Joining Czech mates

August 13, 2009

Members of the Nottingham and Finchley Progressive synagogues travelled to the Czech Republic to visit Slavkov, formerly Austerlitz, from which they each have a Czech memorial Torah scroll.

The trip was organised by the Nottingham Friends of Austerlitz, working to preserve the memory of the town’s Jewish community. Just a handful survived the Holocaust and there is now only one Jewish resident, 78-year-old Ruth Matiovska, who recovered from a broken ankle in time to join a civic ceremony marking the visit.

Participants included brothers David and Charles Prager, whose ancestors can be traced back to Austerlitz for well over 200 years. David Prager sang the memorial prayer outside the renovated synagogue and the visitors handed over a mezuzah and plaque.

Former Nottingham Progressive chairman Jeff Cohen said “the special relationship between Nottingham and Slavkov was made clear in the address and welcome by the town mayor. It was particularly pleasing to see so many of our younger members here.

“Hopefully they will be able to relate their experiences at our annual Austerlitz Shabbat in November when we remember the people who once used our Czech scroll.”

Last updated: 11:23am, August 13 2009