 10 linked exhibitions in 10 restored synagogue buildings located in different cities. The Czech Federation of Jewish Communities is directing the project known as 10 Stars. The European Union donated most of the funding for the museum, totaling about $14 million. The rest of the project, which is called “10 Stars,” is funded by the Czech Culture Ministry.

“It’s actually one museum scattered around the country. The exhibition in each site will be linked to one certain phenomenon in Jewish history, culture, religion, traditions. The idea is that if you visit one of the sites, even by chance, you will realize that there are nine other parts of the exhibition, so you will want to visit them, too,” said Tomas Kraus, the executive director of the Czech Jewish federation, according to the Times of Israel.

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Many of the exhibitions will focus on a particular theme, such as the town of Polna, which is known for an 1899 blood libel case, or Jicin, which was the birthplace of Jewish-born writer Karl Kraus. The exhibit in Plzen will include video interviews with Holocaust survivors.

The 10 Stars project also plans to issue visitors a “passport” that can be stamped each time they visit one of the synagogues in the museum network. Once they get all 10 stamps, they win a prize. 10 Stars is adapting the existing Jewish Museum in Prague as a model for the rest of the country. The Prague museum already displays its collections in several historic synagogues and receives more than 500,000 annual visitors.

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