chapter  13
8 Pages

The Golem of Prague and his ‘master’: from legends to popular movies

Prague, the ‘magic capital of Europe’, as André Breton once called Prague,1

has until today engendered an unbroken fascination, and so have the ‘MaHaRaL’ (Moreinu ha-Rav Rabbi Liva), Rabbi Yehuda Ben Bezalel Loew (ca. 1525-1609), his ‘Golem’ and the ruler of his time, Rudolf II (1552-1612, emperor from 1576). Thus, it is no surprise when the Czech poet Víteˇzslav Nezval writes about

the Jewish quarter of Prague that is a part of the city in which the ‘Shem’ of the Rabbi Loew (the magical ‘name’ which, according to legend, brought the Golem to life by being placed under his tongue) ‘would lie under the tongue of all things – even under the sidewalks’.2