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!