LIBEREC (Ger. Reichenberg ), city in N. Bohemia, Czech Republic. There were 60 Jews in Liberec in 1582. There was no community in the city during the 18th and first half of the 19th centuries. Although there were 57 Jews in Liberec in 1811, no community was permitted and their residence there was illegal (see *Familiants Law). The Jewish wool dealers, among them Simon von *Laemel, were among the developers of the textile industry. The Jews were permitted to remain in the town only during the week – the church authorities published an ordinance on the subject in 1776. In 1799 and 1810 the Jews were officially evicted from private houses and were allotted special inns, but after 1848 Jews settled in the town. Later, a congregation was founded (1863), a synagogue was dedicated (1889), and an Orthodox prayer room, Achdus Yissroel, was established. In 1912 there were 1,240 Jews in the town (3.4% of the total population) and in 1930 there were 1,392 (3.6%). At the time of the Sudeten crisis (1938) the Jews left Liberec; some 30 remained behind and were arrested. The synagogue was demolished on Nov. 10, 1938. A community was refounded in 1945, with most of the members coming from *Subcarpathian Ruthenia. In 1946 the community numbered 1,211 Jews, including 37 original inhabitants, 1,174 postwar settlers, among them 182 members of the Czechoslovak army-in-exile. The prayer room and a memorial tablet to the victims of the Holocaust were restored in 1987. A small congregation was active in the early 21st century and a cemetery was in use.
Hofmann, in: H. Gold (ed.), Die Juden und Judengemeinden Boehmens in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart (1934), 529–69; Klein, ibid., 7; Lamed, in: blbi, 8 (1965), 302–14; R. Iltis, Die aussaeen unter Traenen… (1959), 36–39. add. bibliography: J. Fiedler, Jewish Sights of Bohemia and Moravia (1991), 102–103.
[Jan Herman /
Yeshayahu Jelinek (2nd ed.)]