NAMES/SPELLINGS: Ckyn, Czkyn, Kieselhof,
HISTORY*: Chartered in 1537. The earliest known Jewish community in this town was perhaps 17th century, recorded in the 1724 census. A small Jewish community (about 10 families) existed in the 18th century growing to about 40 families (140-240 persons) in the 19th century. As the population moved to larger cities, the seat of the congregation moved from Čkyně to Vimperk. Only 3 Jewish families (11 persons) lived in Čkyně in 1930. The present town population is 1,000 - 5,000 with none Jews.
"From the Jewish History of Čkyně"
An enlightening account of a 2000 visit to Čkyně in
"A Visit to Bohemia" - by Alexander Woodle
Click on map above to see the rest of an 1874 regional map
RESIDENTS AND DESCENDANTS: The grandfather
of Henry Horner, governor of the State of
Illinois, came from Čkyně. Čkyně is the
native town of Alois Zucker (b. 1842 Čkyně, d.
1906 Prague), a famous attorney and dean of the
Prague Faculty of Law, member of the Czech Academy
of Sciences and Arts, the first president of the
National Union of Czech Jews (founded in
1894). Rabbi Mathes (Mendel) Bloch (b. 1778)
was the rabbi and mohel in Čkyně in the early 19th
century. His granddaughter, Rosalia Feitler
geb. Bloch (b. 1852 Čkyně, d. 1921 Vienna), moved
to Cesky Budejovice (Budweis) and later
Vienna. She was the maternal grandmother of
(and a negative influence on) the composer Eric Zeisl (b.
1905 Vienna, d. 1959 Los Angeles). Eric
Zeisl's grandson, E. Randol
Schoenberg, is a moderator of Jewishgen's Austria-Czech
SIG and the submitter of this
(photo at right): The Čkyně
in the southern part of town, between the main
road and the railway station, house No. 105.
Built in the Empire style in 1828, regular
services held until 1895, occasional services
until World War I. The synagogue was sold in
1922 and later converted into a workshop.
The cemetery is 500m SE of the synagogue, near the road to Hradcany. The oldest preserved tombstone dates from 1688, burials until 1942. The total of about 500 burials. Remarkable baroque tombstones. The cemetery has been repaired recently, as the result of an appeal. The type of Jewish community which used this cemetery was Conservative. Vimperk (German: Winterberg) 8 km used this cemetery. The cemetery is listed and/or protected as a landmark or monument. The cemetery location is rural (agricultural), on a hillside, isolated, marked by inscriptions on pre-burial house (Czech; small rest of Hebrew inscriptions.). The marker mentioned Czech information about Jews, the Holocaust, the Jewish Community. It is reached by turning directly off a public road. It is open to all. The cemetery is surrounded by a continuous masonry wall (photo of entrance, below). There is a gate that does not lock. The approximate size of cemetery before WWII and now is 0.1849 ha hectares. There are 100-500 stones, most in their original locations. The cemetery has special section for children. Stones are datable from 1688 to 20th century. The cemetery has tombstones and memorial markers made of marble, granite, limestone and sandstone. The cemetery contains tombstones that are flat shaped stones, finely smoothed and inscribed stones, flat stones with carved relief decoration, multi-stone monuments and obelisks. The cemetery has tombstones portraits on stones and metal fences around graves. Inscriptions on tombstones are in Hebrew, German and Czech. The cemetery contains no known mass graves. Within the limits of the there is a pre-burial house. The pre-burial house has a tahara (board for tahara, meanwhile deposited in museum in Volyne), wall inscriptions and other distinctive features (bier). The present owner of the cemetery property is the local Jewish community (Praha). The cemetery property is now used for Jewish cemetery use only. Properties adjacent to it are agricultural. The cemetery boundaries has not changed since 1939. The cemetery is visited frequently by organized Jewish group tours or pilgrimage groups, private visitors and local residents. The cemetery has been vandalized occasionally, between 1981-91 and between 1945 and 1981. No maintenance has been done. The work was done by local non-Jewish residents, individuals or groups of non-Jewish origin, local/municipal authorities and regional/national authorities. Restoration was done in 1982-1992 with vandalism afterward. Now there is regular caretaker. The caretaker is paid by the Jewish congregation of Prague. There is a slight threat due to uncontrolled access, vegetation and vandalism.
CONTACTS: Town officials: Obecni urad, 384 81 Čkyně, 0339/921-70 or 922-13; and mayor: Jan Zloch, home: 384 81 Čkyně 255, tel. 0339/923-67. Regional officials: Okresni urad, referat kultury (head: Ms Sarka Fidlerova), 383 01 Prachatice, tel. 0338/223-61 or 228-61; and Pamatkovy ustav jiznich Cech (Marie Bartyzalova), namesti Premysla Otakara 34, 370 21 Ceske Budejovice, tel. 038/237-92; and Zidovska nab.obec v Praze, Maislova 18, 110, 01 Praha 1, tel. 02/231-69-25. Interested parties: Okresni muzeum, Horni 13, 383, 01 Prachatice, te. 0338/216-52; and Statmi Zidovske muzeum, Jachymova 3, 110 01 Praha 1, tel. 02/231-06-34 0r 231-07-85; and PhDr. Jan Podlesak (see below). Caretaker: PhDr. Jan Podlesak, Bezdrevska 1021/8, 370 11 Ceske Budejovice, tel. office 038/371-41, office: Jihoceska Univerzita pedagogicka fakulta, 370 01 Ceske Budejovice; or Bosice 46 384 81 Čkyně.
SOURCES: Die Juden und Judengemeinden Bohmens, Hugo Gold ed. (1934), pp: ; Jiri Fiedler, Jewish Sights of Bohemia and Moravia (1991), pp. 58-59 (photo); International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies Cemetery Project, Czech Republic, Čkyně; Petr Ehl, Arno Parik, Jiri Fiedler, Old Bohemian and Moravian Jewish Cemeteries (1991), p. 84 (photo).