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The Jewish Community of Belgrade

Belgrade

Serbian: Beograd / Београд

The capital of Serbia.

Belgrade is the largest city in Serbia. It is located where the Sava and Danube Rivers meet, as well as where the Pannonian Plain meets the Balkans. Belgrade was conquered by the Ottoman Empire in 1521 an often changed hands between the Ottomans and the Habsburgs. After World War I (1918) Belgrade became the capital of Yugoslavia until the breakup of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s. Belgrade has been the capital of Serbia since the establishment of the independent Republic of Serbia in 2006.

The Belgrade Jewish community has an active community center, located in the Ashkenazi synagogue that was originally consecrated in 1925, and used as a brothel by the Nazis during World War II. The community center houses the Federation of Jewish Communities of Serbia, the Jewish Historical Museum, and the Sukkat Shalom Synagogue, the only active synagogue remaining in Belgrade. Services are held regularly on Friday nights and Jewish holidays and are led by Rabbi Isak Asiel, the Chief Rabbi of Serbia. The Belgrade Jewish community offers a number of programs and services for Serbian Jews of all ages. Activities and programs have included Hebrew classes, youth groups, a choir, a theater troupe, and a kosher kitchen (established in 2005). Communal organizations include a Women's League, and a chevra kaddisha.

Belgrade's two Jewish cemeteries are located across the street from each other, at 1 Mije Kovacevica Street. The Sephardic cemetery, which has remained active, is the larger cemetery. It includes a Holocaust memorial, which was erected in 1952, as well as memorials to the Jewish victims of the Balkan Wars and World War I. Another monument marks the location where sacred books and texts are buried (shemos). The Ashkenazi cemetery includes approximately 200 tombstones.

The Fresco Gallery has a memorial plaque commemorating Belgrade's Jewish community. It stands where the Moorish-style synagogue once stood, from when it was built in 1908 until it was destroyed in 1941. The building that once housed the Oneg Shabbat organization has remained standing in what was once the Jewish Quarter, and Stars of David can still be seen on the building's exterior. The building currently houses the Cinema Rex.

HISTORY

Several Jews from Italy and Hungary settled in Belgrade during the 13th and 14th centuries. They were joined by Sephardi Jews, who arrived after the Turkish conquest in 1521. Most lived in the Jewish mahala ("quarter") near the citadel, and worked as physicians, blacksmiths, tanners, and merchants. Additionally, the community enjoyed a degree of judicial autonomy.

In 1663 there were 800 Jews living in Belgrade. Between 1642 and 1688, the yeshiva of Belgrade became more widely known, and operated under the tutelage of Rabbis Judah Lerma, Simchah b. Gershon Kohen, and Joseph Almosnino.

With the decline of the Turkish Empire beginning in the late 17th century, a series of tragedies befell the Jews of Belgrade. In 1688, as the Austrians approached the city, Turkish troops plundered and burned the Jewish Quarter. Once the Austrians captured the city, soldiers burned, looted, and killed both the Turkish and Jewish population. The community was totally destroyed; some Jews managed to flee to Bulgaria but the majority were taken prisoner and deported to Austria to be sold as slaves or offered to Jewish communities to be ransomed.

A number of Jews returned to the city shortly thereafter and rebuilt the synagogue. However, because Belgrade was the key fortress against the Turks, there were restrictions placed on the number of Jews permitted to live in the city. Belgrade was retaken by the Turks in 1739. A series of rebellions by the Serbs against the local Ottoman authorities began in 1803, continuing intermittently for nearly 30 years. Belgrade changed hands many times. In 1807 the Serbs expelled the Jews from Belgrade; it was only after Russian intervention that the anti-Jewish measures were revoked. Some returned between 1811 and 1813 but were forced to leave yet again when a failed rebellion broke out in 1813.

The situation of Belgrade's Jews improved in 1815, when Milosh Obrenovich became the ruler of Serbia. The Serbian state press that he founded in 1837 was also published in Hebrew. However, the freedoms that the Jews of Belgrade enjoyed under Obrenovich would not last. Milosh's successor Alexander Karageorgevich (1842-1858) introduced a series of economic and residence restrictions on Belgrade's Jews. Nonetheless, the Jewish community managed to establish a number of cultural and religious institutions, including a Hebrew school, which was founded during the 1850s.

