There used to be several hundred Jewish communities
in Bohemia, each of which had a synagogue or at
least a prayer house or room, and a Jewish cemetery.
Several dozen such communities existed in South
Bohemia as well, but today not a single one remains.
Most of their members died during World War II
in concentration and extermination camps, whereas
many of those who survived emigrated aft er 1948 or
1968. The South Bohemian Region also falls under
the jurisdiction of the Jewish community in Prague,
which also manages all Jewish cemeteries and several
other preserved South Bohemian Jewish heritage sites.
Another problem was that in the second half of the
19th century, many Jews migrated from the villages
to the cities. Many rural Jewish communities became
extinct and many synagogues were abandoned,
some were sold to private individuals and modifi ed for
other purposes, and others were purchased by Christian
church organizations. Since the Velvet Revolution,
some of these have been reconstructed and now serve
as museums; in South Bohemia, for example, these are
the synagogues in Bechyně, Český Krumlov, and Čkyně.
Of the fi ft y South Bohemian Jewish cemeteries, the
rarely preserved Jewish cemetery in Jindřichův Hradec
deserves particular attention; it is one of the oldest
preserved Jewish cemeteries in the Czech Republic.