10 Stars - new museum to remember Jewish life in Czech towns
A unique new museum is due to open in the Czech Republic next autumn – rather ten museums in one, spread out in ten towns and cities across the country. Called ’10 Stars’, the museum will be housed in synagogues and will tell the story of local Jewish communities which all but vanished in the Holocaust.
In total 15 buildings – 10 synagogues and a handful of former rabbi’s houses and Jewish schools – are currently being renovated ahead of the museum’s launch next October. It’s being financed by a European Union programme with some funds provided by the Culture Ministry. Jan Kindermann is the project’s co-ordinator.
“The programme is about breathing life into historical monuments. Each of the ten synagogues we’ve chosen once served as the centre of the local Jewish community. Though obviously thanks to the Holocaust those communities – with the exception of Plzen – no longer exist. Wherever possible we’ve also chosen other locations as well as synagogues – former rabbi’s houses, Jewish schools and so on.”
As well as saving these monuments from the elements and building a home for a new museum, the project will also create new venues for educational and cultural events in towns where Jews were once very much part of local life. Jan Kindermann says there’s still a great deal of amongst Czechs in the country’s Jewish past.
“In general there’s a lot of interest in Jewish culture within Czech society, even if the great boom in interest that started in the early 1990s is beginning to fade away now. That’s only natural – in the early 90s it was something new, something that had been kept well under wraps during the communist era. But in any event I think Jewish culture remains a source of inspiration and enrichment for Czech society and I think a lot of people are interested in it.”