In 1777 there were 800 Jews living in Belgrade. By 1831 there were approximately 1,300 Jews (200 of whom were Ashkenazim) in the city.

The Jews of Belgrade, as well as those throughout Serbia were granted full civil rights by the Serbian parliament in 1889. Subsequently, the community's wealthier Jews began to integrate into Serbian society. They spoke Serbian, their children went to state schools and universities, and many were able to study and work as physicians and civil servants, among other professions previously barred to them. Nonetheless, most Jews lived in the mahala until World War I, when it was partially destroyed. The community had its own press; the Ladino journal El Amigo del Pueblo began publishing in 1888 and appeared in Belgrade throughout the 1890s. In 1907 they built a new Sephardi synagogue, Bet Yisrael, in the upper town.

After World War I, when Belgrade became the capital of the independent Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the younger generation gradually left the mahala to take advantage of a wider range of economic opportunities. Many worked as physicians, bankers, and in the stock exchange and garment industry.

THE HOLOCAUST

There were 12,000 Jews living in Belgrade when the Germans invaded in April 1941. The invasion, coupled with the collaboration on the part of the city's Volksdeutsche (ethnic Germans) residents, ushered in a period of discrimination and violence against the city's Jews. Jews were evicted from their homes and their property was confiscated. The Ashkenazi synagogue was turned into a brothel; Bet Yisrael became a storehouse for looted Jewish property and was eventually blown up before the German retreat. All communal activities were forbidden, but the Vertretung (Representation) appointed by the Germans, organized public kitchens, medical services, and other forms of aid for the local Jewish community, as well as for the 2,500 Jews from the Banat region who were expelled to Belgrade.

All men between the ages of 14 and 60 and all women between the ages of 14 and 40 were compelled to work as forced laborers, and were not provided with money or food in exchange for their labor. When the Serbians started a campaign of armed resistance against the Nazis, the Germans began executing hostages, many of whom were Jews. The first mass execution took place on July 29, 1941 when 122 Communists and Jews were shot.

Between August and October, 1941 approximately 5,000 Jewish men were arrested. After being imprisoned they were taken in groups of 150 to 400 to the nearby forests and shot. The remaining 6,000 Jewish women and children were arrested in December 1941 and transported to the Saymishte camp, a former commercial fairground on the left bank of the Sava River. Food was scarce, and many froze to death in the winter of 1941-1942. Those who had remained alive were killed in gas vans between February and May 1942. Patients in the Jewish hospital in the mahala were also killed in 1942. Some Jews, primarily those who had participated in the Zionist youth movement HaShomer HaTzair, joined the resistance movement. They worked as saboteurs, disseminated propaganda, and collected funds and medical supplies.

About 95% of Serbia's Jewish population was killed during the war. Of the 12,000 living in Belgrade before the Nazi occupation, 1,115 survived.

POSTWAR

On October 22, 1944, two weeks after the liberation of Belgrade, the Jewish community began to resume its activities. Survivors opened a soup kitchen, a center to serve those who returned after the war, and provided medical services. The Ashkenazi synagogue was reconsecrated on December 2nd 1944 by Rabbi Albert Altarac; the Ashkenazi and the Sephardi communities merged. In 1947 the community had 2,271 members, half of whom emigrated to Israel shortly after. A monument to fallen Jewish fighters and victims of fascism was erected after the war in the central cemetery of Belgrade.

In 1969 there were 1,602 Jews in Belgrade. The community center ran an internationally known choir, a youth club, and a kindergarten. It also housed the Federation of Jewish Communities of Yugoslavia.

In 1995 a sculpture by Nandor Glid, titled "Menorah in Flames," was erected where the Jewish Quarter once stood.

Place Type:
City
ID Number:
174993
Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
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Karaite scholar and poet

He lived most of his life in a village near Constantinople where he headed the Karaite community but in his later years spent some time in Cetatea Alba (Belgorod-Dnestrovski) and eventually in Belgrade where he died. He had a knowledge of science and philosophy and also several modern languages. Afendopolo wrote at least 24 works as well as liturgical poems, most of them still in manuscript. They often collect citations from other scholars and provide valuable information about works that have been lost. He wrote on religious law, philosophy, scientific books, and poetry.

