views updated


LOUNY (Ger. Laun ), town in N.W. Bohemia, Czech Republic. Jews are first mentioned in Louny in 1254 – one year after it received its freedom as a town – as living on a Jewish street and having a synagogue and a cemetery. The city records for 1380–92 contained a special section for Jewish lawsuits. In 1505 there were 12 Jewish houses. A Jew, accused in 1541 of having acquired a monstrance, was burned and the community was expelled from the town. From 1655 only one Jewish family was protected by the town, but in 1680 a cemetery was established. The cemetery and the prayer room were used by Jews from the vicinity. At the end of the 18th century there were 43 "bad Jews" in Louny, i.e., Jews who did not have permission under the *Familiants Law to live there, and the first Jew to settle there in 1849 was forcibly returned to his former town by the crowd. Thereafter, Jews came to Louny, a synagogue was built, and in 1874 a German-language Jewish school was founded (given up in 1897); a new cemetery was built in 1875 (which still existed in 1970). Fifty-one Jewish families lived in Louny in 1880 and 567 persons in 1890. In 1893 the community adopted Czech as the official language. In 1902 there were 666 Jews in Louny and the 18 surrounding villages; and in 1930 there were 205 (1.8% of the total population). The community was deported to the Nazi death camps in 1942, and the synagogue's equipment was sent to the Central Jewish Museum, Prague. The community was briefly reestablished after World War ii.


K. Linhart, in: H. Gold (ed.), Die Juden und Judengemeinden Boehmens in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart (1934), 348–61; F. Štědry, Dějiny města Loun (1930); Abeles, in: Juedisches Centralblatt, 3 (1884), 115–6. add. bibliography: J. Fiedler, Jewish Sights of Bohemia and Moravia (1991), 108–9.

[Jan Herman]