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Prague tourist revamp reveals Jewish gravestones used to pave streets

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Published: 8 May 2020

Last updated: 4 March 2024

Find confirms speculation communist regime raided synagogues for building materials

DOZENS OF PAVING STONES made from Jewish headstones have been found during redevelopment work in Prague’s tourist district, confirming speculation that the former communist regime raided synagogues and graveyards for building materials.

Tuesday’s discovery came in the opening phase of a £10.6m facelift project in the city’s landmark Wenceslas Square, scene of the some of the Czech Republic’s most dramatic historic events and a frequent site of political protest.

Rabbi Chaim Kočí, a senior official with the Prague rabbinate, witnessed workers unearthing cobblestones whose undersides revealed Hebrew lettering, the star of David and deceased dates. Other stones were blank but had polished surfaces that indicated they had also been taken from cemeteries.

Jewish leaders hailed the unearthing as proof of long-held suspicions that the communist authorities – who ruled the former Czechoslovakia for more than four decades during the cold war – had taken stonework from Jewish burial sites for a much-vaunted pedestrianisation of Wenceslas Square during the 1980s.

FULL STORY Prague revamp reveals Jewish gravestones used to pave streets (Guardian)

Photo: Some of the headstones dug up in Wenceslas Square (Robert Tait/The Guardian)

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