Jewish quarter in Turnov

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Bohemian Paradise

Turnov, 511 01

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It is a part of the city delimited by Palackého, Trávnice and Krajířova streets. Turnov Jewish Quarter, despite the necessary reconstruction, remained as a whole almost compact.

The Turnov Jewish settlement, which has been registered since the 1620s but which was undoubtedly several decades older, can be described as scattered at first. The first Jewish houses were concentrated in the streets around the square. Only after an extensive fire in 1643 did most of the Jewish houses begin to concentrate into a separate whole, namely Trávnice and the future Palacký and Krajířova streets.
The Turnov ghetto was gradually filled with 22 houses which, after the introduction of mandatory house numbering in 1770, obtained Roman numbers. The Roman numbering of Jewish houses was ultimately the longest lasting separating sign, since it remained in Turnov until 1875 and was probably abolished in connection with the regulation of keeping new land registers.

Now let's take a closer look at the individual buildings and their occupants:

House No. 472 (I)
In 1880 it was owned by Sigmund Prager, a gem merchant and tenant of a tobacco store, who in 1901 moved with his family to Královské Vinohrady. In the 18th century, we find David Joachim Weseritz, who after the compulsory adoption of German names and surnames appears under the name David Liebstein.

House No. 473 (II)
This house is one of the largest buildings of the former ghetto. Although the residential building faces Palacký Street, the house continues through a small rugged courtyard and ends with a segmented passageway opposite the old cinema building. The unique Roman number II in an oval wreath has been preserved in the facade above the main entrance as the only local remnant of the old designation of Jewish houses. In 2011, a partially flooded space was discovered in the basement of the house, which is accessed from the main cellar room by several steps. At present, the space is interpreted as a Jewish ritual bath of mikveh.

House No. 474 (III)
The traditional family in this house were the Hillils (alias Hillers) and their descendants Jamnitz, of whom the most outstanding was Markus Hiller (1764-1850), superior of the Jewish community. In the first half of the 20th century, the family of the merchant Vítězslav Budlovský lived here. Dr. Erich Budlovský died in 1942 in the concentration camp Terezín.

House No. 475 (IV)
The house came into the hands of the Jewish owners in 1717, during the time of the forced relocation of Jews from the city to the future ghetto. In the 19th century the family of Josef and Judita Dubský lived here. Joseph's descendants devoted themselves to the traditional Jewish occupation of tannery and spirits. Since 1894 the couple Theodor and Kamila Seger lived here. In 1914-1918, Theodor Seger, as the then chairman of the local Jewish community, contributed to the social support of Jewish refugees from Galicia. Kamila Segerová died on 11 November 1942 in the Terezín concentration camp, Theodor probably a year later in Auschwitz.

House No. 476 (V)
The oldest record of this house dates back to 1755 and it was already a Jewish house. Later, the tribe of Epstein, another very large Jewish family, most often engaged in the leather trade in Turnov, was connected with the place. The same was true of Isaac, aka Ignác Epstein, who bought the house in 1854 and, in addition to tannery, also devoted himself to the processing of stonework. His son Leopold (1863-1940) continued his father's footsteps. He and his wife Žofie had two daughters who, together with their families, died in Auschwitz.

House No. 477 (VI)
The Jewish owner appeared in this estate as early as 1653. It was Mark Enoch and his wife Salomena. After the fire in 1707 we find the family of Filip Herš Dubský. After him the house was taken by Moses Isaac from Podoli near Svijany, who owned several other properties in the ghetto (No. 487, 492, 493). Their purchase was probably made possible by the profession of goldsmith. In 1770, the house was taken over by Jewish cantor Isaac Jachym, who, together with several other partners, started the industrial production of cartons on the edge of the ghetto. The last Jewish owner of the house was Bernard Schiller. In 1875, Vilém Votrubec bought the property.

House No. 484 (XIII)
In the years 1655-1660 the house belonged to Jew Vít. After the fire of the town, a Christian neighbor, a blacksmith Jindřich Čejka, bought the incineration from his widow. However, in order to concentrate the Turnov Jews into an independent home unit, before the middle of the 18th century, however, they were returned to Jewish hands. In 1747 it was bought by the tenant of the tobacco warehouse Wolf Löbl, who handed it over to his son Maier Wolf alias Maier Thornau, the primate of the local Jewish community and one of the most important Jewish figures of Turn's turn of the 18th and 19th centuries.
In 1857 the house belonged to the heirs of Jakub Dubský. They were also among the last Jewish inhabitants of the house, which, despite its large size, has retained its archaic appearance.