Albert Vajs (1905-1964), jurist, community leader, born in Zemun, Serbia (then part of Austria-Hungary). He studied philosophy and economics in Berlin and Paris and earned a Ph.D. in law in 1929 from the University of Zagreb, Croatia (then poart of Yugoslavia). During World War II he was a POW in Germany.

After the war, he became a member of the Yugoslav State Commission for the Investigation of the Crimes Committed by the Occupiers and their Collaborators. Vajs was a member of the Yugoslav delegation at the Nuremberg Trials of the Nazi war criminals.

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Vajs served as President of the Union of Jewish Religious Communities of Yugoslavia from 1948 to 1964.

HEN PARTY - "DRINKING AND SMOKING PERMITTED!"
BELGRADE, SERBIA, C.1890.
(BETH HATEFUTSOTH PHOTO ARCHIVE,
COURTESY OF DR. REPHAEL FIAZZA, ISRAEL)
Conference of the Federation on Jewish communities.
Belgrade, Yugoslavia, 1960s
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
courtesy of the Federation of the Jewish Communities
in Yugoslavia, Belgrade)
Young girls dressed as soldiers in the Serbian army at a Purim Party.
Belgrade, Serbia, early 20th century
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot, courtesy of Dr. Rephael Fiazza, Israel)
The Couple Asherovitch on their Wedding Day with
their Families.
Belgrade, Yugoslavia,1937.
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
Courtesy of Gavra Mandil, Tel Aviv)
Young woman, relative of the Fiazza family in traditional Jewish-Sephardi costume from the Balkans.
Belgrade, Serbia, 1890.
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
Courtesy of Dr. Rephael Fiazza, Israel)
Gabriela-Ela, daughter of Gavra Konfino,
Belgrade, Yugoslavia, 1925
Gabriela married Moshe Mandil and their son is Gavra Mandil.
Photo: Gavra Konfino?
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
courtesy of Gavra Mandil, Tel Aviv)
Alkalai, Judah (1798-1878).
Sephardic Rabbi,
Belgrade,1862
(From the Beit Hatfutsot Photo Exhibition: "A Century of Zionist Immigration to Eretz Israel" 1981)
Rebecca Fiazza in traditional Sephardi festive dress.
Belgrade, Serbia, 1909.
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
Courtesy of Dr. Rephael Fiazza, Israel)
The Fiazza Family.
Belgrade, Serbia, 1904.
On the left Sarah De-Maio.
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
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Albert Vajs (1905-1964), jurist, community leader, born in Zemun, Serbia (then part of Austria-Hungary). He studied philosophy and economics in Berlin and Paris and earned a Ph.D. in law in 1929 from the University of Zagreb, Croatia (then poart of Yugoslavia). During World War II he was a POW in Germany.

After the war, he became a member of the Yugoslav State Commission for the Investigation of the Crimes Committed by the Occupiers and their Collaborators. Vajs was a member of the Yugoslav delegation at the Nuremberg Trials of the Nazi war criminals.

Vajs served as a Professor of Law in Belgrade, Serbia, and lectured on history of law and history of civilization from 1947 to 1964 at the Department of History of the Institute of Social Sciences in Belgrade.

Vajs served as President of the Union of Jewish Religious Communities of Yugoslavia from 1948 to 1964.

Karaite scholar and poet

He lived most of his life in a village near Constantinople where he headed the Karaite community but in his later years spent some time in Cetatea Alba (Belgorod-Dnestrovski) and eventually in Belgrade where he died. He had a knowledge of science and philosophy and also several modern languages. Afendopolo wrote at least 24 works as well as liturgical poems, most of them still in manuscript. They often collect citations from other scholars and provide valuable information about works that have been lost. He wrote on religious law, philosophy, scientific books, and poetry.
Glid, Nandor (1924-1997), sculptor, born in Subotica, Yugoslavia (now Serbia). During the Nazi occupation he was in a forced labour camp while his family was murdered at Auschwitz in 1944. He later fought with the Yugoslav partisans.

