Czech Republic: Prague's Jewish Museum
Summary. A solemn experience, to say the least, the Jewish Museum is a "must see," while visiting Prague. This multi-part complex has a museum and a haunting memorial dedicated to Jewish lives lost during World War II, among other collections.
Jewish Cemetery. Within the museum grounds lies one of the oldest surviving Jewish burial grounds. The earliest grave dates back to 1439 and is among 12,000 tombstones on the property. With so many graves in close proximity, markers are often seemingly stacked on top of the other.
Museum Exhibitions: Somehow it did not feel quite right to take photos within certain exhibits. In any event we were so engrossed in what we saw that it didn't much matter. The one photo we have below is from the exhibit, "Children’s Drawings from the Terezín Ghetto, 1942-1944." The exhibit is just as it sounds and it is a heartbreaking reminder one of the many tragedies of the war and the Nazi regime.
The Pinkas Memorial. This haunting memorial to the Jewish Czech victims of the Nazi regime had a profound impact. As parents, it felt like a particularly important lesson to teach our boys about this appalling part of human history. The interior walls of the synagogue contain the inscriptions of the names of each of the victims, along with their dates of birth and death. The memorial takes up several large rooms and is a visual reminder of the depth of loss the Jewish community suffered. Even more impactful was the realization that the expansive hallways filled with names only accounted for those victims in the Czech lands, and thus only account for some of the millions lost during this time.
Take the time to visit this Museum. We know it is a heavy topic and one that perhaps you'd chose to avoid during a family vacation. However, there's no substitute for in-person, experiential learning. The boys will always remember this experience and hopefully take it with them as they navigate through life. If nothing else, it is a lesson in gratitude, kindness, and tolerance.
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