• Pinkas Synagogue in Prague
The Pinkas Synagogue, which is part of the Jewish Museum, is the central memorial site to the victims of the Holocaust in Prague. The names of 80,000 Jews from Bohemia and Moravia who perished in the Holocaust are inscribed on the interior walls of the synagogue.
Image: Prague, undated, Postcard of the Old New Synagogue and the Jewish Town Hall in Josefov, Stiftung Denkmal
Prague, undated, Postcard of the Old New Synagogue and the Jewish Town Hall in Josefov, Stiftung Denkmal

Image: Prague, 2008, Wall with the names of Holocaust victims from Bohemia and Moravia, Pinkas Synagogue, Rachel Young
Prague, 2008, Wall with the names of Holocaust victims from Bohemia and Moravia, Pinkas Synagogue, Rachel Young
Prague's Jewish community dates back to the tenth century. The city became a centre of Jewish learning. In 1930, the city was home to 35,000 Jews, who enjoyed equal rights as citizens of democratic Czechoslovakia. The Jewish quarter Josefov was a focal point of Jewish life, where adjacent to the old Jewish cemetery stood the Pinkas Synagogue, built in 1535.
The persecution of Jews began immediately after the invasion of the German Wehrmacht in March 1939. They were excluded from public life and pressured to emigrate. In 1941, the German authorities began systematically deporting Jews from Prague, first to the ghetto in Łódź, later to the Bohemian fort Theresienstadt (czech: Terezín), which had been transformed into a ghetto. Beginning 1942, most of the inmates of Theresienstadt were deported to ghettos, death camps and mass shooting sites in the occupied east. Only a small minority of Prague Jews survived the war.
Image: Prague, undated, Postcard of the Old New Synagogue and the Jewish Town Hall in Josefov, Stiftung Denkmal
Prague, undated, Postcard of the Old New Synagogue and the Jewish Town Hall in Josefov, Stiftung Denkmal

Image: Prague, 2008, Wall with the names of Holocaust victims from Bohemia and Moravia, Pinkas Synagogue, Rachel Young
Prague, 2008, Wall with the names of Holocaust victims from Bohemia and Moravia, Pinkas Synagogue, Rachel Young
Of the 35,000 Jews who lived in Prague before 1939, fewer than 5,000 survived persecution and war. In all, about 80,000 Jews from Bohemia and Moravia perished during the Holocaust.
Image: Prague, 1942, Deportation of Jews to Theresienstadt, Yad Vashem
Prague, 1942, Deportation of Jews to Theresienstadt, Yad Vashem

Image: Prague, 2003, Pinkas Synagogue, Židovské muzeum v Praze, Dana Cabanová
Prague, 2003, Pinkas Synagogue, Židovské muzeum v Praze, Dana Cabanová
The Jewish Museum in Prague, which had been founded in 1906, was shut down after the German Wehrmacht invaded in March 1939. In 1942, the National Socialists established a »Central Jewish Museum« in which artefacts and objects of Jewish ceremonial art from the destroyed communities of Bohemia and Moravia were hoarded.
During the communist era, the newly established state museum was mainly occupied with preserving the collection. Since 1994, the museum has been run by the Jewish community. It is not located in one building, but spread over several buildings in Josefov. The Pinkas Synagogue is part of this complex.
Between 1954 and 1959, the Pinkas Synagogue was remodelled as a memorial to the victims of the Holocaust from Bohemia and Moravia. Artists Jiři John and Václav Boštik painted the names of about 80,000 victims in alphabetical order on the interior walls of the synagogue. In 1968, however, the synagogue suffered an inrush of water and it was consequently closed. The communist authorities showed little interest in the Jewish memorial site and put off renovating the building over two decades; during this time, the synagogue remained closed. Only in the 1990s was the Pinkas Synagogue once again opened as a memorial site.
Image: Prague, 2008, Interior view of the Pinkas Synagogue, Rachel Young
Prague, 2008, Interior view of the Pinkas Synagogue, Rachel Young

Image: Prague, 2008, Interior view of the Pinkas Synagogue, Rachel Young
Prague, 2008, Interior view of the Pinkas Synagogue, Rachel Young
Name
Pinkasova synagoga
Address
Široká 23/3
11000 Praha
Phone
+0420 (0)221 711 511
Fax
+0420 (0)222 749 300
Web
http://www.jewishmuseum.cz
E-Mail
office@jewishmuseum.cz
Open
The exhibitions are open daily, except on Saturdays and Jewish holidays.
November to March: 9.00 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.,
April to October: 9.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m.
Possibilities
Guided tours, workshops, events, archive