Originally a private synagogue from the 16 th century, Pinkas Synagogue became a Memorial to victims of the Holocaust of Protectorate Bohemia and Moravia. It is a Gothic building with some Early Renaissance features and it is situated in Josefov, the former Prague Jewish Quarter.
Private synagogue of the Horowitz family
One of the richest Prague Jews, Aron Mesullam Zalman Horowitz built the synagogue in 1535. His grandson Rabi Pinkas Horowitz gave it the name Pinkas Synagogue. It has a reticulated vault and a painted decoration reminiscent of Renaissance stuccoes. The southern tract was added in the 17 th century, as well as the gallery for women.
Remains of an ancient ritual bath were discovered there during an archaeological research. It probably used to be a private ritual bath of the Horowitz family.
Memorial to victims of the Holocaust
The Pinkas Synagogue became the Memorial to victims of the Holocaust in 1950s. The walls of the nave, the gallery and the vestibule were covered with names of the victims. There are almost 80 000 names of Bohemian and Moravian Jews written there. The deportation dates are added as the last information about the dead. It is probably the largest epitaph in the world.
Damage by flood
Prague was afflicted by flood in 2002. The Pinkas Synagogue was badly damaged then. The nave and the hall were filled with water and the statics of the building was affected. The synagogue was restored, but some places were irreversibly damaged.
Jewish Museum in Prague
The Pinkas Synagogue is administered by the Jewish Museum in Prague. Besides the names of the Jewish victims you can also see drawings of Jewish children there, made in the concentration camp Terezin between 1942 and 1944. There were more than 10 000 children under the age of 15 there. The museum has more than 4000 drawings, a moving reminder of their tragic fate.