And yet there will be Restlicht/Remains of Light!

As in many other cases the covid-19 crisis has brought changes to our plans for cultural events in Pacov this year. The highlight of which was supposed to be a temporary exhibition of an object of a canopy by the Czech-German sculptor Werner Mally.

The May launch had to be postponed and is now foreseen for May next year when it will be accompanied by a number of cultural events of which we will inform you in due course.

In the meantime we are publishing a short text explaining the concept of this original artistic object. We also include photographs of some places where Restlicht has already been exhibited including Mikulov in Moravia.

We are looking forward to welcoming you next year in May in Pacov for the launch of Restlicht!

“A baldachin, like the marriage canopy, the chuppah; a roof like the roof of a sukkah topped with branches and leaves through which the stars can be seen – these are the sacred, portable shelters that this commemorative sculpture suggests. The sky is also visible through this steel roof structure supported by four pillars. In this case not through foliage and not through fabric, but through small drilled holes. Perforated into the steel plate of the roof are the fateful years 1938 to 1945. But not just any old how, they are made to look like tattoos! Light falls through each of these holes onto the visitors standing below in the shade of the canopy. It is the way in which the light falls on the visitors like the prick of a tattoo needle that makes this place so special.”

(Excerpt from Joanne Wieland-Burston´s text entitled RESTLICHT (Zbytek svetla)

Werner Mally born in 1955 narozen in Karlovy Vary, Czechoslovakia
1980 – 84 Studied sculpture at Munich Art Academy with SirEduard Paolozzi
1984 – 85 Studied sculpture at Vienna Academy with Bruno Gironcoli
Lives and works in Munich

www.wernermally.de

Dear Friends of Tikkun Pacov Synagogue Association,

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, 

Pavel TYCHTL

He taught well, enjoyed teaching, and kept teaching even in retirement

Dr Hugo Jokl graduating from the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Vienna in 1920.
Dr Hugo Jokl graduating from the Faculty of Philosophy at the University of Vienna in 1920.

Our dad Professor Dr Hugo Jokl was born on 25th April 1891 in 207 Žižkova Street, Pacov. His father Filip (born on 18th November 1855, died on 6th January 1929 in Pacov) was the local rag-and-bone man, making the rounds of the neighbouring countryside. His mom was a homemaker. She had three boys. The oldest, Artur, became a shop assistant and later settled in Chýnov, while the middle son Richard opened a clothes store in Žižkova St, Pacov, on the site of today pharmacy. Artur and Richard married the Hermann sisters from Senožaty – Artur married Berta, and Richard, Olga.

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The synagogue in 2019 and our plans for 2020

Updated version of an article originally published by the Z mého kraje monthly in January 2020.

The Tikkun (Hebrew for repair) Pacov Synagogue Association purchased the former Pacov synagogue, located downtown behind the Crystalis bottling plant (where a small park used to be), at the very end of 2018 with funds provided by private donors and municipal aid. The NGO run by local and out-of-town people was established in order to save this important 200-year-old building within the Pacov urban heritage area from falling apart and to use the future renovated synagogue as both a reminder of our former fellow citizens who perished during the Holocaust and a meeting place/educational and cultural venue.

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Structural survey confirms poor condition of synagogue

A floor probe conducted during the structural survey.

A floor probe conducted during the structural survey.

The Brno company Průzkumy staveb conducted a structural survey of the former Pacov synagogue on 20th November 2019 as part of the preparations for an emergency action. The survey was done in order to assess overall conditions of the masonry, flooring, and roof of the synagogue as well as the composition of an additional ferroconcrete ceiling structure installed in the 1960s. A thorough inspection was necessary here and the results are valuable, although not exactly uplifting.

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History of the Pacov Jewish Community

By Karel Vošta

Originally published by the Z mého kraje monthly in September 2018.

Taxation lists dating from 1570 and a quote from a Jewish person most likely represents the first mention of a Jewish presence in Pacov. In the mid-17th century nine Jewish men, young and old, were mentioned by name but no women were included. In addition, a man “teaching children” was quoted. This documents that the growing Pacov Jewish community tried to ensure education of their religion through a teacher or rabbi and a cantor, who led the singing of religious texts in the prayer room. Often, these roles were conducted by one person. In the 19th century, the Pacov Jewish community had already built a synagogue and also a mikveh (bath), and school where children were taught in German.
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