Glid was awarded the Order of the National Merit in 1972, became a professor at the Academy of Applied Arts in Belgrade in 1975, and elected as chairman (1979), and then rector (1985) of Belgrade University of Arts. He began as a portrait scultor but then concentrated on memorials of concentration camp victims. Among his works are the Mauthausen monument in Zavala (Bosnia, 1958), The Ballad of the Hanged (Subotica, 1967), Dachau monument (1968), Yad Vashem monument (Jerusalem, 1979), and the Monument of the Jewish victims of the genocide in Belgrade, on the banks of the River Danube river (1990). This last monument has served as the model for the monument in Thessaloniki, erected in 1997, and whose Jewish population was destroyed by the Nazis.

Rudolf (Rudy) Wetzer (1901-1993), footballer, who played in the National Football Team of Romania at the World Football Championship in Uruguay, in 1930, born in Temesvar, Hungary (then part of Austria-Hungary, now Timisoara in Romania). He played at various clubs, including Chinezul Timișoara, Unirea Timișoara and Juventus București, with which he was three times champion of Romania. He played 17 times in the national team of Romania, scoring 12 goals. His last match with the national team, while playing at Ripensia Timișoara, was in a 2-0 defeat against Bulgaria in Belgrade in 1932.

Wetzer also played in Yugoslavia at BSK Belgrade, where he was known as Rudolf Večer, in Hungary at Újpest FC, where he was known as Rudolf Veder, in France at Hyères FC, and at ILSA Timișoara and Craiovan Craiova clubs in Romania. He is one of the three brothers - the others being Stefan and Ioan - who were all active footballers in teams of the time. He became a coach after his retirement from playing.

In 1958, during the period of repression against opponents and minorities of the Romanian socialist government, Wetzer was prohibited from working, on the grounds of revisionist and bourgeois ideology, indiscipline and anarchism. Wetzer immigrated to Israel and died in Haifa.

Rahela Ferari (born Bella Rochelle Fraynd)(1911-1994), actress, born in Zemun, Serbia (then part of Austria-Hungary). Between 1930 and 1940 she performed at the Serbian National Theater in Novisad, and from 1940 until the German invasion of Yugoslavia in 1941, at the Art Theater in Belgrade. She again performed at the Serbian National Theater in Novisad from 1945 to 1947, and then she was one of the first members of the Yugoslav Drama Theater founded in 1947. In addition, from 1951 until 1993 Ferari appeared in about 90 films, among them Arsenik i stare cipke (1967), Ivanov (1987) and Tako je ako vam se tako cini (1968). Recognized as one of the best Yugoslav actresses after the Second World War, during her lifetime Ferrari was awarded the most prestigious prizes, including Sterija, Sedmojulska and the Dobričin prsten – a prize granted to top actors for their life's achievements. She died in Belgrade

Daniel Ozmo (1912-1942), painter, sculptor and printmaker, born in Olovo, Bosnia and Hercegovina (then part of Austria-Hungary). He grew up in Sarajevo, Bosnia. In 1934 he graduated from the Art School in Belgrade. During his studies in Belgrade he became a member of the Communist progressive youth movement. After his return to Sarajevo, he worked briefly as a professor at the First Gymnasium. He was one of the founders of Mladost (“Youth”), a group of young painters.  

His themes were focused on the life of the working class. Most of his compositions depict the various phases of a work process, the workers and their work sites, factories and sawmills. He accompanied the workers and lived with them in the forests painting their huts where they slept on wooden benches, observed and recorded the work in sawmills. In 1939 he published From Bosnian Forests, a collection of his graphic works unanimously acclaimed as the crowning achievement of his oeuvre. His works were displayed in a number of exhibitions in Sarajevo during 1932-1940 and in Belgrade in 1937.

After Yugoslavia was invaded by Nazi Germany and its allies in 1941, Ozmo was arrested and imprisoned in the Jasenovac concentration camp. In Jasenovac he drew camp inmates. In September 1942 he was executed for “spreading disturbing news."

