Visit to Old Jewish Cemetery, Prague, Czech Republic

A moving experience in Prague was the visit to Old Jewish Cemetery. It was a different experience; so peaceful yet so disturbing.

We were let in to the cemetery through Pinkas Synagogue, which was used for worship last time in the 1940ies. The walls of the rooms were covered with names of the Jews who died in the holocaust… 78,000+ Bohemian and Moravian victims of Nazis. There is a room which displays children’s art. The sights depicted by the little hands choked me with emotions. Tender lives cut short. All drawings there were made by children captured in Theresienstadt concentration camp during WWII. No photography was permitted here and for once I was glad it wasn’t permitted! These are feelings that are not to be posted around and so right they are!

12,000 Gravestones at Old Jewish Cemetery

From here we were led to the cemetery where 12,000 gravestones are visible. Such a tiny space and so many gravestones… but in reality, the actual figures are 100,000 burials. According to Jewish tradition old graves are not destroyed. And with no new land available they were forced to place layers on layers. Some of them had twelve layers of graves.

The tombstones there too tell stories. Noteworthy here is that the size indicated how important the person was. There are names inscribed in Hebrew and some signs on the tombs indicated their professions. Probably the grapes on tombstone indicated wine making as the person’s occupation. The grave was in use from early fifteenth century to 1787. Standing amidst the tombstones I found it hard to think of anything… we are all human beings and there is an end to all!

A new life clings to old life, tries to survive, so there is hope!


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29 Responses

  1. Sylvia K says:

    Let us hope we never, ever have to witness, experience anything like this ever, ever again! Such a very moving, heartbreaking post! May we never forget! I love your last shot, Indrani! Yes, there is hope! Thank you for this!


  2. Carver says:

    Heartbreaking and touching post. Your photographs are very moving.

  3. Andrea says:

    Oh I see this cemetery twice today, the other one is from JM of It looks like you are on the same thoughts while posting, and Prague is a place i earnestly wants to see!

  4. kanak7 says:

    Fascinating post, Indrani! Interesting to read the information. Twelve layers…that's a lot of layers!

  5. These are as amazing and inspiring, and they are heart-breaking.

  6. Cloudia says:

    This is my favorite post of ANY
    in a long time. You touch the face of the ineffable!

    Aloha from Honolulu
    Comfort Spiral

    >< } } ( ° >

  7. Wow , i have been to this place two times in less than 24 hours .

  8. jewaicious says:

    What beautiful and emotional captures of mood. Life and death, blending together, in several realms.

    I have always wanted to visit this cemetery.

  9. Ebie says:

    Very moving and a very touching post.

    I was also at the Memorial Cemetery the other day, with service men as young as 21.

    I love your poetic closing words, there is hope!

  10. Leovi says:

    Beautiful photos of a beautiful character impregnated romanticist.

  11. This is a beautiful post…from both your words and your photos. Thanks for sharing!

  12. eileeninmd says:

    What a beautiful and moving post, Indrani! Your photos are amazing! Thanks for sharing. I hope you have a lovely week!

  13. Rajesh says:

    Very moving post.

  14. Gary says:

    Well done memorial,Indrani!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River Canada.

  15. these headstones are beautiful. a beautiful, moving post. thanks for sharing.

  16. George says:

    I think seeing this synagogue and cemetery would be heart-breaking, knowing what happened to so many people during the Holocaust. The pictures from the cemetery are sad, but also have a quiet dignity. Thank you for including the last shot.

  17. Heart rending but beautiful post especially of the children's art. Amazing too how the cemetery had up to 12 layers of graves.

  18. ashok says:

    painful history…

  19. Pietro says:

    Very touching post, with fascinating images.

  20. Anna says:

    Your photo's are so delicate and so beautiful , Indrani !
    Greetings from Holland,
    Anna :-))

  21. Hilary says:

    Very touching and solomn. What a horrible time it was for humanity.

  22. Vaish says:

    It's such a heart wrenching moment when we heard the stories of people who were buried there.

  23. VaishVijay says:

    It is sad that humanity was at its worst during WWII! I can understand how depressing it must have been to enter that site.

  24. Ash says:

    Moving post, Indrani!

  25. Touching! I too follow the practice of not photographing if not permitted

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