House of Life: The Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague

House of Life: The Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague

Sun, 04/18/2010 - 3:00am - 4:00am

Pictured: Renaissance tombstones.

Credit: Mark Podwal

 HOUSE OF LIFE is a celebration of the richness of the Jewish spirit.

The Old Jewish Cemetery in Prague, a place of haunting beauty and mystery, has endured Nazi occupation, 40 years of Communist neglect, pogroms, floods, fires, assimilation and an urban clearing project that destroyed most of the ancient Jewish Quarter it once served. Members of the once-vibrant Jewish community now rest, layer upon layer, in the cemetery, a site visited by more than 600,000 tourists each year.
HOUSE OF LIFE: THE OLD JEWISH CEMETERY IN PRAGUE, a documentary that explores the cemetery’s past and present, encores Sunday, April 18 at 3 a.m. on WXXI-TV (DT21.1/cable 1011 and 11).
 
HOUSE OF LIFE: THE OLD JEWISH CEMETERY IN PRAGUE, a collaboration of Academy Award-winning filmmaker Allan Miller and artist Mark Podwal, reveals that the Old Jewish Cemetery is a lesson in history. The cemetery’s chaotic landscape reflects the cramped conditions of the former ghetto itself. Crowded with 12 layers of graves, one on top of the other (totaling approximately 100,000 bodies), the cemetery is a source of curiosity, awe and inspiration. Curator Arno Parik describes it as the “Westminster Abby of the Jewish people.”
 
Featuring curators, historians, rabbis and conservationists, all devoted to the preservation of this historic place, HOUSE OF LIFE is a celebration of the richness of the Jewish spirit.
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