Olga Alkalaj (1907-1942), lawyer and partisan, born in Belgrade, Serbia. She adhered to the Communist movement while attending the high school and then she joined the Communist Party of Yugoslavia (KPY) in 1923 while she was a student at the Law School of the University of Belgrade. During the 1930s she was active in Women’s Movement in Belgrade and a member of the Commission for Work with Women at the Provincial Committee of the KPY for Serbia. She became secretary of the Communist party of the Fifth District of the city of Belgrade and a member of the editorial office of the newspaper Žena danas (“Today’s Woman”). At the same time, as a lawyer she defended fellow members of the illegal Communist party in court.

After Yugoslavia was invaded by Nazi Germany and its allies in 1941, Alkalaj continued her activities under false identities. In September 1941 she was appointed a member of the Provisional Local Committee of the Yugoslav Communist Party in Belgrade. She was arrested by the Gestapo in November 1941 and tortured in order to obtain information on other members of the Yugoslav resistance. Since she did not disclose any details, she was transferred to the Banjica camp and the to Sajmište concentration camp for Jews. Because of the severe injures suffered during interrogation in Banjica, she was hospitalized in the Jewish hospital. The Communist party organized her escape, but Alkalaj refused to be rescued since her escape would trigger reprisals against the other patients in the hospital. On March 15, 1942, she was taken from the hospital in a Gaswagen (a truck equipped as a mobile gas chamber) and along with other Jews she was murdered by gassing in Jajinci.   

Oskar Danon (1913-2009), composer and conductor, born in Sarajevo, Bosnia (then part of Austria-Hungary). He studied music in his native Yugoslavia, then in Prague, Czech Republic, earning a PhD in musicology from Charles University. He was a conductor in Sarajevo until Yugoslavia was invaded by Nazi Germany and its allies in 1941.

During the war, Danon joined the partisan forces led by Josip Broz Tito. He served as deputy commander in a number of partisan battalions and reached the rank of major. In 1944 he was transferred to the Cultural Department of the Partisan General Staff and was one of the founders of the partisan theater and choir. He composed several songs, including Uz Maršala Tita ("Together with Marshal Tito"), the Yugoslav partisan anthem which became popular in German occupied Yugoslavia.

After the war he served as the musical director of the Belgrade Opera between 1944-1965. He was director of Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra in Ljubljana from 1970 to 1974, of the Radio Zagreb Symphony Orchestra, and of the Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra. Danon conducted the festive concert celebrating 400-year of Sarajevo Jewry held on October 14, 1966 in Sarajevo, attended by representatives of the local government and representatives from Israel.

Danon directed various orchestras in the world, among them the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London (1962-1963), Vienna State Opera (1964), the Verdi Theatre in Trieste, Italy. He recorded a large number of works by Smetana, Enescu, Dvořák, Rimsky-Korsakov, Prokofiev, Stravinsky Saint-Saëns, Wagner, Verdi, Mussorgsky, Puccini, Kalman, Stravinsky, Cesar Franck and others.

Danon was a professor at the Belgrade Music Academy. He was a member and president of the Association of Music Artists of Serbia. Danon was awarded the October Award of the City of Belgrade. He died in Belgrade, Serbia.

Estreja Ovadija Mara (1922-1944), partisan, National Hero of Yugoslavia, born in Bitola (Monastir), North Macedonia (then part of Yugoslavia). She was active in the WIZO organization and then in the League of Communist Youth of Yugoslavia. A textile worked, she worked in Belgrade after 1938 until March 1941, when she returned to Bitola.

After the invasion of Yugoslavia by Germany and its allies in April 1941 she joined the anti-fascist movement that immediately started preparing the armed resistance. Bitola, as part of Yugoslav Macedonia, was occupied by Bulgaria, a German ally. The Bulgarian occupation forces started persecuting the Jews and limiting their movement. In 1942 Ovadija became a member of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia. She lived illegally under the assumed name of Mara. Her missions included encouraging Jews to join the partisan units. In March 1943, she managed to escape the deportation of about 3,000 Jews from Bitola to Treblinka Nazi death camp. Along with another seven Jewish girls, including her friend Jamila Angela Isaac Colonomus, she found shelter in the house of Stojan-Bogoja Siljanovski, a tobacconist of Bitola, who hid them during the raid against the Jews conducted by the Bulgarian and German forces. On November 28, 1989, Yad Vashem recognized Stojan-Bogoja Siljanovski as Righteous Among the Nations.  

