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Jihlava

JIHLAVA

JIHLAVA (Ger. Iglau ), city in W. Moravia, Czech Republic. Jews are first mentioned in Jihlava in 1249. In 1345 *Charles iv induced the municipality to invite Jews to settle there and promised to grant them an exceptional status. After a fire in 1353 the Jews, like the rest of the citizens, were released from paying taxes. City records covering the years from 1359 to 1420 note 2,700 financial transactions between Jews and gentiles. In 1426 *Albertv expelled the Jews because of their alleged support of the *Hussites. They settled in nearby Puklice (Puklitz), Pulice (Pullitz), Pyrnice (Pirnitz), and *Trest (Triesch). The synagogue was converted into a church in 1511. Between 1708 and 1782, Jews were admitted to the town for business purposes on payment of a special tax. In 1837, 17 Jews lived in Jihlava legally, but more were present illegally. After 1848 a community grew rapidly, opening a prayer room in 1856, a synagogue in 1863, and a cemetery in 1869. Jews were instrumental in developing industry. The community numbered 1,179 persons in 1869, 1,180 in 1921, and in 1930, 1,025 (3.3% of the total population), 327 of whom declared themselves as Jewish by nationality as well as religion. After the Sudeten crisis (1938) many Jews sought refuge in Jihlava. On Nov. 10, 1938, the synagogue was burned down, and Jewish shops were demolished on April 28, 1939. In 1940 the remaining Jews were compelled to move to the villages where Jews had lived previously. They were deported to the Nazi extermination camps in 1942. The synagogue equipment was sent to the Central Jewish Museum in Prague (see *Museums, Jewish). The congregation was revived briefly after the liberation in 1945. The cemetery is still in use. Jihlava was the birthplace of the composer Gustav *Mahler, and of Theodor Herzl's collaborator, Siegmund *Werner. The parents of Gustav Mahler and his two siblings are buried there.

bibliography:

B. Bretholz, Geschichte der Juden in Maehren…, 1 (1934), index; idem, Quellen zur Geschichte der Juden in Maehren (1935), xxxiv–lxvi and index; H. Gold (ed.), Juden und Judengemeinden Maehrens… (1929), 243–50. add. bibliography: J. Fiedler, Jewish Sights of Bohemia and Moravia (1991), 87–88.

[Oskar K. Rabinowicz]

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