Only three years ago in 2017, following two years of informal awareness raising to save Pacov Synagogue, Tikkun Pacov was established as a registered charity. A great deal has happened since then. First and foremost, Tikkun Pacov successfully raised the funds needed to purchase the synagogue from the previous private owner who used it for storage, and took ownership. This was followed by thorough archaeological research revealing several precious historic finds. Tikkun Pacov also had the synagogue building registered as a cultural heritage site.
This essential chapter in the life of Pacov Synagogue could never have happened without the engagement and commitment of the Executive Board of Tikkun Pacov – Daniela Orlando, Zuzana Krulichova and Leona Stejskalova. A big thank you for their courage in embarking on an adventure into the unknown, and for leading the way on the path to a better future for Pacov Synagogue.
The Executive Board membership changed in August 2020, with myself as the new chair, Karen Koblitz whose great-great-grandparents are from Pacov and who lives in California, as deputy chair, and Eva Sobotka, an expert in Holocaust remembrance and human rights, as the third member of the Executive Board.
So, where do we go from here? Firstly, we have to advance with the much-needed renovation of Pacov Synagogue. This depends on available funding. Applications have been submitted to Norway Grants and the Czech-German Future Fund, with the outcome foreseen by end 2020. Many thanks to Michal Arend, chair of Cernovice Jewish Memorial Association, for his support and drafting skills. If successful, we will start the renovation work in 2021.
As for my motivation, my ancestors were farmers from the Pacov area, and experienced all the upheavals of modern Czech history, including confiscation of their property and expulsion in the case of my great-grandfather. We do not have Jewish roots but I was always passionate about local history, including the history of our Jewish neighbours. My relatives still remember the empty seats at school when their Jewish classmates were deported during the Nazi occupation. Hardly anyone survived.
I have always believed in the moral obligation to keep the memory of our Jewish neighbours alive, so they don’t die twice, and are not erased from local history. This is why I became involved with Pacov Synagogue.
It is my hope that more and more people will support us in different ways. We can accomplish our dream only with the help of the entire community. We need to heal the wounds and step in as a compassionate community with the right moral compass.
I look forward to working with the members of Tikkun Pacov Synagogue Association and with everyone who is interested and willing to support our efforts.
Lest we forget,