Česká centra, Czech Centres

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Oct 16, 2014 7:00 PM

A Family Affair: Opening the door to the history of Jewish presence in Bohemia

Presentation and lecture of Martin Šmok based on the unprecedented archive of Amira Kohn - Trattner, tracing the history of one Jewish family from late 19th century Bohemia until the present day. Featuring unique pictorial material from this private source for the very first time, it will document the changes in cultural, national and religious identity of Czech Jews after the establishment of the Czechoslovak Republic, as well as the impact of the Holocaust and exile."

Ludwig Kohn was born in Lomnička (Steingrub), the same village where Isaac Mayer Wise, the Reform Rabbi and founder of Hebrew Union College was born. Ludwig’s first wife, Marie Kafka from the village of Osek, was a direct relative of Franz Kafka, one of the greatest writers of the 20th century. After the abolition of anti-Jewish legislation Ludwig moved to Prague, the capital of Bohemia, where his five sons, Viktor, Franz, Hans, Erwin, and Egon grew up. They built successful careers - and they kept taking photographs, which were miraculously preserved until this day.

Viktor, the eldest son, became an influential bank director and a leading figure of the Prague Jewish Community. During WWI, he participated in organizing refugee centers for Jews from Galicia and Bukovina. He also served as a member of the board of the Jewish boys orphanage. He was among the founders of the Židovská matice školská, a Jewish educational society that established and managed a modern Jewish school in Prague. During the first ten years of its existence he was the president of the school, opened in 1920 with a speech by Max Brod which Brod had supposedly written together with Franz Kafka. Among his Zionist activities, Viktor was a board member of Betar, the Revisionist movement's youth movement.

The lecture and the sample exhibition panels to be presented is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic.


Bohemian National Hall, 321 East 73rd Street
NY 10021 New York
United States


Oct 16, 2014 7:00 PM


Czech Center is a coorganizer of the event

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