Krakow and Prague Jewish Quarters

Many European cities once had historical Jewish quarter and some still have it. We visited two Jewish quarters one Kraków Poland and one Prague Czech Republic.      

From the Jewish point of view, concentration of Jews within a limited area offered a level of protection from outside influences. When political authorities designated an area where Jews were required by law to live, such areas were commonly referred to as ghettos  were progressively abolished, however during WWII Nazi Germany reestablished them for the purpose of segregation and persecution. Tens of thousands of Jews lived in the quarters prior to WWII, today Krakow has 100 Jewish members and Prague has nearly 2000. 

Today, Krakow honors the memory of these people by looking at the 33 monumental chairs and 37 regular chairs made from iron and bronze lined up in rows to symbolize the tragic death and the empty seats that the residents of the ghetto left behind.Prague has Europes oldest active synagogue also the oldest surviving medieval synagogue of twin-nave design.  The Old Jewish Cemetery is among the oldest surviving Jewish burial grounds in the world founded, in 15th century. So many people wished to be buried within the sacred space they were buried on top of each other, up to 12 people high and requiring a headstone for each burial. There are about 12,000 tombstones in the cemetery, many decorated with animal and plant motifs.