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Chomutov, Czech Republic

CHOMUTOV (Ger. Komotau), city in northwestern Bohemia, Czech Republic. The first information about Jews there records their death as martyrs in 1421 when threatened by the *Hussites with forcible baptism. Between 1468 and 1526, 50 Jewish names appear in the municipal records as house owners. In 1517 the Jews were expelled from the town and requests for readmission in 1635 and 1659 were unsuccessful. After 1848 members of the surrounding communities moved to Chomutov, attracted by its developing industry. From 1860 to 1869 there was continuous strife between the Jews living in Chomutov who opened a prayer room there and their mother community of *Udlice which feared that this threatened its own existence and repeatedly attempted to close it.

There were 100 families living in Chomutov in 1873 when a congregation was officially formed; a synagogue was consecrated in 1876. It was destroyed by the Nazis. Most of the neighboring communities were dissolved in 1893 and the remainder were affiliated with Chomutov. The community then numbered 911 members living in 14 localities. Modern communal regulations were adopted in 1923. The community numbered 444 in 1930 (1.3% of the total population), of whom 164 were of declared Jewish nationality, and there was an active communal life. At the beginning of the Sudeten crisis, all the Jewish residents left Chomutov, which was reported "judenrein" on September 23, 1938. A small congregation administered by the *Usti nad Labem community was reestablished after World War II. The Jewish poet Max Fleischer, a native of Chomutov (1880–1941), died in a concentration camp.


H. Gold (ed.), Juden und Judengemeinden Boehmens in Vergangenheit und Gegenwart (1934), 299–304; R. Wenisch, in: JGGJČ, 7 (1935), 37–108; idem, in: Zeitschrift fuer die Geschichte der Juden in der čechoslovakischen Republik, 1 (1930/31), 91–8, 195–7. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: J. Fiedler, Jewish Sights of Bohemia and Moravia (1991), 172.

[Meir Lamed]

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