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History of Německy Brod at the Turn of the 19th Century

View of Německy Brod, late 19 Century

The first written mention of Německy Brod is in 1256. This year (2006) the city is celebrating 750 years since its inception. Because there was a large number of German-speaking settlers, the city acquired the name of "German Ford."

Until the second half of the 19th century, most people in Brod worked in agriculture and various crafts. After the middle of the 19th century, industry developed and new factories were built. Many of them, for example, Mahler's factory for the production of cotton and wool, belonged to Jewish families who were very entrepreneurial. The Pachner family arrived in the Brod during this period and freely participated in life in the city.

The aftermath of the Sarajevo assassination (28 June 1914) and the subsequent declaration of war on Serbia (28 July 1914) resulted in a lack of fuel and food. With the departure of the first reservists to go to the front, a feeling of restlessness came to Brod. With the end of war came the long-awaited peace and the emergence of a free Czechoslovakia, culminating on 28 October 1918, when Brod put red flags and Austrian signs on the main streets.

Development in Brod continued, which naturally led to an increase in population. The promising development of the city and the country, however, ended because of a growing danger of fascism [?].

Brod's records note that on 15 March 1939 Hitler's armed forces occupied the country, resulting in six long years of oppression of the Czech people by the Germans. The end of the occupation occurred on 9 May 1945, when at 6:30 in the morning, the first Soviet tanks rolled into the city, which had already been renamed "Havlíčkův Brod" on 5 May. Brod had escaped massive property damage [?], but there was immeasurable damage to human life. Some neighbors of the Pachner family wondered if their whereabouts were known. Neighbors asked, who actually disappeared?? [?]

1: Jewish cemetery
2: Jewish chapel
3: House No. 104 owners: Pachner

(Click map to enlarge)

The Destiny of the Brod Jews

Jewish Cemetery: current photo

By 1939 some Jewish citizens were forced to move from the city. They resettled mainly in Prague and mistakenly hoped that this would end all their hardship. In June 1942, the majority of the remaining Brod Jewish population was transported to Cologne. From there, together with the Jewish population of Cologne and surrounding areas were removed by transports AAb (5 June), AAc (9 June) and AAd (13 June) to the Terezín (Theresienstadt) ghetto. Even in Terezin, which served as a "transfer station to death," but the Nazis [nedopřáli Brod Jews peace]. During the following years a number of transports from Theresienstadt brought people to various extermination camps in Polish territory [aběloruském - or Russian?]. But at these camps (Auschwitz, Treblinka, Trawniki, Small Trostinec, Sobibor...) everyone was usually killed immediately upon arrival in the gas chambers or shot. At the end of the war, only a few half-Jewish people and the Jews from mixed marriages remained in Brod. Before the war, more than one hundred Jews lived in Brod; only a few individuals survived the war.

The list of victims kept in the Jewish Museum in Prague is still very incomplete, because it includes only 40 people. The oldest mentioned in the list is Hedvika Vrbová, murdered at Treblinka at the age of 88 years, and the youngest named is Vilemína Eiglová, murdered at the age of 8 years, location not given.

Německy Brod Jewish Community


The number of documented Jewish families in Německy Brod evidenced in the Middle Ages is unknown. Since the mid-15th century residence of Jews in the city was prohibited because of the Hussite wars. The first Jewish families to settle in Brod arrived in the middle of the 19th century.

Religious Society [smodlitebnou] was first documented in 1872. The Jewish religious community association was changed in 1884. For an example of population numbers in Německy Brod, in 1900 247 people (3.7%) reported the Jewish religion, but thirty years later there were fewer people: 146 (1.7%). Data on the number of Jewish residents differ, and other sources disagree. The registrar's reports of Jews from this region for the years 1830–1896 was held in Lipnice Sázavou. After 1896, the registry office data was maintained in Německy Brod.

After World War II, as a result of Hitler's senseless fanatical behavior that decimated the Jewish population of the Republic, the Jewish community of Německy Brodsky is becoming restored. [?]

