The following information has been generously collated and shared by Daniela Torsh and is correct at the date of publication (JUL 2016). If you find any errors, broken links or information that is no longer current please contact the AJGS webmaster.
PLEASE NOTE: Links to external websites will open them in a new window.
CZECH NATIONAL ARCHIVES
Chodovec in the Prague 4 district is where the new National Archives building can be found. Adjacent are two other important archives, the Prague City Archive and the Prague Regional Archive.
To get access to the archive, email or call ahead and make an appointment if you want to meet an archivist or use their reading room or reference library. The research room is open Mondays and Wednesdays 9am to 6pm and Tuesdays and Thursdays 9am to 4pm. Closed last Friday of every month. You must take ID with you, preferably your passport, as security is strict. They have a reading room and library.
Praha 4- Chodovec
Way to the Archives using public transport:
The best way is to go by underground – red line “C” – to the station “Opatov”, here change to bus number 213 (goes all day long) or bus number 260 (goes only part of the day). The nearest bus stop to the Archives is “Chodovec”.
There are some publications for sale at the front counter of the Archives including a useful two part street register which shows how street names have changed over the years and includes historical background on the street names. This is also where one can purchase copies of the 1793 and 1783 censuses. (The titles can be found on the website under publications).
The CNA have another important building in Prague 6 in the suburb of Dejvice near Prague castle.
The research room of the 1st department in Prague 6 – Dejvice
Address: Milady Horákové 133, Praha 6 – Dejvice
BIRTHS, MARRIAGES & DEATHS
Births, marriages and deaths are now available online www.badatelna.eu
The Czech National Archive has a lot of background information about these records on its website (in English) and there is also another important collection of Prague Jewish records on the website front page.
All the Jewish births, deaths and marriages records for the last few hundred years are kept by the First Department of the National Archives in Dejvice. They have collected over 3,000 Matriky- the record books of each Jewish Community in Bohemia and Moravia. These original documents were initially collected by the Nazis and then liberated in 1945 by the Communists. Their library call sign is HBMa.
The director (as at July 2016) Dr Matušiková is a trained historian and archivist and is able to find records and provide copies if you write to her or email a request. The records have been microfilmed now to preserve them. Some records were destroyed by the Nazis, some under Communism so regrettably there are gaps in the records. Dr Matušiková has created an index book which shows the years for which records are held at the archives for each town and city in the Czech Republic. This unpublished index is held in the Reading Room so you can see which of the HBMa collection you want.
Entry to the archive can only be gained by contacting Dr Matušiková ahead of time. Her email address is: Lenka.firstname.lastname@example.org If you want to use the reading room you have to take your passport as security is strict.
This archive is open to public Monday to Thursdays from 9am to 6pm and Fridays 9am to 2pm. It’s closed on the last Friday of every month.
Way to the Archives using public transport:
Best to go by underground line green “A” (station Hrad?anská) or by tram number 1,8,15,18,25,26 (station Hrad?anská).
NB the Czech BDM records are NOT available through the Mormon film records so the Czech National Archives is the ONLY place to get them from though some local and regional archives also have copies of limited numbers of vital records as well as other records.
POLICE RECORDS – PRAGUE 1850-1914
English website: http://www.nacr.cz/en/fondy-a-pomucky/digitalni-badatelna/konskripce/.
The CNA hold the household registration records for Prague and some regional areas as well. Recently the so called “conscription” records- what we would call household registration -have begun to be digitised and so can be searched on line. They are asking for donations to make this work faster. Some of you may wish to contribute. If so the details are on the website.
Family and individual registration i.e. where one lived are shown in a table of police records for Prague (some areas only, it is not comprehensive for all of Prague) 1850-1914. They are adding names all the time.
You can search on family name, first name and or year of birth. The records give head of household, wife with maiden name, children and other relatives who lived at the same address, date of registration, number of house, occupation of man, year and place of birth, religion, deaths in family, marriages, (NB conscription means something different in this context, nothing to do with army service. It means the registration form.)
At the time of writing there are 1.3 million entries that have been digitised. They are at the back end of the alphabet so not long before they will have completed this work.
CITY OF PRAGUE ARCHIVES
In Czech they are called: “Archiv hlavniho mesta Prahy”
These are co-located with the CNA at Chodovec but are in the smaller building behind the National Archives. The City Archives have good reference materials like city business directories and Year Books from the 1800’s through to the WW2. They also hold school records for Prague schools- “tridni katalog” in Czech. Plural = “tridni katalogy”.
