Thursday, March 18, 2010

If you're ever looking for a powerful, poignant historical monument, it's the Pinkas Synagogue and, beside it, the Old Jewish Cemetery, part of the network of monuments and exhibitions that make up the Jewish Museum in Prague. Many people may not realize the Czech Republic (formerly Czechoslovakia, since split from Slovakia) has such a rich history; in this case, its history includes a concentration camp which the Nazis used as a model for how "well" they treated Jews there, though the propaganda was obviously false. The walls of the synagogue were inscribed with the names of over 80,000 Jews from that camp who died. It was overwhelming. Then, the cemetery followed, where because the cemetery ages before had been confined to the ghetto it was layered rather than expanded, making the ground level far higher than its surroundings. No pictures were allowed, out of respect for the pious nature of the site.

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