In April 1943 she joined the Goce Delcev partisan unit taking part in all the battles fought by this unit at Fuštan, Tušin and Kožuf against Bulgarian and German military. Ovadija served as deputy political commissar of her company within the Third Macedonian Brigade of partisans and on August 22, 1944, she was appointed political commissar of a battalion of the Seventh Macedonian Brigade. Four days later, on August 26, 1944, she was killed in action during a battle with Bulgarian border guards on Kajmakcalan summit.

On October 11, 1953, by order of the President of Yugoslavia, Iosip Broz Tito, Estreja Ovadija Mara was proclaimed a National Hero of Yugoslavia – the highest medal for wartime bravery in Yugoslavia. She was the only Jewish woman ever to receive this designation.  

Rosa Papo (1914-1984), physician, Major General of the Yugoslav Army, born in Sarajevo, Bosnia (then part of Austria-Hungary). She studied medecine at the University of Zagreb and before WW 2 she worked as a physician in various hospitals in Sarajevo, Begov Han and Olovo in Bosnia, then part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. After Yugoslavia was invaded by Germany and its allies in April 1941, Papo joined the partisans led by Josip Broz Tito in December 1941 and became commander of a field hospital of the Ozren unit of partisans. In 1942 she became a member of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia. Papo was in charge of the recruitment system for the health service of the partisan forces and was appointed commander of the field hospitals operated by the partisans. In 1942 she was wounded during an enemy air raid and lost one eye. Papo was advanced to the rank of captain in 1943 and a major in 1945. Most of her family, including the parents and two siblings, were killed in concentration camps. 

After WW2, Papo continued her professional medical career in the Yugoslav Army. She completed her specialization in epidemiology and was the first head of the newly formed Infectious Diseases Clinic (1961) at the Military Medical Academy (VMA). From 1965 to 1970 she was a member of the newly formed Clinic for Infectious Diseases. Author of over 50 research papers, she became a professor at the Military Medical Academy and served as president of the Central Military Medical Commission.

In 1973 Papo was advanced to the rank of Major General, the first woman to reach the rank of general not only in the Yugoslav Army, but in any other army of the Balkan countries.

Paulina Lebl-Albala (1891-1967), writer, translator and professor of literature, feminist activist, born in Belgrade, Serbia. She attended high school in Nis, Serbia, and then the Teachers' School and the First Women's Gymnasium in Belgrade, from 1905 to 1909. She continued her studies at Faculty of Philology of the University of Belgrade, graduating in Serbian and French literature in 1913.

She started her literary career as a member of the literary society Nada. Upon graduation she translated a number of works into Serbian and at the same time was employed as a teacher at the Women's High School in Belgrade. In 1920 she married Dr. David Albala (1886-1942).

In parallel she became a feminist activist. Lebl-Albala was a member of Drustvo za prosvećivanje žene i zaštitu njenih prava ("Society for Women's Enlightenment and Protection of their Rights") and in 1925 she was a co-founder of the Udruženje univerzitetski obrazovanih žena (UUOZ; Association of University-Educated Women; 1927), and served as the organization's president.

In 1940, along with her husband, she travelled to United States settling in Washington, DC, where she campaigned for Yugoslav and Jewish issues and worked for several film companies. After her husband’s death in 1942, she moved to New York. She returned to Yugoslavia after WW2. In 1948 she immigrated to Israel, but left for Rome, Italy, staying there from 1951 to 1953, then she moved to Windsor, ON, in Canada, before settling in Los Angeles, California.             

Lebl-Albala published dozens of books, articles and various translations throughout her career, including Razvoj universitetskog obrazovanja naših žena (“Development of university education of our women”, 1930), Teorija književnosti i analiza pismenih sastava za srednje i stručne škole (“Theory of Literature and Analysis of Written Compositions for Secondary and Vocational Schools”, 1923, 1930 – co-authored with Katarina Bogdanović), Deset godina rada Udruženja univerzitetski obrazovanih žena u Jugoslaviji: 1928-1938 (“Ten years of work of the Association of University Educated Women in Yugoslavia: 1928-1938”, 1939), Yugoslav women fight for freedom (1943), Dr. Albala as a Jewish National Worker (1943), Izabrana proza (“Selected Prose”, 1951), and Tako je nekad bilo ("That's how it once was", 2005) – a compilation of her memoirs.

