POLNA (Czech Polná), town in S.E. Bohemia, Czech Republic. Jews are mentioned in the vicinity in 1415 and two Jewish families in Polna itself in 1570. The town's law-manual of 1582 also contains a Jewish *oath formula. A cemetery was established in 1619. In 1681 Jewish and town representatives signed an agreement to build a Jewish quarter of 16 houses (one of its gates was still extant in 1970). The synagogue was built in 1684 and renovated for the first time in the 18th century. The register of synagogue seats was kept in the town archives. In a conflagration in 1863 the synagogue and 32 houses were destroyed. There were 27 Jewish families in Polna in 1724, and 541 Jews lived in the town in 1847. The synagogue was renovated for a second time in 1861. In 1869 there were 430 Jews in Polna, and 238 in 1890. Polna acquired a dubious notoriety through the *Hilsner blood libel case in 1899. In 1930 the community numbered 51 (1.2% of the total population). In 1942 the Jews remaining in Polna were deported to Nazi death camps. The synagogue equipment was sent to the Central Jewish Museum in Prague. Although no congregation was reorganized after the Holocaust, the synagogue and the Jewish cemetery remained extant. Restoration of the synagogue commenced in 1990s.
H. Gold (ed.), Juden und Judengemeinden Boehmens… (1934), 508–11.
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.