The same advice applies as for the CNA, take ID and make an appointment ahead of time. Check opening hours before you go. The directions to get there are the same as for the National Archives.
PRAGUE REGIONAL ARCHIVES
These are found in the building adjacent to the CNA at Chodovec. Same access rules as above two archives. These archives hold files on businesses, Aryanisation during WW2 of Jewish businesses, personal files and much more.
Contact: Statni oblastni archiv v Praze
149 01, Praha 4
Local and regional Czech archives are also very worthwhile checking for census records, domicile records, school records. In Moravia the usual rule is that the reading rooms are only available to the public on Mondays and Wednesdays and for restricted hours. Make sure you call, write or email ahead to confirm your visit.
The Association of Czech archivists’ website has complete lists of addresses and email contacts of all the local archives and regional ones too. It has an English language section that explains how the archives are organised.
The Moravian Regional Archives are in Brno.
Moravsky zemsky archiv v Brne
Palachovo nam 1
P.O. Box 51
625 00 Brno
Statni Okresni Archiv Uherske Hradište
686 66 Uherske Hradište
Mgr. Hana Šústková
Ostrava City Archive (Archiv m?sta Ostravy)
702 19 Ostrava
Statni okresni archiv v Moste
Leose Janacka 1310/2
434 01 Most
Statni okresni archiv Jind?ich?v Hradec
377 11, Jind?ich?v Hradec
NATIONAL LIBRARY OF CZECH REPUBLIC
The National Library of the Czech Republic
110 00 Prague 1
E-mail: email@example.com (Office of Director General)
firstname.lastname@example.org (Foreign Relations Department)
Location: A Baroque complex in the Old Town close to the Charles Bridge
Entrances into the complex:
– from Marianske namesti (Virgin Mary Square)
– from Karlova ulice (Charles Street)
– from Krizovnicka ulice (Krizovnicka Street) through the passage next to the St. Salvator Church (St. Saviour’s Church)
How to get there: Metro – line A – Staromestska Station
Tram – 17, 18 – Staromestska Station
Visitor Information and Library Shop: Mon – Fri 9am – 5pm; closed Saturday
Main Hall: Help and Information Desk Mon – Sat 9am – 7pm
“Kramerius” At Czech National Library
This is the digital library project. The digital library contains more than 8 million scanned pages. Some of the documents are in German, Russian, English and other languages. The search pages are in English.
SIG member Peter Lowe posted:
…The index is largely based on OCR, so is far from perfect as can be seen from the “snippet” transliteration that one gets for each entry. The digitized books and periodicals are mainly in Czech or German. If you are researching common surnames, try including their town or village of origin together with their surname.
When researching my Bohemian surnames, the periodical “Bohemia” gave a lot of interesting “hits”. In particular it often has death notices similar to those in the Prager Tagblatt. A key difference is that the latter is unindexed. So this has allowed me to find a number of death notices, and using the publication I could then also find the notices in the Prager Tagblatt (from http://anno.onb.ac.at/cgi-content/anno?aid=b).
From the overall index, and the “snippet” transliteration, I found that an edition of “Bohemia” from 1912 must have had an announcement of my grandparents’ marriage. This was the first clue to the marriages’ exact date. Unfortunately, I could not see the image of the announcement as it appears that for copyright reasons the website does not provide images of most pages after about 1900. However, it does allow one to order copies of such pages.
Another interesting resource is a series of directories for Bohemia, including:
Statistik und Beamten-Schematismus des Grossgrundbesitzes im Koenigreiche Boehmen 1891 which lists all tenant farmers, which of course includes many Jewish names.
Allgemeines Adress- und Handels- Handbuch der Hauptstadt Prag sammt Vorstädten 1871 which is a detailed address and trade directory from Prague and surroundings and the rest of Bohemia. Within it there are several name and place indexes, and I could find many of my direct ancestors in this book
One series of publications: Liste der P.T. Curgäste in Carlsbad in the period around 1870 is quite fascinating. ( I have edited Peter’s posting here). These list guests staying in the spa resort of Carlsbad (Karlovy Vary). For each it gives some information about profession, and their normal residence, date of arrival and address in Carlsbad, and sometimes information on accompanying family members. I was amazed at how many of my family are listed as staying there. No doubt this was where many family connections were created.
I think there is a lot to learn from this website, and no doubt others who are more expert at understanding the way it is arranged and indexed can give further advice.
Before 1918 Czechs were obliged to join the army of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. All their military records were housed in Vienna at the Military Archives. When Czechoslovakia was created by the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 most of the military records for Bohemian, Moravian, Slovakian, and Silesian personnel were transferred to the Military archives in Trnava in Slovakia. Officers’ records however remained in Vienna.
