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Memorial plaque to Holocaust victims unveiled in Kutná Hora, Czech Republic

Kutná Hora, 10.3.2012 16:54, (ROMEA)

A memorial plaque to the victims of the Holocaust was ceremonially unveiled yesterday in Kutná Hora, Czech Republic at the former synagogue in Smíškova street. Residents of the town who were deported to Terezín (Theresienstadt) and other death camps are also commemorated by a monument previously erected in front of the Kutná Hora synagogue.

"The plaque was the idea of Mr Marek Lauermann, a young person who is a descendant of a Jewish family that was one of the few from Kutná Hora who partially survived the Holocaust. Marek has long been active in this area, he has released several publications, and he had this memorial plaque designed with our cooperation," Mayor Ivo Šanc said.

Town representatives have also decided to grant honorary citizenship to Dagmar Lieblová, a native of Kutná Hora who is the co-founder and longtime chair of the Terezín Initiative. The mission of that international organization is to ensure all-around care for former concentration camp prisoners and persons persecuted by Nazism.

Lieblová is a survivor of the Nazi genocide of the Jews. As a child she was imprisoned in several of the most horrific Nazi death camps, losing her entire family at Auschwitz. For her exceptional public activity and lecturing to make sure the memory of the Holocaust is preserved, Czech President Václav Klaus conferred the Order of Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk on her last year for her service to the development of democracy and human rights.

The Culture to the Town (Kultura do města) association in Kutná Hora has long been involved in preserving the history of the small Jewish community there, which has almost vanished from the memory of its residents. The association organized events as part of the Year of Jewish Culture and published the book "Jews in the Kutná Hora Area - Forgotten Neighbors" (Židé na Kutnohorsku - Zapomenutí sousedé).

The synagogue in Kutná Hora was built at the start of the 20th century in the Secession style, replacing an older house of worship erected there in 1881. During the 1940s it was used as a workshop for the production of pipe organs and then by the choir of the Czechoslovak Hussite church as a rehearsal space. The original decor was removed during repairs made to the building in the 1950s.

ČTK, Gwendolyn Albert, Czech Press Agency, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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