I was quite keen to visit the old Jewish Quarter of Prague, as my third great grandfather Moses Brandon had descended from European Jewry. Unfortunately we got our timing wrong on this one, as Saturday is the Jewish Sabbath, and it was not possible to visit any of the six synagogues or the historic old Jewish Cemetery. It was just a short walk to the Jewish Quarter from the Old Town Square, and very picturesque. We managed just a glimpse of the cemetery through the grid of a locked gate.
We briefly spotted a group of Jewish men entering the synagogue, but it was clear from some of the businesses in surrounding streets that the Jewish faith and its traditions are still observed in a small pocket of Prague. Everywhere else in the city, the motifs and statues on display indicate that Prague has for many centuries been the home of followers of the Christian faith.
This precinct was once home to Franz Kafka, who is celebrated with a stunning surrealistic bronze statue. If we ever return to Prague, we’ll be sure to get our days in order next time, as this place looks like it is well worth a visit.
According to the tourist brochures, the Jewish Quarter of Prague is the only Central European Jewish town quarter that survived the Holocaust. That’s quite surprising as Prague was Nazi-occupied during WWII.