Visit to Kojetin, Czech Republic
(by Regina Pick and Amos K. Pick)
During August 2001 my wife and I made a trip to the town of Kojetin in Central Moravia in the Czech Republic. We had a special interest to travel there:
Our predecessors, the Steiner family, had been living there for a long time period - until 1900. Number of tombstones with name Steiner was found in local Jewish cemetery, heavily damaged. The Jewish community of near situated city of Olomouc and some Steiners in Israel managed to renovate some of the graves with the help of local authorities and craftsmen, thus I wanted to see what has come out. We spent two heart touching days in the town, hosted and accompanied by Mrs. and Mr. Bohous Kucharik, local family. This great couple took us everywhere we wanted to go and to look. We saw the renovated tombstones in the cemetery; we walked through the former Jewish quarter/ghetto and visited the local synagogue.
We were assisted not only by the Kuchariks, but also by the Vice Mayor of Kojetin, Mr Jiri Sirek and other fine people: Msgr. Dobromil Maly and Dr. Frantisek Rezac. Msgr. Maly is the head of the local Congregation of the Evangelist - Hussite - Church, which uses today the former synagogue as a gathering place. Our impression, based of what we saw, is that the town of Kojetin and the Hussite Congregation very well respect the Jewish past of their House of Lord as it is reflected by how they treat with honor all what remained since then (furniture, etc.).
Dr. F. Rezac is deeply involved in all cultural, educational and traditional aspects of the locality and the Hana region, where the town of Kojetin is located. We were shown the fine renovated Municipality building by the Vice Mayor and also got complete explanations on general and Jewish community history.
We have also been told that the Municipality has intentions to establish within the local museum a department, a section or a branch dedicated to the Jewish community, which was a part of Kojetin for hundreds of years and ceased to exist in June 1942. We will be honored to take part in this deed and we will look for others, who will help in filling the “Jewish Corner” with an appropriate content.
It must be fully emphasized that we were stimulated for this Israel - Kojetin - Jewish World matters by Mr. Avraham Steiner, my younger, close and distant relative (but we do not have many) who lives in Jerusalem, Israel and teaches there.
In the office of Mayor of Kojetin. On the wall Vaclav Havel, the Czech President. From the left: Dr. F. Rezac, Mr. B. Kucharik, Msgr. D. Maly.I
Mrs. Regina Pick and the Vice Mayor Mr. Jiri Sirek with the Standard of Kojetin.
Town of Kojetin Municipality Building was renovated after being badly damaged by a fire in 1995. Its bell tower is not erected over the main entrance as it usually should be, but in a somewhat strange manner it is moved aside.
Husova St. - formerly Jewish St. - in the Kojetin Jewish Quarter
Memorial Board on the Synagogue of Kojetin. Citations from Psalms (116.13). Under the Star of David it says: “To the memory of Jewish citizens, who had lived in these places for hundreds of years and have been deported in June 1942 to concentration camps. Town of Kojetin, 1992”.