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Klatovy

KLATOVY

KLATOVY (Ger. Klattau ), town in S.W. Bohemia, Czech Republic. One Jewess is mentioned in Klatovy in the early 14th century; although no further documentary evidence exists, it is assumed that there was a community there until the 16th century. In the 18th century the seat of the Klatovy district rabbinate was in *Pobezovice (Ronsperg). After 1867, Jews mainly from nearby Strazov, Janovice, and Svihov established a congregation in Klatovy, opened a cemetery, and dedicated a synagogue in 1873. There were 1,345 Jews living in the district in 1869 and 1,305 in 1881. In the town itself the community numbered 724 (108 families) in 1893, with Jews in 14 villages affiliated to it. At the end of the 19th century Jews established more than three-quarters of the town's factories. Antisemitic riots occurred on three occasions: in connection with the *Hilsner blood-libel trial in 1899; when a Jewish youth was accused of defiling the statue of a saint; and later in 1919. Between the world wars Klatovy's Jewish population fluctuated; while the town continued to attract Jews from the countryside, many others moved to the larger cities. In 1930 the community numbered 344 (2.4% of the total population). At the time of the Sudeten crisis (Fall 1938), many Jews from the southwestern Bohemian border found refuge in Klatovy. The synagogue was plundered by Czech Fascists on July 15, 1941. The mayor had the attackers arrested and intended to bring them to trial, but they were released as a result of German pressure. The synagogue building was put at the disposal of the local museum. In the fall of 1942 the Germans deported all Jews from Klatovy and district to the extermination camps and none returned. The synagogue equipment was sent to the Central Jewish Museum in Prague. Both the cemetery and synagogue existed in the early 1970s. The Czech-language author František *Gottlieb originated from Klatovy. The chief rabbi of Bohemia-Moravia, Gustav Sicher (1880–1960), was born there, as was the Czech-Jewish poet Karel Fleischmann (1897–1944) who perished in Birkenau. A memorial for Nazi victims was dedicated in the cemetery in 1989.

bibliography:

M. Steiner, in: yivoa, 12 (1958/59), 247–58; Germ Jud, 2 (1968), 403. add. bibliography: J. Fiedler, Jewish Sights of Bohemia and Moravia (1991), 175.

[Jan Herman]

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