Why we are concerning ourselves with the history of the Saaz jews?
Why do we concern ourselves at all with history? Because without knowledge of the past we cannot understand the present times. Historical records supplement our genetic memory and thereby enable us to form our future in a way not posssible to animals.On the other hand we find explanations in history as to why our present time is as it is. Before the war ten percent of the population of Saaz were jews. Like everywhere in Europe they contributed an important part to the economy and culture which is missing today. If we search for reasons for the condition of the town as ist is today, this loss may be one of them. However, people can learn for the future from the mistakes of the past.
- Documentation concerning the jews of Saaz based upon documents from the archives and testimonies of surviving jews of Saaz, now living in the Czech Republic or in Israel.
- Setting up a website with a data bank for the project “Jews in Saaz and aryanized houses of Saaz”.
- Exhibition “The Jews of Saaz” (Žatec): www.zatec-zide.eu
- Documentation commemorating the airlift Zatec-Saaz to Tel Aviv (Haifa), Nov. 2010
- Restoration of the Jewish cemetery and the buildings belonging to it in cooperation with he Jewish Community of Teplice
- Setting up of a memorial and an information centre for jewish culture and religion on the premises of the Jewish cemetery
A difficult relationship
The Second World War brought great suffering for German and Czechs in the former Czechoslovakian Republic. With regard to these terrible events and the different destinies which both nationalities had to go through, reconciliation and understanding for each other is difficult.
The Saaz Way
This is the attempt to give the Germans and Czechs a common future in the European house and to enable them not to be caught up in the past and its terrible events. Those who want to go the Saaz way are convinced: There will be no reconciliation without remembering the past, but eternal reproaches will not be helpful at all.
Learning from the past
In the past there has been a lot of injustice between Germans and Czechs which has caused great grief. This is a heavy burden for both nationalities. It is necessary to know exactly what has happened and why, so that these terrible events will never re-occur. Painful events should not be kept secret¸ injustice has to be called by its true name.
Therefore, part of the Saaz Way is to point out the common history of Czechs and Germans over the centuries. In particular the youth of Saaz|Žatec has a right to know the full historical truth. Without knowledge of the truth, reconciliation has no chance. Suffering cannot be undone, but someone who has suffered would like the world to know about it so that his suffering will be recognized. Historical seminars /workshops and acts of remembrance will be helpful for this purpose.
A chance for the future
The living shall know the past, they must live with the historical truth, but they should not be overwhelmed by it. The Saaz Way is a path leading to the future. He who loves Saaz|Žatec and believes in its future as a European city will actively further its economic and cultural development. Czechs and Germans will work together so that the thousand-year-old town shall regain its former reputation as an economically flourishing place and beautiful town. Meetings between both nationalities as well as common seminars /workshops, publications and projects will also help to attain this goal.
The Friends of the Town of Saaz|Žatec 2003