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November 16, 2018
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Holocaust memorial in Czech town will bloom with yellow crocuses in the spring

17.10.2018 10:44
The Czech town of Valašské Meziříčí.
The Czech town of Valašské Meziříčí.

Almost 4 000 yellow crocuses will bloom in the spring at the memorial to the Holocaust on Vodní Street in Valašské Meziříčí (Vsetín district). An important Jewish community once resided there prior to the Second World War.

The flowers will symbolize the yellow Stars of David that Jewish people were forced to wear and will honor the memory of Holocaust victims, local authority spokesperson Renata Votrubová informed the Czech News Agency in a press release. The crocus bulbs have been planted near the memorial by the municipality, the Freedom Fighters' Union (Svaz bojovníků za svobodu), the Jewish Community, the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Church, senior citizens, and pupils from the Křižná Primary School.

The event is part of a Czech Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs competition for the most "Family and Senior-Friendly Community" (Obec přátelská rodině a seniorům). "It occurred to me that it would be nice, as part of our intergenerational collaborations, to bring together children from local nursery and primary schools with senior citizens. Our project for a Senior-Friendly Community includes three events. The first was planting bushes with edible berries at the children's playground on Vodní Street. The second activity is planting yellow crocuses in the shape of the Star of David. The third event will happen in November, and that will be the planting of 12 fruit trees near the Seniorpark," said Vice-Mayor Yvona Wojaczková (ANO).

The crocus planting was attended by Holocaust survivor Michaela Vidláková. "Above all, this is especially symbolic to me because the very old and the very young have gathered together here. That was the group of people who were first condemned to death during the selections at Auschwitz. Right now, in October, 16 October 1941 to be exact, the first mass transports to Auschwitz began, going first to the internment camps, then to the ghettos, and then from there, for most people, there was no return," she said.

The Jewish community prior to the Second World War was significant in Valašské Meziříčí. When a synagogue functioned there, 4 % of the local population identified themselves as following the Jewish religion.

Local Jewish residents also contributed to developing the town. The Reich family established the tradition of glass-blowing there, while the Kohn family established a factory for bentwood furniture.

ČTK, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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