Berkovic restaurant/radio Prague #austria-czech


Dear SIGgers,

John Berkeley of Warwick, UK had questions about a Restaurant named Rosenbaum in Prague and Czech
Radio's archives recently.

My 1938, 1939 and 1940 Prague telephone books list under the rubric "Restaurace" the following:
"Rosenbaum" [Prague] I., Dlouha tr. 41. It is not listed in the directory for 1931, and I do not have
any for the interceding years. There is no listing in the 1941 directory. Thus, either Rosenbaum's
was dissolved in late 1940/early 1941 or it was the effect of the authorities excluding Jews >from
having telephones at the time.

Dlouha trida 41 became Dlouha 33 (Lange Gasse 33) after the Nazis renamed and renumbered
Prague's streets (in 1940/41). The house's conscription number (cislo popisne) in what was then
Praha I-Stare Mesto is 731. This is the famous Beit HaAm, a very large building complex that
exists to this day, and which was the home to numerous Zionist institutions in the pre-war
period and even during the so-called Protectorate (e.g., the Palaestina Amt/Palestinsky urad,
the Keren Kajemet Lejisrael, etc.)

As for hospitality services, Rosenbaum had competitors in the Beit HaAm itself, such as the
famous cafe and restaurant Aschermann (owner Armin Rado, later murdered at Sobibor-Ossowa).
Around the back of the complex at Hastalska 20, the Jewish Community organized a restaurant
in December 1940 for middle-class people called the Mittelstandskueche/Stredostavovska
kuchyne. The mission of the latter was to provide food at reasonable prices, but catering to a
wealthier clientele than the Volkskueche/Lidova kuchyne (located elsewhere), which served those
the Nazis had driven into abject poverty.

Regrettably, I do not know which floor housed the restaurant Rosenbaum, however.

The Beit HaAm served as a warehouse for looted Jewish books after the closure of the Zionist i
nstitutions and the deportation of their staff (ca. 1942). As part of the building, the restaurant
Rosenbaum may also have served that purpose at the time.

Today, the Beit HaAm building is once again a vibrant address with a tourist hostel, the art gallery
and cafe NoD, the club Roxy and at least two restaurants. Regrettably, there is no memorial there
of the people or institutions it once housed.

As for Czech Radio's archives -- they do exist and can be found at this web address:

Shalom and all the best,

Rick Pinard

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