Historie – Otázky – Problémy

Development Changes of the Jewish Community and Ghetto in Velké Meziříčí


Abstract: The study discusses history of the Jewish population and community in the town of Velké Meziříčí. It describes and analyses factors that influenced the destinies of the Jews living in the Moravian Margraviate, one of the lands of the Crown of Bohemia, in early modern times. This paper traces the development changes in the Jewish community in Velké Meziříčí starting from the time the first Jews settled in the town. Special attention is paid to basic features of the community, the ghetto and its functioning. The first mentions of Jews in Velké Meziříčí date back to 1518 as an entry in the Municipal Book confirms. However, the arrival and first settlements of Jews in Velké Meziříčí were first described in a book of newly received citizens in 1611. The Jewish community in Velké Meziríčí did not display cultural attributes of a specific religious subculture or an autonomous community until mid-17th century. The sharpest population growth occurred at the beginning of the 1650s, which is when the Jews from Velké Meziříčí formed a mid-sized community and they were the second largest Jewish community in the territory of today known as the Jihlava District after Třebíč. This is the reason why the historical part of this study focuses particularly on 17th–19th century, which is the period when the Jewish community flourished and it also merged with the town and together they formed an independent and unique political entity. This study aims to contribute to more profound understanding of a particular Jewish community in Moravia from cultural-historical and anthropological perspective.

Keywords: Jews; Velké Meziříčí; Diaspora; Moravian Margraviate; Jewish Community; Ghetto

PhDr. Barbora Půtová, PhD., působí jako historička umění a etnoložka na Filozofické fakultě Univerzity Karlovy v Praze. Předmětem jejího vědeckovýzkumného zájmu je antropologie umění a mladopaleolitické, neolitické a moderní umění ( barbora.putova@ff.cuni.cz).

PhDr. Václav Soukup, CSc., působí jako etnolog a antropolog na Filozofické fakultě Univerzity Karlovy v Praze. Věnuje se především teorii kultury, paleoantropologii a dějinám antropologického myšlení ( vaclav.soukup@ff.cuni.cz).