Jewish Chapel

House No. 157: Jewish chapel

A synagogue was never built in Německy Brod, probably as a result of the relatively small number of its Jewish families. Throughout the Jewish community's existence in Německy Brod, the synagogue was replaced by a chapel. The last chapel before the War was very close to the square in Dolni Street, in house No. 157 of the Koref family. It was established in the late 19th century. Religious services were held here once a week on Saturday, attended by about fifty people. The owner of the chapel was Alois Koref, who took care of the building. [?] Koref was later deported to Terezin, where he died on 12 October 1942 at the age of 78 years.

The chapel was on the first floor of house No. 157; the windows were covered with drapery. The chapel formed one big room equipped with pews and a small organ. On its eastern wall was a decorative box which was held several Torah scrolls. According to unverified witnesses, dark purple curtains lined the room which contained a large lamp [?], probably a menorah[?]. After the deportation of Jewish people, the chapel served as a warehouse for containing the property that was confiscated from their homes.

After the war the chapel was used by the Českobratrská Evangelical Church. Today this area contains shops and very few people know about the existence of the chapel.

The first rabbi to come to Brod was named Jakub Singer, who was born on 18 August 1845. He was also an administrator and teacher in the German Jewish private school, which was located in a house on Vojtěšský Brod Street. Located there now is the famous restaurant Havlíčku Holubník. Rabbi Singer also taught religion in other
Grave of Rabbi J. Singer
Brod schools and was one of the first rabbis who spoke Czech in worship ceremonies. Rabbi Singer taught the children of Josef Pachner in secondary school studies. Jakub Singer died on 1 March 1914 and is buried in the Jewish Cemetery in Brod. His successor was Dr. Leo Bretisch, who had served as rabbi in Ledeč Sázavou and also owned a coal business. Rabbi Bretisch and his wife Adela died in Auschwitz in October 1943. In 1922 Rabbi Bretische was replaced by Nathan Guttmann, who worked there until 1925. Since that time no rabbi has dwelt in Brod.

Plaque with the names of the founders of the cemetery (click for translations)

Jewish Cemetery

Ceremonial building: current photo

Havlíčkův Brod Disappeared Neighbors

Basic School of Štoky
(Štoky is located 12 km south of Havlíčkův Brod)

Kateřina Boumová, Pavlína Brožová, Eva Dušáková, Denisa Jelínková, Lenka Klinčúchová, Eliška Konupková, Petra Kohoutová, Lucie Křížová, Monika Křížová, Gabriela Kubátová, Bára Molnárová, Karolína Palánová, Tereza Prokšová, Kateřina Rýpalová, Marie Váchová

Teacher: Barbora Voldřichová

The "Neighbors Who Disappeared" project is coordinated by the Educational and Cultural Center of the Jewish Museum in Prague in cooperation with the Forgotten Ones Association.

In Německy Brod, the chevra kadisha, an association made up of volunteers, provided support and assistance to sick members of the religious community and assured that the body of the deceased was properly prepared for interment and made funeral arrangements.

The Jewish cemetery is located on Ledečské Street, about 800 meters from the main square in Brod. It was founded in the year 1890. Prior to this the Jews had to bring their dead to other cemeteries in the vicinity. The entrance area has a memorial plaque with the names of the founders. The first funeral took place a year after its establishment, for Bedřicha Mahler, a 23-year-old law student, who was buried on 2 March 1891. Funerals were held here regularly up to the year 1942 when the Terezín transports began. The newest tomb in the cemetery includes that of 94-year-old Karlu Nettlovi, who died on 20 April 1942.

The cemetery has an area of 3,932 square meters and is is surrounded by massive stone walls. In the middle of its south side is a ceremonial building [?]. Today illegible Hebrew-Czech words over the entrance read "dust and dust you shall return." The cemetery space is almost entirely filled with graves. A substantial number of the graves are of refugees from Galicia and Bukovina, who, during the First World War, found a new home in the city for a short time.

After the Second World War the cemetery gradually became overgrown; some tombstones were damaged and others stolen. It is currently ongoing restoration work. The cemetery is open to the public.