The Austrian Military archives say that records of men born 1865 to 1886 are what were transferred to the new country. They note these records are incomplete until 1864, 1887–1898 largely destroyed!
In 1995 Czechoslovakia ceased to exist. Instead two new Republics were created: the Czech Republic which includes Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia and the Republic of Slovakia. So the Trnava records were split between the two new Republics and the Czech Military archives got the records for Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia.
The Czech Military Archive address is:
Vojenský Ust?edni Archiv v Praze,
18600 Praha 8
The Slovak records include those from 1793–1921, war graves and military cemeteries 1914–1919, military parish records 1621–1950.
The address is:
Vojenský Historický Archiv v Trnave,
Univerzitné námestie 1,
Republic of Slovakia
For officers’ records you still have to ask at the Austrian Military Archives:
Nottendorfer Gasse 2
Officers are listed in an alphabetically organized archive of so-called “Qualifikationslisten” (the file numbers are all QUALL ###) and can be accessed by name alone! The files contain mainly military career details, but it is possible to pick out details on date and place of birth, marital status and whether and when children were born. See http://www.genealogy.net/reg/AUT/karchiv.html for a detailed description of the archive in German, or contact:
Adresse: Nottendorfer Gasse 2-4, 1030 Wien
Central reading room opening hours: Monday, Thursday 9am – 5pm; Tuesday, Wednesday 9am – 6pm, Friday 9am -1pm
Stonepics is a new Czech website of cemeteries mostly not Jewish ones but municipal cemeteries do contain graves of some Czech Jews who were assimilated or for some other reason were not buried in Jewish cemeteries. Worth a look. Website: http://czech.stonepics.com/czech.htm
mapy.cz is a modern map source produced in the Czech Republic so it is up to date and has a lot of smaller towns. It is in Czech but easy to use even if you don’t have the language.
Federation of Jewish Communities in Czech Republic
Useful history and map of CZ with location of all official Jewish Community offices throughout the country and good links.
The Federation of Jewish Communities in the Czech Republic is based in the Old Town of Prague in the former Ghetto in Josefov at 18 Maiselova Street. That is where the Prague Jewish Community is also based and the High synagogue and the Chief Rabbi. There is also the original card file for all transports of Czech Jews which contains the final address from where they were deported. They will certify copies for you for a small cost.
The postal address is;
Federace Zidovskych Obci v Ceske republice
P.O. B. 297
110 01 Praha 1
The Jewish Community of Prague
Website: Jewish Community of Prague
The Jewish Community of Prague (JCP) is a member of the Federation of Jewish Communities in the Czech Republic. It supports the religious and cultural life of its members and administers their social and health needs. The Community today has about 1,600 members. However, since 1989 the number of members has grown by approximately 900 persons and the average age of the members has decreased from 80 to 57 years.
JCP is in charge of the Old-New Synagogue (Alt-Neu Schul) and other cultural and religious institutions (synagogues, cemeteries, museums, memorials etc.) unless they are under the care of The Federation of Jewish Communities. They a kosher restaurant and supports Jewish education of its members and contributes to comprehensive education in Judaism and Jewish history, especially in its work with youth, and they speak out against all manifestations of anti-Semitism, racism, xenophobia, Nazism, fascism, discrimination, and intolerance and commemorates Jewish victims of the Holocaust.
JCP also provides financial support and space to a number of Jewish unions and associations. Their activities include sport, culture and the challenges facing the next generation.
Through its company, Matana Inc., The JCP administers the real estate holdings of the Jewish Community. Since 1990 Matana has been involved in the reconstruction and renovation of synagogues and cemeteries that have suffered from extensive damage and neglect. JCP also administers nineteen non-Prague synagogues and more than 170 cemeteries with large number of adjacent buildings (morgues, ceremonial halls, and cemetery houses).
Matana, a.s., Správa budov a h?bitov? –
Matana, Inc., Administration of Buildings and Cemeteries
Malá Štupartská 1, 110 00 Praha 1
Jewish Community Of Brno
Website: Jewish Community of Brno (in Czech)
The website has links to the Brno Jewish Cemetery which is large and well cared for and still in use and also has an online searchable database.
CZECH JEWISH HISTORY RESOURCES
For good general background on Czech Jewish history see this Porges family website: http://www.porges.net/JewishHistoryOfCzechRepub.html
The Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia Project
This is collaboration between Czech, Austrian and German academics, archivists and others. Dr Matušiková of the Czech National Archives is involved.
“Bohemia, Moravia et Silesia Judaica is a project in which we would like to collect all documents concerning the Jewish population in Moravia (and later?? and Bohemia) in the period 1520-1680. But in the research we are trying also to identify the documents from 18. and 19. century, which could be used for genealogical studies.”
Website: http://bmsj.eu/ (in Czech and German)
JEWISH MUSEUM OF PRAGUE
Jewish Museum expositions can be found in different buildings in the centre of Prague.
Opening hours: Daily except Saturdays and Jewish holidays.
November – March: 9 am – 4.30 pm; April – October: 9 am – 6 pm.
They have a new reading room at Smichov in the former synagogue right near the And?l Metro station in Praha 5. They hold a lot of records from destroyed synagogues and Jewish Communities and of course historical records. They will do research for you.
U Staré školy 1
110 00 Prague 1
Since 1965 they have published Judaica Bohemiae a journal devoted to Jewish history and culture in Bohemia and Moravia (and other countries of the former Habsburg Monarchy) from the Middle Ages through to the present. Special attention is paid to the history of the Jewish Museum in Prague and to research into its collections. Featuring original specialist papers (studies, reviews, and reports); it is intended for local and foreign researchers, as well as for others with an interest in Jewish issues. The texts are published in English and German.
New Jewish Cemetery
Located at Zizkov, Praha 3, The cemetery may be visited Sunday to Thursday from April to September from 9am to 5pm. From October to March the hours are 9am to 4pm. Fridays all year round hours are 9am to 2pm.
130 00 Praha 3
You can catch the underground to get there. The entrance to the cemetery is right opposite the metro station Zelivskeho on the green “A” line.
The New Jewish Cemetery was founded in 1890 and is a preserved historical monument. It is the only functioning Jewish cemetery in Prague where funerals of Jews are still held. The cemetery occupies more than 10 hectares with about 25,000 graves. The manager has a computerised database where he can find the grave position by name. He can also arrange for repairs and renovation of graves. Email: email@example.com
Alternatively you can approach Matana a.s. (the community property management company) as it is responsible for the management and upkeep of Jewish cemeteries and real estate owned by the Jewish Community in Prague and by the Federation of Jewish Communities in the Czech Republic.
Mala Stupartska 1,
110 00 Prague 1
Erich Lewitus has put together some information on some of the graves at the New Jewish Cemetery at Zizkov. As it is online and if he has photographed your ancestral grave it is quite a good website to visit.
You can email him directly on Erich Lewitus: firstname.lastname@example.org
Achab Haidler has a long term project of mapping all Jewish cemeteries. His website is supported by the Jewish Museum but it is only in Czech: http://www.chewra.com/keshetnew/kweb/kategorie.aspx?kid=2
Cemetery Of Noda B’yehuda
This cemetery is next to subway station Ji?ího z Pod?brad, on the green line “A”. There is no record book of burials and the cemetery is not well tended but many stones still stand and names are legible.
Opening hours: Tuesday and Thursday from 9 am – 1 pm
1793 CENSUS OF JEWS IN BOHEMIA
During the past five years, seven volumes of the Bohemian Jewish census of 1793 (Soupis zidovskych rodin v Cechach z roku 1793) have been published in Prague by the State Archives [Statni ustredni archiv v Praze]. The final volume VI/2 is a cumulative “name and place” index which makes searching much easier. It also includes a list of errata and a useful bibliography.
This final volume has some explanatory German text, whereas the other volumes are entirely in Czech, but the actual census entries are transcribed from the old German records and are therefore in German.
The libraries and research centres which hold copies include the
- Prague Jewish Museum reading room in Smichov,
- Central Archives, Prague in Dejvice;
- YIVO Institute in New York;
- the LDS (Mormon) Family History Library in Salt Lake City;
- British Library, London;
- Adler Society, Vienna;
- Harvard’s Widener Library, UC in Berkeley, Stanford University
- US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington DC,
- Czechoslovak Genealogical Society have it in their library in St. Paul, MN.
