Manuscript with a penitential prayer for the Jews of Kroměříž massacred by the Swedish army in June 1643
• shipped to the JMP from the Kroměříž collection point in 1942-45
• part of the JMP collection / Judaica sub-collection (manuscripts)
In addition to various prayers intended for the cantor in the synagogue and a prayer for the welfare of the sovereign, the Emperor Charles VI, or the Archbishop of Olomouc, this manuscript also contains memorial prayers, a prayer for the sick and the formula for changing the name of an invalid, among other texts.
The most remarkable part of the manuscript is the selicha (penitential prayer), which recalls the Swedish army’s invasion of Kroměříž on the 9th of Tammuz 5403 (26 June 1643). This text vividly recounts the tragic fate of about a hundred Jews in Kroměříž during the Thirty Years' War. One of the oldest ghettos in Moravia and the local synagogue were plundered, precious manuscripts were burned and most of the inhabitants were murdered. Some Jews chose a voluntary death. The text mentions "the seventy souls", "killed and burned, strangled and drowned, (...) and with them more than thirty books of the Torah – the Law of the scrolls."
The prayer El male rachamim ve-chesed azur (God Full of Mercy) is said during burials and at memorial ceremonies. In European Jewish communities, these texts were written first in connection with the Crusades and later with pogroms. There are many different regional forms of these texts and they are valuable literary records of historical events.
The 370th anniversary of the Kroměříž tragedy falls on 17 June this year, according to the Jewish calendar. An anniversary memorial will be held on the fast of the 17th of Tammuz on 25 June.
O lord, full of compassion,
Gird yourself with mercy,
Spread your wings
Over the souls of the pure,
May they always remain
In your memory,
And do not forget
The martyrs of the holy
Community of Kroměříž.
The WASTELAND remains and
Abandonment has increased,
For there are no people
In the devastated town.
Kroměříž, the glorious garland has now became
An abyss of destruction,
Previously considered a valley of blessing.
Inv. No. ŽMP 000.929 (Ms 91)
Manuscript on parchment, pen-and-ink drawing, more recent black full-leather binding
16 ff; 300 x 250 mm