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Concerts in the Spanish Synagogue

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To mark the first systematic deportations of Jews from Bohemia and Moravia to ghettoes and death camps, the Jewish Museum will be providing free access to the Pinkas Synagogue memorial to the Jewish victims of the Shoah from Bohemia and Moravia on 16 October (the anniversary of the first transport to the Lodz ghetto) and 27 November (the Sunday after the anniversary of the first transport to the Terezín ghetto). On these two days, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., museum staff will be available to help visitors and answer questions. The memorial was built in the 1950s by the then State Jewish Museum under the supervision of Hana Volavková. Prior to its construction, it was necessary to undertake an extensive survey and alterations in Pinkas Synagogue, which was chosen for its proximity to the Old Jewish Cemetery. The names of the victims on the synagogue walls represent a symbolic extension of the cemetery for those who have no actual grave. This unique memorial is the work of two painters, Václav Boštík and Jiří John, who not only put together the impressive concept but also hand painted the 77,297 names on the walls.
The memorial dates from a time when Shoah commemoration was primarily an internal matter for the Jewish community and when the genocide of Jews from Bohemia and Moravia was mentioned only at the periphery of the story of the suffering of Czechoslovak citizens and of the Communist struggle against Nazism. It was tolerated by the authorities because it was not in a public space but in a synagogue, and because it was seen in the context of postwar commemoration ceremonies. In the period after the Soviet invasion of 1968, the memorial's concealment from the public culminated in its long-term closure and the removal of the inscriptions from the walls. It was only after the fall of Communism that the Jewish Museum could begin restoring the memorial, which reopened to the public in 1996.

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