Clean-up work underway to restore Jewish Quarter

Old-New Synagogue, photo: CTK

One of the areas badly hit by last week's flooding in Prague was Josefov, the capital city's famous historic Jewish Quarter, visited by countless tourists every year. Momentarily dozens of volunteers are helping to clean-up the damages and restoration work is underway. Dita Asiedu spoke to Leo Pavlat, the director of the Jewish Museum:

Old-New Synagogue, photo: CTK
"Unfortunately, some important parts of the Jewish Prague were damaged by underground water, which especially caused damages in the Pinkas Synagogue, where are the names of the victims of the holocaust. About 1.5 m of water covered the wall. Supplies were sent to the Old-New Synagogue and other synagogues were also flooded by underground water. Unfortunately, the whole infrastructure in the main building of the Jewish Museum was flooded as well. The heating, air-conditioning and electricity were all destroyed so it may cause some problems in the future because our depositories of books are without air-conditioning now and they shouldn't be in this state for several weeks. I should add that none of our original objects or our exhibits were damaged by the water. We managed to put all of the exhibits out of the reach of water before it started."

And how much is the damage on buildings, especially on their structures?

"It is very difficult to assume because the dehumidification will take some time and we are very anxious about the winter because it may create new problems and of course there are also problems with the foundation in the Pinkas Synagogue, which was also damaged by the water. It will take some time to assess the damage and take the measures to save all these monuments of Jewish Prague."

The majority of tourists who come to Prague are especially interested in visiting the Jewish Quarter. Are you getting support from international organisations?

"There are many people abroad, especially representatives of Jewish organisations, who approach us and are ready to offer their help, also in financial means. Of course, we welcome it and we are very enthusiastic about it. On the other hand, we would like to open as soon as possible and I'd like to hope that we will be able to open our exhibition, except for the Pinkas Synagogue, by the end of September."