Iniciative: „Cooperation on Rescue of the Decorative Metal Parts and Door of the Tomb of Family Weltsch at the New Jewish Cemetery in Prague 3“
Information about the Grant from EEA and Norway Funds
In March 2017 Jewish Community of Prague was allocated a grant of 530 000,- CZK for the iniciative „Cooperation on Rescue of the Decorative Metal Parts and Door of the Tomb of Family Weltsche at the New Jewish Cemetery in Prague 3.“, supported from sources of The Fund for Bilateral Relations at Programme Level – “B” measure within CZ 06 Programme.
Programme CZ 06 “Cultural Heritage and Contemporary Arts” supported by EEA countries Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein within Financial Mechanisms (FM 2) allows us to continue the outstanding results of the long-term promotion of Czech culture and cultural heritage using FM EEA/Norway, also known as the Norway Grants.
The Fund for Bilateral Relations at Programme Level – “B” was created to establish and foster cooperation, and to exchange, pool and transfer knowledge, technology, experience and best practices between grant beneficiaries (project researchers) and entities in donor states during project implementation.
Cultural and Historical Relations
The New Jewish Cemetery in Prague, district 3 – Žižkov is a significant and valuable cultural monument not only within Prague, but also within the Czech Republic. The biggest Jewish cemetery in the country, dated 1890 is still in use. NJC replaced the no longer usable old Žižkov cemetery in Fibichova Street. The majority of buildings are designed in neo-Renaissance style. The ceremonial hall was designed by the architekt Bedřich Münzberger. There are many gravestones of various artistic styles, many of them created by leading Czech sculptors and architects - Jan Kotěra, ]osef Zasche or Josef Fanta. The northern wall is dedicated to family graves such as Petschek and Waldes family. There is a memorial to commemorate the victims of Terezin ghetto, a memorial of victims of sunken ship Patria and a memorial of the victims of the first transports to Lodz ghetto in October 1941. The southern wall is dedicated to the memorial plates of those, who do not have graves, because they perished in concentration capms or in uknown location. At the cemetery are buried many important representatives of Jewish communities, rabbis, businessman and industrialists and also artists such as a writer Franz Kafka, poet Jiří Orten, writer Ota Pavel or director Zeno Dostál.
The New Jewish Cemetery (NJC) is the biggest cemetery in the Czech Republic in the area of 10 ha. It was found in 1890. There are 5 buildings, nearly 2000 trees and the surrounding wall is 1560 meters long. NJC is opened to the public. The entrance is free. There are 27 000 gravestones of high artistic value, many famous and important personalities of the Jewish community are buried here, such as Franz Kafka, Max Brod, Arnost Lustig, Frantisek Gottlieb etc. Many gravestones are in a very bad condition and their epitaphs are getting more and more unreadable and many of their parts are falling apart. It is well known that mangement, maintenance and documentation of historical monuments are very specific and also very expensive activities. It is neverending work and there is never enough money.
The epitaphs are valuable and important records about the history of Prague Jewish community and also about the fate of individuals, families and their relatives. Concerning small amount of written Jewish documents that survived the II. WW, the endeavour to save the gravestones shows to be even more important.
Iniciative Subject and Aim
The Jewish Community of Prague spread awareness on the Jewish culture, so this project with its educational aspect connecting and including Czech and foreign partners has also spiritual charakter, aiming to strengthen knowledge on Jewish culture in the history being so harmed. The subject of the iniciative is a bilateral cooperation of Norwegian and Czech secondary school students in the field of education supported by the Jewish Community of Prague (JCP). Partner schools Střední odborná škola uměleckořemeslná s.r.o. (Czech secondary school) and Odda vidarengaande skule (Norwegian Odd secondary school) provide JCP expert consultancy in the issues of used technologies and procedures when rescuing the decorative metal parts and the door of the family Weltsche tomb. JCP allows their partners to implement research works on the object of a tomb and also allows experts of employees and students to take a look at other interesting historic objects at the New Jewish Cemetery in Prague 3. Cooperation in this international iniciative will be put into practice via conservatory works provided on metal parts of the tomb by the students and academic specialists as a part of the educational process. The implementation of the iniciative factually follows up already approved project „Rescue of Funeral Architecture in Statically Emergency Condition in the Jewish Cemetery in Prague 3, Izraelska Street“. This new iniciative is logical continuation of realized activities and it follows directly the iniciative „EHP-CZ06-BFB-1-395-01-2016 - Cooperation on Rescue of the Decorative Raillings of Neo-Gothic Tomb of A. Lederer at the New Jewish Cemetery in Prague 3“. The planned schedule of the new iniciative seems due to great acclaim of both schools from the previous iniciative as ideal and its benefit will fulfil expectations such as know-how, information and experience transfer and all this on the international basis.
Main benefit of the iniciative is to share and transfer information within applying educational process at both secondary schools. During it a part of cultural heritage will be rescued.
The project is non-profit making and the sustainability will be paid from our own financial sources. The Jewish Community of Prague takes care of its Jewish sites systematically since 1990. This project belongs to basic and long term duties of JCP. JCP exists over 600 years and the potential of liquidation is near zero.
The project takes place in the programme period 2009 – 2014. The project began in March 2017 and will be finished in September 2017 at the latest.
The project preparation was done in 2014 – photodocumentation, repair and restoration plan. Organizational works have been in progress continualy since 2014. In 2016 tomb construction and outer stone part was repaired. Works will start in April 2017 and will continue till the planned end of the inicative.
One Norwegian student will come 15. – 26.5. He will spend a part of the stay in a partner blacksmith workroom, helping with restoration works on the tomb metal parts and the door, and a part will spend at Czech partner school. He will also visit New Jewish Cemetery. All students will use their experience to share their knowledge in this field.
Restoring will be done under the supervision of a specialist with state restoring licence.
Iniciative Progress and Photodocumentation
In 2016 all metal parts were removed. In April 2017 these metal parts were taken to the partner blacksmith workroom, where the works will begin.
The visit of the Norwegian student took place 15.–26.5.2017. A part of his stay was spent at a Czech high school site, where he got to know something about their education system and he attended few excursions. Part of the stay he spent in the the partner blacksmith workroom working on the metal parts of the Weltsche tomb. He attended a New Jewish Cemetery tour as well.
All restoring works were done. The door treatment: corrosion and dirt cleaning, chemical treatment, basic painting and final painting with herbol protektor RAL 6019 colour. Damaged small and supporting parts were newly cut into original shapes and placed back. Non-original parts were removed. The door open and close again and the lock works too.
Bronze decorative parts have unfortunately not survived all up to the present, so new were created with patina. Original parts were cleaned and treated. In August 2017 all metal tomb parts were installed back in its place. All restoring works were done using old original technological and crafts methods. There was a regular monitoring by a JCP representative.
29.8.2017 the works were finished and a final inspection was made.
31.8.2017 a control by National Monument Care Institute took place.
Project Manager is responsible for the whole project, is the head of the project team. Leads and coordinates the activities of team members. Organizes supplier tender, closing contracts with suppliers and arranging invoice conditions, communication with suppliers. It is Ms. Zuzana Berankova, phone.: 00420 226 235 211, 00420 603 305 711, email: [email protected]
Project Supervisor is responsible for the technical part of the project, is deptuty to the Project Manager – is qualified and has wide decision rights within the company, supervises project works, quality and time schedule including construction works. The Supervisor is Mr. Mojmir Maly, phone.: 00420 226 235 274, 00420 604 234 136, email: [email protected]