Sunday, August 21, 2005

Kerry News From The Prague Daily Monitor

Exhibition presents Senator Kerry's ancestors

USOV (PDM staff with CTK) 22 August - Documents about the ancestors of US Senator John Kerry, whose family roots originate in the former Jewish community in Usov, have been put on display in the local synagogue.

The exhibition, which opened Saturday, also shows works of art inspired by the Jewish tradition. It is to run through September.

The exhibition is organised by the organisation Respekt a tolerance, members of which found the materials related to Kerry's ancestors in London archives some time ago.

"The author of the documents from the 18th century is Abraham Leipniker Loewy, who is the oldest ancestor of Kerry in Usov. A total of five generations of the senator's ancestors lived in Usov," said organiser Ludek Stipl.

The association addressed Kerry earlier and sent the information about his genealogical tree to him.

"Kerry wrote a letter to us, thanking us for the new information. He said he is proud of his Usov ancestors and is considering visiting Usov to get in touch with his roots," Stipl said.

Kerry connections with the Czech Republic surfaced during his unsuccessful race for the US presidency last year. His grandfather, Fritz Kohn, used to live in Horni Benesov, north Moravia. The town municipality then offered honorary citizenship to Kerry.

The first Jews settled in Usov in 1450 after being expelled from the nearby towns of Olomouc and Unicov. About 700 of them lived in Usov in 1850, making up one-third of the town's population. Afterwards their community started to shrink, and none live in Usov at present.


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