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Synagogue Český Krumlov

Synagogue Český Krumlov, foto Ing. Libor Sváček

Za Soudem 282
38101 Český Krumlov
Contact: Helena Plachtová, Vlašský dvůr, s.r.o.

Telephone: +420 737 378 336


Location: Český Krumlov
Type: Monuments

Location on the map

Built in Nouveau-Romanesque style in 1909 by the local Jewish community, the Cesky Krumlov Synagogue features an eight-sided tower with Torah-shaped windows.

In 1945 it was used as an non-denominational Christian church for the American soldiers. A symbol of the U.S. Army preserved on a wall of the prayer hall serves as a reminder of this. From 1945 - 1968 the synagogue was used by the Czechoslovakian Hussite Church.

Accessibility by road:
In the southern suburb of Plešivec on Linecká street.

Cafe Synagoga

Synagoga Café & Bistrot

The former apartment of the Rabbi with carefully restored wall paintings is now a location of Cafe Synagoga. It is a cozy café with garden catering to both individual visitors and to all events taking place in the synagogue. It offers a fresh concept of service and many noble beverages and dishes. The Synagogue garden offers a kids´ corner and BBQ area.

Possibilities: Possibility of EUR payment

History of the Jews in Český Krumlov


The first written record of a small number of Jewish families living in the area goes back to the turn of the 14th century. Under the rule of John of Luxembourg and his heir, Charles the IV, no more than four to six families could live in the Rožmberk kingdom, and never within the city walls. In 1494, the situation for the Jews worsened, and they were expelled from all settled areas in the vicinity. A few hundred years passed, and at the end of the 18th century, with the religious reforms of Josef II, the first Jewish family moved into town. At the turn of the 20th century, Český Krumlov’s Jewish population began to flourish, due to job opportunities offered by the nearby Spiro paper mill in Větřní.

A Brief History of the Český Krumlov Synagogue

.. Český Krumlov, photo Josef Seidel

In 1908, Ludwig Spiro, one-time rabbinical student and successful Jewish paper mill owner, along with a group of other successful Jewish businessmen, funded the building of Český Krumlov’s Nouveau-Romanesque Synagogue. In 1909, building was completed, and for the next thirty years, the once small Jewish community doubled in size.

Built to face the direction of Jerusalem, with deep azure arched ceilings and colourful windows decorated with the Star of David, the synagogue must have been a remarkable sight. Directly outside, a beautifully landscaped park and Sukkoth hut beckoned. The acoustics of the synagogue came alive at Shabbat and other religious holidays. When there was a theatre production on, a perfectly tuned harmonium accompanied the accomplished chorus singers and their choir master.

In 1938, the Sudeten German movement and Nazi politics invaded the peaceful town and the lives of its inhabitants. Nazis confiscated the precious decorations from the synagogue, which was miraculously spared from conflagration or destruction, and converted it into a Hitler’s Youth Club. Most of the Český Krumlov Jews were sent to Terezín and other concentration camps. At the end of the Second World War, American soldiers took refuge here, using it as an interdenominational church. Later, the Czech Order of Hussites used the synagogue as their church. After Russian tanks rolled into Prague in 1968, the synagogue became a storage room, eventually housing a repository for the Český Krumlov Baroque Theatre’s wooden painted sceneries until the1980s.

In the early 1990s, a rich Israeli woman came to Český Krumlov, announcing that she wanted to see the interior of the synagogue, promising to invest some of her capital towards its repair. The Town Hall provided her keys, but she never returned them, leaving instead huge holes in the wall as a reminder of her visit. The secret caches she opened probably held Torah, jewels, or religious artefacts, but their actual contents will remain forever a mystery. Today, the synagogue continues to dilapidate, and until only recently provided a residence to squatters and drug-users.

In 1997, Český Krumlov returned the Synagogue to its rightful owner, the Jewish Community of Prague, who oversees the operation and upkeep of all Jewish sites in the Czech Republic. The Jewish Community of Prague quickly recognized that a partnership with the Český Krumlov Development Fund (an independent entity owned by the Town of Český Krumlov), with its sound economical plans for renovation would bring life back to a quickly deteriorating house of worship.