House No. 493 (XXI)
The present appearance of the house dates back to the interwar period. At that time, however, it fully corresponded to the small factory operation, as in the 19th century a card-making factory with a colorful and later a furniture and billiards factory was established. We register Jewish tenants until 1889, when he set up a leather shop Max Epstein, whose son Gustav became famous as the president of the San Francisco Stock Exchange. In the 1890s, the family of Epstein's brother-in-law, Karel Laufer, a gem-merchant, is still here. At the beginning of the 20th century Betty Podvincová moved to the house with children Rudolf and Elsa. Rudolf Podvinec survived the persecution of Jews in Turnov, and his traces end in a transport that runs from Terezín to Auschwitz on 20 January 1943.

House No. 490 (XVIII)
The house No. 484 is connected with another large building, no less interesting old municipal house of the Jewish community. On its facade in the facade we can still see traces of interwar company signs. Although the short passage connecting Krajířova Street to Palacký Street seems to be an authentic building element, it did not break through until the early 1960s.
Already in the years 1688-1695 we document a kind of Jew Šage. A much more important role played the house at the beginning of the 19th century, when it became one of the objects of the business plan of Leinwandt-, Zitz- and Cottofabrique Heller, Neustadtl, Mautner & Companie, which bought it to set up another Jewish paperboard. However, the company did not succeed, so in 1825 the house was bought in auction by a Liberec businessman Josef Kittel.
The new history of this house began to be written in 1869, when a large estate was bought by the Jewish community and moved here from its house No. 483 its headquarters, rabbinical apartment and school. It served the needs of the Jewish community until 1926, when the village sold it to a private owner.

House No. 452
The old municipal house No. 490 (see above) was probably too large and probably quite decrepit for the needs of the Jewish community in the 1920s. After its sale, a new site was built on the neighboring site. There was an office with an archive, a meeting room and, since 1940, even a makeshift prayer room as a replacement for the closed synagogue.

House No. 489 (XVII)
The large house with a mansard roof in Krajířova Street was built sometime in the 18th century, because in 1705 the grunt is deserted, but a hundred years later the couple David and Paul Arnstein live here. The last Jewish family in the house were the Bodaschers. Father Ernest Bodascher came to Turnov in 1897 from Humpolec. He died on the eve of transports to the concentration camps on September 10, 1940, just seven months after his wife Bertha. Their children died in the Lodz ghetto and in Auschwitz.

House No. 491 (XIX)
At the end of the 18th century the house was bought by the founder of the first Turnov Jewish cardboard box Wolf Mayer aka Wolf Thornau. After the mid-19th century, the house was occupied by a skin dealer and later chairman of the Jewish community, Simon Epstein. In 1890 it belonged to the Christian owner.

House No. 492 (XX)
After a fire in 1707, the grunt was bought by a Jew of Polish origin, Jakub David Lissa, to build a new house. After it became owner Moses Oesterreicher of Podoli and then Wolf Mayer. Behind the house in the garden was a ritual bath, which served its purpose until 1893, when the village sold it as unnecessary equipment to the Christian owners of house No. 492 and they removed it. Shortly before, the family of a Jewish sham and kosher Jakub Steinwald moved into the house. Most of the family died in concentration camps.

House No. 486 (XVa)
In 1722, this grunt was purchased by Salomena, the widow of the Jew Mark Enoch, for his son Abraham Enoch, so that he could build a stone house here. At the end of the 19th century, this small house was owned by the spirits producer Alfred Abeles.

House No. 487 (XVb)
In 1757, Moses Isaac bought a barren land to build a house to his daughter Elizabeth and her husband Isaac Mark. At the turn of the 1850s and 1860s, the synagogue servant and author of flowery eutologies lived here on Jewish tombstones by Leopold Steiner and his family.

House No. 481 (X)
The southern side of Krajířova Street was settled by Jewish families in the second half of the 17th century, before the closed ghetto was established. Here stood the third (known to us) wooden synagogue, built to replace the synagogue destroyed by fire. In 1707, however, it also succumbed to fire. Later in its place stands the house of a Jewish cantor, and in 1746 we would find a butcher Abraham Markus. Later tenants can be named Josef Prager and his family.

House No. 480 (IX)
The building was owned by Jew Moses in the years 1681-1683, and then remains in Christian hands until 1774. At the end of the 19th century, the Hahn, who made their living in shoemaking, lived here, or a shopkeeper and grain trader Filip Lipmann Mestitz with his family. Until 1896, the owner of the house was Israel Mendl.

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