Jewish cemetery in Zizkov (known as the First Israeli Cemetery in
Olsany) was established in 1680, as a plague burial ground for the
Jewish Community of Prague. Burials took place here during a plague
epidemic in the second decade of the l8th century and on a regular
basis from 1787, when a ban on burials within the city came into
force. The cemetery was in use until 1890, when a new Jewish
cemetery was established in the Strasnice district of Prague.
After World War II the cemetery fell into a state of
disrepair and a number of tombstones were knocked down. In the early
1960s it was mostly discontinued and converted into a park. The
oldest section with the tombstones of prominent personalities,
however, was preserved and separated from the park by a new wall. In
the second half of the 1980s a television transmitter tower was
built in the park area. The preserved section of the cemetery, which
is a protected site, was placed under the administration of the
Jewish Museum in Prague in 1998. After the completion of essential
building alterations and basic restoration work, the cemetery was
opened to the public in September 2001.
Jewish cemetery in Zizkov is an historic site of great significance.
It is the resting place for some 40,000 persons, including a number
of prominent rabbis and scholars. The most visited grave is that of
the Chief Rabbi of Prague Ezekiel Landau (1713-1793), whose
tombstone was fully restored in 1993 (to mark the anniversary of his
death), together with those belonging to other members of his family.
The tombstone of Landauís pupil and member of the rabbinic board,
Eleazar Fleckeles (1754-1826) has also undergone extensive
restoration. Prominent representatives of the Enlightenment and
contemporary Jewish intelligentsia who are buried here include the
physician Jonas Jeiteles (1735-1806), his son Baruch Jeiteles
(1762-1813) and the historian David Podiebrad (1803-1882). Large
representative tombstones mark the graves of the first local Jewish
entrepreneurs - Joachim Popper (1731-1795) and members of the
Jerusalem, Pribram and Dormitzer families. As far as tombstone
designs are concerned, the cemetery covers a broad range of styles,
from Baroque, Empire and Romantic to the common forms of the 2nd
half of the l9th century.
As of July 2007 the Cemetery can be visited on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. except Jewish holidays.