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KYJOV (Ger. Gaya ; Heb. גאיי גא״י), town in S. Moravia, Czech Republic, the only one of the royal cities in which Jews were allowed to dwell. The rights of the Jews were protected by a charter of 1613. The community had existed long before then, the ancient synagogue (demolished in 1851) having been built in 1506. Jews remained in Kyjov in 1650 when all communities which had not been in existence before 1618 were expelled. There were 12 Jewish houses in Kyjov in 1688. The burghers petitioned several times for their expulsion, but the royal charter was adhered to. In 1651 a compromise was signed, which included a clause permitting the Jews to distill spirits. In 1727 the Jews were segregated. After 1848 the Jewish quarter remained a *politische Gemeinde until 1918. The number of Jewish families permitted by the *Familiants Law was 74. The community grew from 427 in 1830 to 510 in 1848, and 884 in 1869, and declined to 820 in 1890 and 620 in 1900. In 1930 the community numbered 319 (7% of the total population). During World War i a large refugee camp near Kyjov was administered by the community. After the end of the war, the Czechoslovak central authorities prevented the local authorities from expelling its inhabitants. In 1938 the camp was reopened for 670 refugees from the Sudeten area and for refugees from Vienna. The Nazis used the camp to assemble all the Jews from the town and the surrounding district; early in 1943, 2,852 persons were deported in three transports from this camp to *Theresienstadt, and from there to Auschwitz later in the year. The synagogue equipment was sent to the Central Jewish Museum in Prague. After the Holocaust Kyjov became the central community for the region, with jurisdiction over the congregations of Hodonin, Holesov, Kromeriz, Uhersky Brod, and Vsetin, which all together numbered about 300 individuals in 1959. In 1956 a memorial to the victims of the Holocaust was dedicated in the cemetery. The community of Kyjov also cared for the community of Bzenec and opened a prayer room there in 1956.


Ehrlich, Hayek, in: H. Gold (ed.), Juden und Judengemeinden Maehrens… (1929), 199–203; H. Flesch, ibid., 31–44; idem, in: mgwj, 73 (1929), 119–30; I. Halpern, Takkanot Medinat Mehrin (1952), 1–102; R. Iltis (ed.), Die aussaeen unter Traenen… (1959), 58–60.

[Meir Lamed]