Jewish cemetery at Hřivčice Pflanzendorf
Visit one of the largest Jewish cemeteries in North Bohemia

The History of the Jewish Cemetery at Hřivčice

August 2016

The cemetery was probably founded in the second half of the 17th century, and was later extended in 1837. Its total land area is 5 025 sqm, with the former burial ground of 3 163 sqm containing about 400 preserved tombstones, many of which are baroque or classical, with the oldest dating from 1687. According to other sources, the cemetery lying between the villages of Hřivčice and Vrbno nad Lesy, is recorded in property registers in the year 1732. Historically, according to the real estate cadastre ( plot 208 ), the owner of the cemetery is the Israeli(te) Burial Society for Hřiškov and surroundings. The current owner is the Jewish Community of Teplice. The area of the Jewish cemetery – the former burial ground is 3163 sqm, which is more than the local cemetery ( 1361 sqm ).

Many gravestones made from sandstone are inscribed with the original Hebrew script and adorned with the traditional symbols of stars, hands or lily flowers. Others have basic additional information inscribed in Latin. The whole inscriptions on the most recent granite headstones are legible, for example the tombstones for Alois Propper a butcher from Vraný dated 1906, or for Bedřich Lederer from Hříškov dated 1931. Jews from Slavětin, Hříškov, Peruc, Hořešovice, Vraný and other villages in the region are also buried here. From the legible inscriptions it is evident that the last burials here took place in the 1930's. Historical maps show a track leading to the cemetery also from Vrbno above the woods and towards the cross by the railway line. The track was abolished when the fields and agricultural activities were consolidated. At present the only access from Hřivčice ends at the Jewish cemetery parking spot.

After 1918, the local Jewish community in the Peruc region was so integrated into the mainstream society that many of its members were also buried in municipal cemeteries; thus the significance of this memorial space declined. During the Second World War and after shoa this community has virtually disappeared. Since 1939, the former cemetery was neglected and gradually fell into disrepair. However, the graves and the tombstones were robbed only sporadically. By the end of the 20th century the cemetery was in a pitiful state, with toppled tombstones and overgrown shrubs.

In 2000, the Chomutov Apostolic Church and the missionary station in Černčice, in co-operation with the Czechoslovak Hussite Church and the religious community of Peruc, made attempts to restore the Jewish cemetery. They cleared the cemetery, which was neglected for 60 years, from overgrown bushes. However, as these attempts ended, by 2008 the cemetery became overgrown again.

In response to the reports on Peruc website in 2008, the Jewish Community of Teplice became interested in the restoration of the cemetery. The co-operation of a citizens from Peruc was agreed and he was able to clear the cemetery from most of the overgrowth within a year. This co-operation continued during 2009 and 2010, when some of the dead trees were cut down, grass mown and accumulated debris removed.

Within the framework of Phase I of this project more than thirty better preserved tombstones were raised and the greenery was regularly cut and maintained. An information plaque describing its history was also placed by the cemetery and in nearby Hřivčice signposts were erected to inform visitors to the region about the existence of this historical site.

Au cours de la premiére phase du projet, plus de 30 pierres tomballes, celles le mieux conservés, ont été reconstruites et la verdure étais systématiquement entretenue.. En outre, les panneaux d´informatios sur l´histoire cimetière juif ont été placés au cimetiére ainsi que les signes informant les visiteurs de la région de l'existence de ce monument autour de Hřivčice.

Currently, the restoration of the Jewish Cemetery near Hřivčice is being undertaken by the Association for the Renovation of Jewish historical sites in Peruc Region, founded at the beginning of 2015 with the financial support of the Foundation for Holocaust Victims, the European organisation ESJF and the regional office for Usti nad Labem.

It has been completely refurbished peripheral cemetery wall of the argillite stone, including a new entrance gate made of wood with metal elements – the stars of David.

In cooperation with professional stone company was constructed a memorial to Holocaust victims IN MEMORIAM with the names of 17 of the murdered Jewish citizens from Peruc. The monument will be placed into the space of the former mortuary ceremony of the restored Jewish cemetery. It will be a dignified reminder of the murdered local citizens of Jewish origin.

The aim of this project is also to bring to public's attention the need for tolerance, and racial and religious toleration. The restoration of the Jewish cemetery at Hřivčice will enable this memorial to be preserved for future generations in the hope that the horrors of shoa are never forgotten.

Sites on the subject of the Holocaust (Shoah) History of the Jews in Peruc (Perutz)