Old Jewish Cemetery
Tombstones in the Old
Jewish Cemetery in Prague
One of the most impressive sights in
Prague is the Old Jewish cemetery in Josefov, the former Jewish
ghetto. This cemetery was used from 1439 to 1787 and it is the
oldest existing Jewish cemetery in Europe. The Nazis made it
a policy to destroy Jewish cemeteries, sometimes using the tombstones
for target practice, but Hitler ordered that this cemetery be
left intact, since he was planning to build a Jewish museum in
Prague after all the Jews in Europe had been exterminated according
to his diabolical plan.
There are more than 100,000 Jews buried
in this small plot, the graves being layered 12 deep in some
places. This is not unusual for European cemeteries where space
is at a premium. In Germany where the graves are also 12 layers
deep, the tombstones mark only the top layer of the buried coffins.
In the Old Jewish Cemetery in Josefov, there are around 12,000
tombstones, crowded closely together with almost no grass between
them. Some of the tombstones look like beds, like the one on
the left in the photograph below.
Some of the tombstones
in the Old Cemetery look like beds