Jewish Tombstones Used as Cobblestones to Be Returned to Old Jewish Cemetery
JNS.org – Pieces of Jewish gravestones used for street-paving in Prague’s pedestrian areas will be returned to the Old Jewish Cemetery in the Czech Republic’s capital as a result of an agreement reached on Monday between Prague City Hall and the Jewish community, BBC News reported.
For years, Czech Jews have been calling for the removal of the stones, which were taken from the 19th-century Jewish cemetery and used as cobblestones in the late 1980s.
A majority of the stones, made from gravestones that were cut into squares, are situated at the base of Wenceslas Square, one of Prague’s main squares, and on Na Prikope, a popular shopping street.
A project called “Finding the Lost Face of Jewish Cemeteries” is now underway to identify the gravestone fragments, according to Radio Prague International.
The city’s Old Jewish Cemetery is one of the largest Jewish temples in Europe and is run by the Jewish Museum in Prague, Fox News reported.
The Czech Republic’s Jewish population was about 350,000 before World War II (then called Czechoslovakia), but that number dwindled to about 50,000 by 1946. By the late 1980s, the country’s Jewish population barely reached 8,000.