Czech Republic

Historical Background

Jews in Prague before their deportationJews in Prague before their deportation

In the 1930’s the Jewish community in Prague was flourishing. The community numbered around 35,000 Jews. Following Hilter’s rise to power, many refugees from Germany arrived in Prague, increasing the Jewish population to about 56,000. After the German invasion in March 1939, the Western regions of Czechoslovakia – Bohemia and Moravia – became a German protectorate. Between October 1941 and March 1945 46,067 Jews were deported from Prague mostly to Theresienstadt – a ghetto where Czech Jews were concentrated. For most of these Jews, however, Theresienstadt was only a transit camp and from there they were transported to their death in Auschwitz. After the war, some 5,000 Jews of Prague returned from the camps; another 227 had managed to evade deportation and had been living underground.