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Prague Jewish Population Dwindles; Only 1,850 Jews Registered

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The number of Jews registered with the ancient Prague Community, which was 36,000 in 1939 and 6,100 after the end of the Nazi occupation, is now down to 1,850, according to a report received by Radio Free Europe here.

Of the Jews who managed to remain in Prague throughout the Nazi holocaust, or who had returned there, some 2,000 were able to leave for other countries in the first few postwar years. Then the newly-established Communist regime put a virtual end to legal emigration.

In connection with the Slansky trial, many Jews were arrested and it is believed that more than 300 of them are still in jail. Subsequently, the residents of the old age home and other Jewish individuals were forcibly moved to the provinces. The inverted age structure, with its heavy preponderance of elderly people, accounts for many deaths and few births. Government employees shun identification with Jewish life. Due to all these reasons, the community’s membership rolls listed only 1,863 names as of last May, the report said.

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