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Benešov, Czech Republic

BENEŠOV (Ger. Beneschau), town in Bohemia, the Czech Republic. The community, first mentioned in 1419, was among the earliest to be established in a seignorial town in *Bohemia . Five Jewish families were living there in 1570. A community is again mentioned there in 1845, numbering seven families in 1852. It was officially registered in 1893 with 786 persons (including those living in 27 surrounding villages). Benešov was a center of the Svaz *čechů-židů , Czecho-Jewish movement, and of the struggle against the German-language Jewish school at the end of the 19th century. In 1930 the community numbered 237 (2.8% of the total population), 24 of whom declared their nationality as Jewish. The anti-Jewish laws imposed during the German occupation were sometimes not enforced in Benešov. Most of the community was deported by the Nazis to the Maly Trostinets extermination camp near Minsk in 1942. Only two Jews returned. The synagogue equipment was sent to the Central Jewish Museum in Prague; two cemeteries still remain. No community has been reconstructed.

[Jan Herman]

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.