Holesov is a medium-sized Moravian town, in which an important Jewish community was living since the 15th century.
For hundreds of years the Christians and Jews were living together with the better and worse periods of their coexistence, which was violently terminated by the Nazi occupation and Holocaust.
In the countrywide scale, and also in the Holesov, almost 90% people of Jewish origin fell victim to Holocaust.
At present, the Jewish Religious Organisation in Moravia has very few members.
The help of local activists (mostly non-Jewish) with the maintenance of the Jewish sights is often necessary.
There are several significant memorials in Holesov, left by the Jewish minority; the most important are the Old Synagogue with its unique folk decoration and the Jewish cemetery with about 1500 gravestones.
Since 2001, a small group of local enthusiasts holds an annual Festival of Jewish Culture in Holesov.
The workcamp of Czech and foreign volunteers is an integral part of this festival. In last seven years the workcamp in Holesov was joined by more than 50 foreign volunteers from 16 countries around the world (mostly from France, Germany, Italy, Poland, South Korea, Spain and others).
The workcamp is financed and co-arranged by the Jewish Religious Organisation in Brno, represented in Holesov by the non-profit organisation "Olam" (Judaica Society).
The organisation "Olam", in the cooperation with the municipality of Holesov, is also arranging the Festival of Jewish Culture.
This festival is week-long happening, usually aimed to specific topic, such as:
Jewish mysticism, Holocaust, relationship between Jews and Christians, Jewish family and so on.
Volunteers do various maintenance work in the Jewish cemetery: mowing grass, removing plants, cutting bushes, sometimes reconstruction of the fallen and damaged gravestones (supervised by experts of the monument preservation).
Volunteers are also asked to help to arrange the festival: preparation of the technical background of the performances, installation of the exhibitions, cleaning and so on.
Accommodation and Food
Volunteers stay in the old Smithery house, only a few hundred meters from workplace and also from the town centre.
They sleep in the garret rooms with beds (sleeping bags needed).
Kitchen, toilets, shower and common room are available.
Volunteers get meal tickets, which enable them to take meal in restaurants or to buy the food and prepare their own meal in the kitchen.
Cultural and study partVolunteers can visit all the shows of the Festival of Jewish Culture, such as music and dance performances, prayer services, art exhibitions and movies.
Volunteers understanding Czech language will surely visit some of the lectures. In case of volunteers interest there is a possibility to hear lectures or to discuss the topics of Jewish culture, Holocaust, history of Jews in Holesov, history of the town and so on.
Town Holesov offers various facilities for leisure time: a cinema, a swimming pool, mini-golf, bowling, several sports grounds, a library, Internet, many shops, a tea-house and more than fifty restaurants, pubs and other institutions of that kind, where is opportunity to get in touch with local people
During the week there are opportunities to learn about local culture in close sorrounding of Holesov (Rymice, Hostyn, Kromeriz). The weekend trips can lead to various attractive locations in Moravia (Brno, Olomouc, Roznov pod Radhostem and so on).
Bus station Holesov from directions Praha, Brno, Olomouc or Zlin. Train station Holesov on the railway Brno-Ostrava or Praha-Otrokovice (change in Hulin).
Foreign volunteers shall first contact the volunteer organisation in their country.
Other interested persons can send the question concerning Jewish culture also to the non-profit organisation Olam: firstname.lastname@example.org