For more than a quarter of a century, people have unknowingly stepped on tombstones from Jewish cemeteries. From Wednesday, the gravestones were at least symbolically restored to their dignity and a memorial was created from them, which is located at the Jewish cemetery in Žižkov.
The unveiling of the Return of the Stones monument, created from Jewish gravestones, which for decades formed the pavement in the lower part of Wenceslas Square.
| Photo: Deník/Radek Cihla
For many years, the Jewish community in Prague drew attention to the suspicious origin of the pavement in the lower part of Wenceslas Square. Significant clues indicated that the paving stones used under the previous regime to pave the square were made from cut up cemetery tombstones.
At the end of totalitarianism, mafia groups around the godfather František Mrázek were also involved in the illegal trade in stones.
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During the reconstruction of the lower part of Wenceslas Square in 2020, the cut tombstones were indeed found, and there were quite a few of them. Six thousand cubes with a total weight of seven tons have been discovered so far.
The municipality previously stated that the cubes probably come from cut tombstones from the Jewish cemetery in Údlice in Chomutovska or other Jewish cemeteries.
Source: Diary/Radek Cihla
Thanks to the memorandum that the Technical Communications Administration (TSK), which is in charge of the work, signed with the Jewish community, it was possible to return the paving stones from the tombstones.
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The Jewish community in Prague did not want to leave the remains of the found gravestones lying somewhere in a warehouse, and therefore decided to build a memorial called the Return of the Stones, which was created by Lucie and Jaroslav Rón.
Funding for the establishment also comes from donations. “We are also asking those of you who care that the stones, as witnesses of past injustices, receive the lost piety. Therefore, we are asking you to contribute to the reverent correction of past crimes,” urged the chairman of the Jewish community, František Bányai. And successfully.
The monument is not and will never be completely finished. It was designed as a horizontal circular lens from which low walls of unequal height will radiate into the circle like sun rays. The central circular lens symbolizes the Creator as the central mover.
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