Pacov synagogue – overview of activities in the last year

Those of you who have been following the efforts to restore Pacov synagogue may be curious to know the latest news. 

First of all, we would like to send our sincere thanks to everyone who made a donation. Financial contributions of any size are crucial to our success. Even though we have applied for a number of grants, there are certain costs that cannot be covered by grants. Even when our grant applications are successful, we need to provide co-funding. Once again – many thanks! Your help is essential and always appreciated.

We would also like to express our gratitude to the city of Pacov, which has been supporting us over the years. With our joint efforts, we look forward to the renovation of an important component of Pacov’s cultural and historical heritage. 

As for many others, last year was a special one for us. The bad news is that we had to cancel some cultural activities, especially the “Restlicht/Remnant of Light” public installation by Czech-German sculptor Werner Mally, whose spouse Michaela Králová has family roots in Pacov. Similarly, we were not able to hold the open doors event on the occasion of Jewish Heritage Day in August last year. 

However, last year also brought some very good news representing a real turning point for Jewish heritage in Pacov and in particular the synagogue. At the beginning of the year, the synagogue was recognized as a cultural heritage site by the Czech Ministry of Culture. Future visitors to the synagogue will see an official plaque testifying this next to the entrance of the synagogue. During the course of the year we submitted all the necessary paperwork and received the building permit for the renovation of the synagogue. At the very end of year we heard that our grant application to the Czech-German Future Fund was successful. This grant application covers the renovation of the roof of the synagogue, and we will be able to commence this phase of renovation in the spring. We should also receive feedback on our grant application submitted to the Norway Fund at the beginning of the year.

We are also very excited that following negotiations with the Prague Jewish Community we have just purchased the former rabbi’s house and Jewish school at Malovcova street, which was also used as a ‘winter synagogue’. This important Jewish heritage site will now receive appropriate attention, and we foresee its piecemeal renovation and conversion into a cultural and educational space. This was the home of the last surviving member of Pacov Jewish community from before the Second World War – Nelly Guttmann, whose visit to Pacov in 2017 some of you might remember. She was very moved to hear the news in Israel, and urged us to renovate the matzo oven, which we intend to do. As the daughter of the last rabbi, Nelly grew up in the rabbi’s house and this was where she started her journey to Theresienstadt Jewish ghetto and later to Auschwitz-Birkenau and Bergen-Belsen. She was the only survivor from her family at the end of the war. This year she celebrates her wonderful 95th birthday.  

We have also made some changes to the composition of the board of Tikkun Pacov and welcomed some new members. We are very happy to see that this testifies to the fact that the synagogue continues to attract new audiences.

If the Covid-19 pandemic allows, we will open the rabbi’s house and the synagogue to the public on the Czech Day of Jewish Heritage in August. We plan to join forces with our colleagues from the Jewish Memorial Černovice, so that visitors in Pacov can learn more about the interesting history and activities in nearby Černovice. 

We look forward to seeing you in person this year if possible, and we look forward to accomplishing the first step in the renovation of Pacov synagogue, that of its historical roof.

Pavel Tychtl, Chair of Tikkun Pacov