Translocation plans of Jewish residences in the Lands of the Bohemian Crown from the period of 1727-1728

Short history

Translocation Plans of Jewish residences in the Lands of the Bohemian Crown from 1727–1728 represent a set of extraordinary value, providing a reliable picture of the internal development of settlements and their topography, and documenting, among other things, the economic and social condition of the Jewish population in the Czech lands. On the basis of comparison with other sources and, above all, sketch maps from the Stable Cadastre, it was possible to trace the development of Jewish settlement in the range of more than one century to some extent (until the mid-19th century).

The creation of the plans is associated with the issuance of a translocation or resettlement rescript issued in 1726 by Charles VI, Holy Roman Emperor, and concerned the transfer of already settled people. The rescript consisted in identifying places reserved for Jewish residences, the removal of Jewish houses and dwellings in the vicinity of Christian churches and separating Jewish settlements from individual towns and villages in general, including the establishment of specific conditions regarding the appearance of existing and newly built buildings. The Jewish population was to be well away from churches or places that church processions passed through during Christian holidays in an effort to prevent potential conflicts. The most common and simplest solution, the smooth course of which was to be supervised by the nobility, consisted inbuilding a high wall, lowering tall Jewish buildings or, to be exact, buildings towering over surrounding buildings, and bricking in the windows of Jewish houses facing a church. During great ecclesiastical holidays, festivals, processions, or the Transfer of the Blessed Sacrament, care was also to be taken to make sure windows in Jewish houses and shops throughout the celebration or until the procession is out of sight are closed.

A major achievement associated with the commencement of implementation of the rescript and its introduction into everyday life was the acquisition of more than two hundred plans of Czech and Moravian locations, and Osoblaha in Silesia. However, it is important to remember that these plans are not the only testimony. In connection with dealing with various controversial issues between the Jewish and Christian populations, similar plans (usually in the form of simple sketches) were drawn up in the years to come (almost until the Josephine reforms), referring to the original rescript.

149 translocation plans from the period of 1727-1728 have been preserved to this day thanks to the activities of provincial and magisterial authorities in Bohemia and Moravia. However, in association with the regulations arising from the translocation rescript, there may be other plans in the collections of regional and aristocratic archives, or in other memory institutions.

Plans of Czech municipalities with indications of Jewish houses from the first half of the 18th century, deposited in the number of 98 pieces in the National Archives, were originally stored in the registry of the Staré české místodržitelství (Old Czech Vicegerency), from where they came into the collection of the Stará manipulace (Old Manipulation). After the dissolution of the vicegerency, the documents were transferred to the administration of the National Archives of the Czech Repuglic, the Archives of the Ministry of the Interior, and later to the State Central Archives. Today, the plans are in the Collection of Maps and Plans in the National Archives.

The 45 plans of Moravian towns and villages deposited in the Moravian Regional Archive in Brno were originally part of the archive of the Tribunal, the Moravian-Silesian Governorate, the Moravian Vicegerency and then the Provincial Office.

Only six plans, of Osoblaha and Lipník nad Bečvou, are stored in Silesia in the Regional Archives in Opava. In the case of Lipník nad Bečvou these are other originals of two plans that were sent by the estate administration to the Tribunal and today form part of the set stored in the Moravian Regional Archives in Brno.

Preserved Jewish settlement translocation plans still present signs documenting landscape memory. The buildings and properties depicted in the plans created and still play a significant role in the image of the cultural landscape in the 18th century. In addition to the natural integration into the landscape, we often encounter the effort to design very sophisticated urban complexes with direct and indirect connection to the royal estate. These efforts are evident in the presented plans along with other building and architectural elements. The plans thus provide an insight into the shape of the Czech landscape at the end of the Renaissance period and the ongoing Baroque period. The above-mentioned reasons, as well as many others, were behind the decision to declare them archival cultural heritage. There are also ongoing negotiations on their inscription in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register, where they would represent a unique cartographic collection.