Praha/Prostějov, August 3, 2016 – Representative of the American benevolent foundation WMSBG Kolel Damesek Eliezer Tomáš Jelínek protested against the statements of the Prostějov town council by which it reacted to the criticism of an insensitive and illegal act on the site of the old Jewish cemetery: a wall was demolished last week, which was described and drawn in the statement of the Czech Ministry of Culture as a fragment of the boundary wall, protected as heritage. The heritage administrators had not been notified of the council’s intention to demolish the wall.
„Those who ordered, supervised or executed the demolition should be made accountable for the disrespect of the ministerial decision, let alone the impious disposal of the memorial site and cultural heritage,” said the indignant Jelínek. The town council had been notified of the duty to protect the elements of the site of the old Jewish cemetery by a letter from the Ministry of Culture, dated June 2, when the heritage site proceeding was initiated. The reconstruction of the crossing did not start until July 7. “As I see it, this is a pathetic act of spite, which cannot be explained by a statement about a concrete curb.” This attained its form prior to the destruction of the fragment in the 1970’s when the school was built, as is illustrated in an enclosed photograph from the time.
The heritage administrators, who contemplated the declaration of the old Jewish cemetery in Prostějov as cultural heritage, stated in their comment that “the only original structure of the Jewish cemetery site that still remains is a fragment of the boundary wall, located on the western perimeter, has been preserved;” it was also drawn in the supporting documents for the declaration. This quite robust curb originally enclosed almost all the historic site of the cemetery in Tyl Street. A small part was removed a few months ago when the sidewalk was broadened. The rest went a few days ago in the reconstruction of the crossing; by then, however, the entire site of the old cemetery had been declared cultural heritage. Although the declaration is still inconclusive as the Prostějov council appealed it, the council was obliged by the law at least to notify the heritage administration of its intent to demolish the fragment of the wall; this was not done.
„This is certainly not the original wall. According to our documents, this concrete wall served as elevated curb round the ground works when the sidewalk was being built,” Social Democrat Deputy Mayor Zdeněk Fišer told the Czech Radio. He thinks the protest against its removal makes no sense. Fišer quotes the point about the non-originality of the “concrete dwarf wall” the council made in its comment of the proposal for the heritage site declaration. This proves the Prostějov council was aware of the existence of the fragment of the cemetery wall. Even if it had a different opinion of the wall than the heritage administration, it should have waited for the final verdict of the ministerial commission of appeals.
„However, I appreciate the council’s good will to review the lapse, whoever was behind it,” concluded Jelínek.
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