Iniciative: „Cooperation on Rescue of Neo-Gothic Tomb of A. Lederer at the New Jewish Cemetery in Prague 3“
Information about the Grant from EEA and Norway Funds
In July 2016 Jewish Community of Prague was allocated a grant of 529 980,- CZK for the iniciative „Cooperation on Rescue of Neo-Gothic Tomb of A. Lederer 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 architect 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 safe 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 character 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 university students in the field of education, science and research supported by the Jewish Community of Prague (JCP). Partner universities provide JCP expert consultancy in the issues of used technologies and procedures when rescuing neo-gothic family tomb of A. Lederer. JCP allow their partners to implement research works on the object of a tomb and also allow 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 restoring conservatory works provided on stone parts of the tomb by the students and academic specialists as a part of the educational process realized at the faculty of restoring in accredited subject Restoring and conservation of wall paintings, sculptures and architectural surfaces and the Institut for archeology, conserving and history of University in Oslo.
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.“
JCP has initiated cooperation of Czech (Univerzita Pardubice) and Norwegian university. Due to the cooperation of all three entities promotion of Jewish culture, education and experience will be transfered through joint rescue of A. Lederer´s tomb in practice. The tomb is a real tool. Main benefit of the iniciative is sharing and transfer of information within applying educational process at both universities and during it a part of cultural heritage will be rescued.
The iniciative 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. It exists over 600 years and the potential of liquidation in nearly zero.
The iniciative takes place in the programme period 2009 – 2014. The iniciative began in September 2016 and will be finished in April 2017 at the latest.
The project preparation was done in 2014 – photodocumentation, repair and restoration plan. Organizational works have been in progress continually since 2014. Works on stone parts of the tomb will start in September 2016 and will continue till the planned end of the iniciative. Three students from Norwegian university will participate. These activities will take place within the practical training: introducing JCP activities and its monument care system, introducing partner university environment, theory and practice applied on the subject of the tomb A. Lederer (expected term of a week practical training August – September 2016).
Restoring will be done under the supervision of the Monument Care Institute. The works will be of a conservatory type and will be focused on securing damaged stone parts, removing dirts and dark gypsum crusts to eliminate damage cause. Up-to-date technologies and materials will be used. When restoring the tomb both sides will use their experience to transfer their knowledge in this field.
Iniciative Progress and Photodocumentation
11.8.2016 scaffolding was erected. The works began.
During August 2016, before the beginning of the works, further research, detailed photodocumentation and graphic documentation was made. Laser test and biological cleaning tests of crusts were done. Samples for testing from vase in the central tomb part were taken. Cleaning works were started.
15. - 19.8.2016 study visit of three Norwegian university students took place. A part of their stay was spent at a Czech university sites and a part at the New Jewish Cemetery on the Lederer tomb. They attended a cemetery tour as well.
21.10.2016 a control by National Monument Care Institute took place.
From September 2016 til April 2017, all restoring works were done: chemical treatment, cleaning and washing with pressure water, cleaning dark gypsum crusts using laser, cleaning with sand method, mechanical clearing, fixing loosened parts, injection of cracks, cementing, pointing, colour retouching etc. Damaged stone fragments were transported to the university studio, repaired and placed back. There was a regular monitoring by a JCP representative.
6.4.2017 the works were finished and a final inspection was made and a control by National Monument Care Institute took place too.
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 deputy 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]