Jewish Museum in Prague



A large portion of the Museum’s resources goes towards the renovation of Jewish monuments. This includes the overall reconstruction of the synagogue in the Smíchov district of Prague, which, as of next year, will serve as the Museum’s archive and depository. On Friday 23 January, we came across a rare find during building work on this site – a memorial parchment document, which had been placed under the original clay slate floor at the base of the right column in front of the ark on the occasion of the building’s completion on 30 August 1863. This document is of particular interest, both in terms of content and execution: it is divided into 12 sections, of which each is inscribed and decorated in a different style and with different lettering – from classic Empire patterns with fine linear drawings to Neo-Gothic script and naturalistic ornamentation. The text itself commemorates the long history of the Smíchov Jewish community, which dates back to the mid-18th century, and its long-term endeavour to have its own synagogue built. The document was executed by the well-known Jewish portraitist and lithographer from Prague, Josef Bindeles (1826-1914).

The completion of the new synagogue in the Romanesque and Moorish style was supervised by Ignatz Kapper and Filip Kaufmann and was financially supported by the then mayor of Smíchov, industrialist and member of the Provincial Assembly, František Ringhofer. To mark the completion of the building, a memorial document (the one that has just been found) was drawn up and signed on the back by the fourteen members of the Jewish community’s representative body.

This August, the Smíchov Synagogue will celebrate its 140th anniversary. The memorial document will be kept at the Museum, but, after completion of repair work, a copy, together with other documents on the history and reconstruction of the synagogue will be placed where the original item was found – in memory of those who built the synagogue and for the benefit of future generations.


Home  About us  Information for visitors  Virtual Tour  Robert Guttmann Gallery  Education and Culture Centre  News  Cultural Programmes and Public Services Newsletter  Shop