Object Alone

Obj. ID: 43002  Holocaust Memorial at the site of Auxiliary Synagogue in Plzeň, Czech Republic, 2002

© Samuel D. Gruber, Photographer: Gruber, Samuel D., 2018

Who is Commemorated?

Jewish victims of the Holocaust from Plzen

Description

The memorial draws on some of the oldest and best traditions of Jewish commemorative practice including the piling of stones, the naming of names, and the respectful treatment of the ruins of holy sites, including synagogues.

Within the walls of the former synagogue 2,600 smooth rounded stones are laid out on gravel between stone borders.  Each loose stone is inscribed with the name of a victim, and they are arranged alphabetically. There are 200 more stones than the number of Jews who were died after deportation as relatives of victims who were not from Plzen asked if they also could inscribe their family members’ names on the stones.

The stones are now framed in a series of rectangular beds, like those found in a formal garden, bordered with cut stone. The shapes of the rectangles covered with stones suggest grave plots.

 Commissioned by

Supported by City of Plzen 

Documenter
Samuel D. Gruber | 2018
Author of description
Samuel D. Gruber | 2021
Architectural Drawings
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Computer Reconsdivuction
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Section Head
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Language Editor
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Donor
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13 image(s)

Name / Title
Holocaust Memorial at the site of Auxiliary Synagogue in Plzeň | Unknown
Monument Setting
Object Detail
Completion Date
2002 (memorial)
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Location
Czech Republic | Bohemia | Plzeň
| Courtyard of the house №80/5, Smetanovy sady St.
Site
Unknown
School/Style
Unknown|
Period
Unknown
Period Detail
Collection
Unknown |
Iconographical Subject
Unknown |
Textual Content
Unknown |
Languages of inscription
Unknown
Type of grave
Unknown
Material / Technique
stone
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Density
Colors
Construction material
Measurements
Height
Length
Width
Depth
Circumference
Thickness
Diameter
Weight
Axis
Panel Measurements
0
Custom
Contents
Codicology
Scribes
Script
Number of Lines
Ruling
Pricking
Quires
Catchwords
Hebrew Numeration
Blank Leaves
Direction/Location
Façade (main)
Endivances
Location of Torah Ark
Location of Apse
Location of Niche
Location of Reader's Desk
Location of Platform
Temp: Architecture Axis
Arrangement of Seats
Location of Women's Section
Direction Prayer
Direction Toward Jerusalem
Signature
Colophon
Scribal Notes
Watermark
Hallmark
Binding
Decoration Program
Summary and Remarks
History

This modest Holocaust memorial is the collaborative work of a local teacher, students, Jewish community members and Holocaust survivors. The monument was inaugurated in 2002 on the 60th anniversary of the deportation of Plzen's (Pilsen) Jewish community. Plzen’s 2,604 Jews were sent to Terezin, and then to concentration and death camps, including Auschwitz. Only 204 survived.

The memorial exists within the ruined walls of the so-called Auxiliary Synagogue, also known as the Old Jewish School that was built in 1875 next to the Old Synagogue. The two structures were joined by a stone staircase to the galleries. After the opening of the New (or Great) Synagogue in 1893, the Auxiliary Synagogue was used for storage and today only the outer walls survive to enclose the Holocaust Memorial. This was built as part of the project “Year 2002 — Year of Memories,” in which Plzen hosted various events to commemorate the Holocaust.

The idea for the memorial came from Radovan Kodera, a local conservationist and photographer who got the idea when photographing the massive New Synagogue which once seated up to 3,000 people.

Main Surveys & Excavations
Sources

Fiedler, Jiří. Jewish Sights of Bohemia and Moravia (Prague: Sefer, 1991)

Gruber, Samuel D. “Plzen's Holocaust Memorial Combines Best Jewish Memorial Traditions,” Samuel Gruber’s Jewish Art & Monuments, July 26, 2018., https://samgrubersjewishartmonuments.blogspot.com/2018/07/plzens-holocaust-memorial-combines-best.html (accessed December 22, 2021)

"On the road in CZ: a closer look at the Plzeň Holocaust memorial," Jewish Heritage Europe, July 26, 2018., https://jewish-heritage-europe.eu/2018/07/26/on-the-road-in-cz-a-closer-look-at-the-plzen-holocaust-memorial/ (accessed December 28, 2021)

“Pebbles Fashioned into Monument to Czech Jews Who Died in Shoah,” Jewish Telegraphic Agency, April 25, 2002, https://www.jta.org/archive/pebbles-fashioned-into-monument-to-czech-jews-who-died-in-shoah (accessed December 28, 2021)

"Plzň," 10 Stars: Revitalisation of Jewish Historic Buildings in Czech Republic, https://www.10hvezd.cz/en/object/plzen/ (accessed December 28, 2021)

Rozkošná, Blanka and Pavel Jakubec. Židovské památky Čech – Jewish Monuments in Bohemia (Brno, 2004)
Type
The following information on this monument will be completed: