The former Jewish ghetto in Boskovice is one of the best-preserved and most interesting Jewish areas in the Czech Republic. It arose in the immediate vicinity of the town’s Masaryk Square and it is the centre of the monument preservation area. Famous people who were born here include, for example, Hermann Ungar (1893–1929), a German-language author of Jewish origin who has been nicknamed the Moravian Kafka.
This Jewish quarter has experienced some hard times, too. Since the 18th century, the ghetto has been separated from the rest of the city by three gates and it has been devastated by plague and numerous fires. It saw its largest population in the 19th century, but the number of its inhabitants dropped to only four hundred during the First Czechoslovak Republic. Everyone was deported to concentration camps during World War II and fewer than twenty people survived and returned.
Originally, there were three synagogues, but only the major synagogue has been preserved to this day. Opposite the synagogue, you can see the Jewish mikveh ritual bath, which you will hardly have a chance to see anywhere else. On the way down from the Jewish quarter, stop at the cemetery (the third largest in the Czech Republic). Note that there are small stones on the tombstones. The Jews place these instead of flowers when they visit a cemetery.
You can walk through the Jewish town on your own or you can go on an interesting group tour with a guide. After dark, the narrow streets and street lamps resemble the mysterious quarter Stínadla (The Shades) from the books by the famous Czech writer Jaroslav Foglar. The Jewish quarter is supported by the Unijazz association. Since 1993, it has organized an annual festival called Boskovice – Festival for the Jewish Quarter. The atmosphere of the quarter is impossible to describe. Will you experience it with your own senses?