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Kojetin

KOJETIN

KOJETIN (Czech Kojetín ; Ger. Kojetein ; Heb. גויט״ן ,גוט״ן), town in central Moravia, Czech Republic. Jews apparently lived in Kojetin from the 13th century, but their first documented mention dates from 1566, when 52 families lived in the Judengasse. The consecration of a cemetery is recorded in 1574. The synagogue, then seating 300, was renovated in 1614 (and restored again in 1718). In 1657 only 16 houses were owned by Jews, but the community absorbed many refugees from the *Chmielnicki massacres (1648) and some of those expelled from Vienna (1670). The Minhag Polin, the Polish prayer rite, was introduced in Kojetin in 1648. When the Jews were segregated in a special sector of the town in 1727, 500 of them lived in 40 houses. Kojetin was then in the possession of the Prague archbishop, who treated the Jewish community fairly. There was a scandal in Kojetin, echoed in rabbinical literature of the period, when a *Frankist was accused of making the sign of the cross when blessing the community. The *Familiants Law allotted 76 Jewish families to Kojetin in 1798. In 1829 there were 443 Jews in the town, living in 45 houses. The community flourished in the 19th century but began to decline after 1860 when many of its members were attracted to the larger cities. It numbered 162 in 1869.

Only 72 Jews (1.1% of the total population), 30 of them of declared Jewish nationality, were left in the town in 1930. The remnant of the community was deported to Nazi extermination camps in 1942 and the synagogue equipment transferred to the Central Jewish Museum in Prague. A small congregation, affiliated with *Olomouc, was established after World War ii. The burial hall in the cemetery was still standing in 1970.

Among the rabbis who officiated in Kojetin were Eleazer *Fleckeles (1779–83), Jacob *Bruell (1843–89), and Richard *Feder (1903–06). Several Jewish families – Goitein, Guttein, Kojeteiner, etc. – took their names from the town. The scholar David *Kaufmann was a native of Kojetin.

bibliography:

Steiner, in: H. Gold (ed.), Juden und Judengemeinden Maehrens (1929), 279–87.

[Meir Lamed]

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