Our purpose, mission and objectives

The marriage of Czech-Jewish survivors Frantisek Kohn and Gertie Gans before a judge at the city hall in Prague, image courtesy of United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

The marriage of Czech-Jewish survivors Frantisek Kohn and Gertie Gans before a judge at the city hall in Prague, image courtesy of United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

History

The Society for the History of Czechoslovak Jews (SHCJ) was founded in 1961, in New York City, by members of the Joseph Popper Lodge and Chapter of B’nai B’rith, on the initiative of Kurt Wehle, an immigrant from Czechoslovakia and survivor of the Nazi concentration camps. Its mission at the time was to foster and disseminate knowledge about the history and culture of Jews in the Czech and Slovak lands. By the 1980s the SHCJ had also assumed a leadership role in organizing the annual memorial service held in New York City to honor Czechoslovak Jews who perished in the Holocaust, a tradition that began in 1946 and continues today.

The SHCJ was conceived as a successor organization to the Society for the History of the Jews in the Czechoslovak Republic (Gesellschaft für Geschichte der Juden in der Čzechoslovakischen Republik), which was founded in Prague, on 22 April 1928, by the Prague lodge of B’nai B’rith.

The Prague society also published a German-language journal (Jahrbuch der Gesellschaft für Geschichte der Juden in der Čzechoslovakischen Republik) from 1929 to 1938. In the US, the Society published a three-volume series of the History of the Jews of Czechoslovakia in 1968, 1971, and 1984, and between 1987 and 1994, six volumes of a journal called Review of the Society for the History of Czechoslovak Jews. Since 2011, the Society has also organized a lecture series related to the history and culture of Jews in the Czech and Slovak lands.

preservation

The Society seeks to preserve the unique history and culture of Jewish individuals and communities who had ever lived on the territory defined by the borders of the first Czechoslovak Republic - currently covering Czech Republic, Slovakia and parts of of Ukraine, as well as to commemorate those Czechoslovak Jews who perished in the Holocaust.

research 

We seek to contribute towards - and support - academic research covering cultural, political, social, economic and linguistic history of Czechoslovak Jews.

community 

We also aim to connect individuals, families, communities, academics, researchers and writers interested in the history of Czechoslovak Jews, in particular those currently residing in the US.