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Olomouc

OLOMOUC

OLOMOUC (Ger. Olmuetz ), city in Moravia, Czech Republic. Jews are first mentioned there by *Isaac b. Dorbelo (c. 1140; a 1060 reference by a later chronicler is unreliable). In 1273 the bishop reported disapprovingly to Pope *Gregory x on the Jews of Olomouc. In 1278 Rudolph I of Hapsburg decreed that the Jews must participate in all payments to the city on the same footing as all other citizens. A 1413–20 register of the Jews (liber fatalis) and their transactions is extant. There was a platea Judaeorum (*Jewish quarter), but the Jewish community was expelled in 1454 and their property ceded to the municipality, which had to assume the taxes previously paid by the Jews. Some individual Jews, however, continued to be tolerated in the town on weekdays. The Jewish community was reconstituted in 1848 and Jews from *Prostejov (Prossnitz) and *Kromeriz transacted business there. The first Jew permitted to resettle was seized by a mob and transported out of the town on a hearse. In 1863 a congregation (*Kultusverein) was founded, in 1867 a cemetery was established, and in 1891 the community was approved. In 1897 a magnificent synagogue was dedicated and in the same year the first Zionist convention of Austria met at Olomouc. In 1900 part of the new municipal cemetery was allotted to the community. Olomouc absorbed many World War i refugees. Jews were instrumental in its economic development, mainly that of the malt industry. In 1903 there were 2,198 Jews (3.3% of the total population) and in 1941, 4,015. With the German occupation, the synagogue was burned down (on March 15, 1939). Jews from the surroundings were concentrated in the city, and of the 3,445 deported to the extermination camps through *Theresienstadt in June–July 1942, there were 232 survivors. After World War ii a small community was reestablished. In 1949 a memorial to the victims of the Holocaust was dedicated in the cemetery and in 1955 a synagogue was established. In 1959 the community numbered 450, and was guided by the district rabbi of *Brno. It remained an active community, becoming part of the Czech Republic in 1993. Olomouc was well-known among East European Jewry as a center for the livestock *trade.

bibliography:

B. Oppenheim, in: H. Gold (ed.), Die Juden und Judengemeinden Maehrens… (1929), 451–6; B. Bretholz, Quellen zur Geschichte der Juden in Maehren… (10671411) (1935), index; idem, Geschichte der Juden in Maehren im Mittelalter (1934), index; Germ Jud, 1 (1963), 254–5; 2 pt. 2 (1968), 628; R. Iltis (ed.), Die aussaeen unter Traenen, mit Jubel werden sie ernten (1959), 66ff.; K. Hudeczek, Die Juden in Olmuetz (1897); W. Haage, Olmuetz und die Juden (a Nazi publication, 1944); W. Mueller (ed.), Urkundliche Beitraege zur Geschichte der maehrischen Judenshaft im 17. und 18. Jahrhundert (1903); A. Engel, in: jggjČ, 2 (1930), 58–59.

[Meir Lamed]

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