Prague's Old-New Synagogue to light up for International Holocaust Remembrance Day

A new map app sharing stories of 30,000 Holocaust victims from the Czech capital has also been released to mark the occasion.

 William Nattrass

Written by William Nattrass Published on 27.01.2022 11:56:00 (updated on 27.01.2022) Reading time: 3 minutes

Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Each year, countries across the world stop to remember the victims of the Holocaust on the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz concentration camp by Soviet troops on January 27, 1945.

This evening in Prague, the symbolic lighting of the facade of the Old-New Synagogue on Maiselova Street, Europe's oldest active synagogue, will take place between 5 pm and 11 pm. The lighting is organized by the Federation of Jewish Communities, the Jewish Community of Prague, and JCC Prague, in cooperation with SignalFestival, which has joined the #WeRemember international campaign on the occasion of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Memorial events this year have been made even more poignant by the release of a new app showing the location of Jewish inhabitants of Prague prior to WWII. The map provides information about more than 30,000 Holocaust victims from Prague, including photographs of victims, places of residence and persecutions for violation of anti-Jewish regulations during the war.

The app was created by the Masaryk Institute in cooperation with the Terezín Initiative Institute and the Multicultural Center Prague. The project will receive long-term support from the Czech node of the European Holocaust Research Infrastructure project. The app is available to access on mobile or computer devices here.

“We believe this application will enable teachers and students to ask new questions about the Holocaust and racial segregation, and will provide tourists with a difference perspective when discovering a city with a rich multi-ethnic history,” said Eliška Ševčíková Waageová from the Terezín Initiative Institute.

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The Multicultural Center Prague is also offering guided walks to schools and large groups interested in discovering the personal stories of people in Prague persecuted during the Holocaust.

Additionals events got underway earlier this morning at the Czech Senate, which together with the Federation of Jewish Communities in the Czech Republic and the Foundation for Victims of the Holocaust, held a televised commemorative meeting at 10:00. Speakers at the event include Czech Auschwitz survivor Helga Hošková.

At 15:00 a Czech-Israeli-American commemorative event is being held at the Czech Foreign Ministry in Czernin Palace. The event will focus on murdered and persecuted Jewish diplomats during WWII. Officials taking part in the event include Israel’s Minister for Social Equality Meirav Cohen, Israeli Ambassador to the Czech Republic Anna Azari and U.S. Chargé d’affaires to the Czech Republic Jennifer Bachus.

An event is also taking place at the Terezín Memorial at 13:00. A reading of Roman Cílek’s book “Holocaust – The Blind Path of History” will take place in Czech and German. And later today, between 17:00 and 23:00, the façade of Prague's Old-New Synagogue will feature a light projection with the hashtag #weremember, produced by the Federation of Jewish Communities, the Jewish Community of Prague and JCC Prague in cooperation with Signal Festival.

Terezín (then Theresienstadt) was the site of a concentration camp and ghetto used by the Nazis during their occupation of Bohemia and Moravia during WWII. Throughout the war, transports of Jews, first from the Czech lands and later from other countries including Slovakia, Germany, Hungary, Austria and Denmark arrived at the camp.

Theresienstadt was also used by the Nazis as a transit camp for Jews later moved on to Auschwitz or other extermination camps. Out of the 155,000 Jews sent to Terezín, it’s thought only 23,000 lived to see the end of the war.

The Jewish community numbered an estimated 350,000 people in Czechoslovakia before WWII. During the war, some 250,000 perished.

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