ISBN numbers and Kreis/Kraj Contents for Volumes I – VI/2 are:
- Vol I ISBN 80-85475-91-X – Elbogen/Loketsky; Bunzlauer/Boleslavky and Budweiser /Budejovicky Kreis/Kraj;
- Vol II ISBN 80-85475-96-0 – Kaurzimer/Kourimsky; Bidshover/Bydzovsky; Leitmeritzer/Litomericky Kreis/Kraj
- Vol III ISBN 80-86712-03-6 – Prachiner/Prachensky; Berouner/Berounsky; Tabor/Taborsky Kreis/Kraj
- Vol IV ISBN 80-86712-12-5 – Chrudimer/Chrudimsky; Pilsner/Plzensky; Saatzer/Zatecky; Koniggratzer/Hradecky Kreis/Kraj
- Vol V ISBN 80-86712-21-4 – Czaslauer/Caslavsky; Klattauer/Klatovsky; Rakonitzer Rakovnicky Kreis/Kraj
- Vol VI/1 ISBN 80-86712-03-6 – Prague only – Praha 1792 – Praha 1794
- Vol VI/2 ISBN 80-86712-34-6 – called Praha 1792 Praha 1794 – Cumulative index bibliography; errata and German-language introduction.
To purchase these volumes costs range from 200 Czech Crowns down to 100 CZK.
The census was also taken at the same time in Moravia. Unfortunately the Moravian censuses are not as yet collected from their various locations in the Moravian Regional Archives and the Archives of the Estates and so far no funds or personnel have taken any interest in transcribing them.
TEREZIN MEMORIAL AND INSTITUTE
Website: www.pruvodce.com/terezin (In English)
The Terezin Memorial and Institute is located at the former concentration camp itself, housed in one of the old barracks. Terezin is once again a Czech town with its citizens living in between the ghetto memorials.
They have a small museum in the former Magdeburg Barracks which displays art and music of the Holocaust and a bookshop and some archives in the small fortress.
To get to Terez?n you catch the Usti nad Labem bus from Florenc bus station in Prague. It goes fairly frequently costs very little and takes about an hour through the lovely Czech countryside. You need to write or email before you go to arrange access as public access is quite limited.
Director is Dr Jan Munk
Principova alej 304
CZ- 411 55 Terez?n
The Terez?n Initiative Institute attempts to document the names and fates of all prisoners of the Terezin ghetto and of other victims of the “Final Solution of the Jewish Question” in the Czech Lands and to use this data in order to assist commemoration and promote Holocaust education. The information gathered in the framework of this documentation project is made available for survivors, family members, but also to the public, to historians and for schools.
It was founded in 1993 by an international association of former prisoners of Terezín ghetto. They host a Holocaust website with details of all former prisoners.
Address: Jáchymova 3, 110 00 Praha 1, Czech Republic.
Website: www.holocaust.cz (English)
The aim of this website is to provide the Czech public with reliable information about the history of the Holocaust. The Czech version of this website contains numerous texts and documents about the Holocaust, including interviews with survivors.
The website is specifically designed for use in Czech schools, by both students and teachers.
CZECH FAMILY HISTORY RESEARCHERS
Czech family history researchers who will do paid work for you (and whom I can personally recommend):
Jaroslav Klenovsky works for the Jewish Community in Brno looking after all the cemeteries and graves in Moravia. He also does private work as a genealogy researcher and is also the author of many books and articles about Moravian genealogy
Jaroslav will charge you by the day if he takes you round in his car to see your ancestral towns, or to visit archives and cemeteries. Arrange the trip well before you go and make sure you explain exactly where you want to go and he will take you to see synagogues, local and regional archives, properties, and cemeteries too. (His daily rate available on request).
He has worked with me a lot and recently taken researchers Eva Brown from Sydney, Claire Bruell from Auckland and Robert Fraser from WA round Moravian towns. He speaks and writes Czech and German but is able to read and write in English. He took me to Brno archives to search the “Heimatsrechtkarten” which is a card file of registrations of where people lived. He can also arrange accommodation if you need it.
He will take you to ancestral towns and to the archives to do research, rate on request. Müller is the Czech correspondent for AVOTAYNU and has written extensively about Jewish genealogy. He has a project funded by a grant from the IAJGS to digitise the Familianten Bücher which is available via a link on his website. Julius speaks and writes in English, Czech and German.
Iva Steinová writes and speaks English, Hebrew, German and Czech. Her charges are available upon request. Her contact details are:
Pan? Iva Steinová
Slunecni nam 6
158 00 Czech Republic
Some other professional researchers and translators listed on the Austria/Czech SIG on Jewish Gen:
Prof. Ing. Felix Gundacker?
Professional genealogist for Austria, Bohemia and Moravia:
Website: http://www.felixgundacker.at/felix/de/ (German)
Mr. Jiri Osanec?I.
P. Pavlova 26
Na Konvarce 17,
If your family had Ostrava roots there is a group in England who has a newsletter and is working with Mrs. Libuše Salomonovi?ová of Ostrava (email@example.com) who does local research & whom you may wish to contact. The general contact is David Lawson firstname.lastname@example.org.