She contributed with essays, literary discussions, criticism, reviews, stories, travel articles about women and youth, to numerous newspapers and periodicals, including Moderna žena ("Modern Women"), Misao, Ženski pokret, Prilozi, Strani pregled, Politika, Javnost, Naša stvarnost, and Krug.

Nisim Albahari (1916-1991), partisan and politician, born in Tešanj, Bosnia (then part of Austria-Hungary). His family moved to Sarajevo, where he attended high school. Albahari joined the Communist Party of Yugoslavia in 1935. Since Communist activities and organizations were illegal in Yugoslavia during the 1930s, he was arrested and sentenced to one year in prison, but after he was freed, Albahari continued to be active in the Communist party and the affiliated trade unions. Having been imprisoned for a second time in 1940 and sent to a concentration camp in Ivanjica. He managed to get out of the prison after Yugoslavia was invaded by Nazi Germany and its allies in April 1941.

Albahari joined the partisan forces led by Josip Broz Tito and was instrumental in organizing the resistance against the Axis occupation. He worked on gathering weapons and medical supplies, strengthening party organizations, and the formation of the first partisan detachments in the region of Sarajevo. He was caught and tortured by the Ustasa Croatian Fascist forces in Sarajevo. He managed to escape from prison with the help of the underground resistance and returned to the partisans. He advanced from the rank of political commissar of a partisan battalion to that of intelligence commander of the 3rd Army of the Yugoslav Partisans that liberated large Yugoslav territories in Slavonia, Croatia, and Slovenia.

After the war, Albahari served as a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia, was president of the Federation of Trade Unions of Sarajevo, member of parliament and Minister of Labor of the Yugoslav Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He was also the President of the Organizational and Political Council of the Assembly of Socialist Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina and member of the Federation Council of Yugoslavia.

In November 1953, Albahari was proclaimed a National Hero of Yugoslavia – the highest medal for wartime bravery in Yugoslavia.

His two younger brothers, David and Chaim Albahari, joined the partisan forces and were killed in action.

Julia Batino (1914-1942), women's rights activist, community leader and antifascist, born in Bitola (Monastir), North Macedonia (then part of Serbia). Batino was involved with the Jewish community of Bitola and its Zionist organizations. In 1934, when she was only 20 years old, Batino became President of the Bitola branch of WIZO in 1934. Her efforts were directed to the emancipation of Jewish women. With the help of the Jewish community of Belgrade, she managed to arrange for a number of Jewish girls of Bitola to study or work in the Yugoslav capital. Estreja Ovadija Mara, later a partisan commander, was one of those that Batino helped to travel to Belgrade. After Yugoslavia was invaded by Germany and its allies, Batino was arrested and sent to Jasenovac concentration camp where she died.  

Jankel Adler (born Jakub "Jankiel" Adler) (1895-1949), painter and engraver, born in Tuszyn, Poland (then part of the Russian Empire) into a Hassidic family. In 1912 he moved to Belgrade, Serbia, where he studied engraving with his uncle. Following various trips in the Balcans, he moved to Germany settling in Barmen (now a district of Wuppertal) in 1913. He continued his studies at the Decorative Arts Academy of Düsseldorf with Gustave Wiethüchter until 1914. During WW1, he was drafted in the Russian Army, was captured by the Germans, but he was released after a short time. He returned to Poland in 1918 where he was one of the founders of the Yung-Yiddish literary group in Lodz in 1919. In 1920 he moved to Duesseldorf, Germany, and became a teacher at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf. Adler travelled to Mallorca and the Iberian Peninsula during 1929-1930. He participated to exhibitions in Berlin, where he lived during early 1930s.

Following the rise to power of the Nazis in 1933, he left Germany and moved to Paris. In 1933 two of his paintings were displayed by the Nazis at the Mannheimer Arts Center as examples of “degenerate art”. During the 1930s he travelled extensively through Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Italy, Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. At the outbreak of WW2, he volunteered to fight in the Polish Army in France. After the retreat of the Polish units from Continental Europe, he arrived in Scotland. He was released from military service for medical reasons and settled in Kirkcudbright, Scotland, before moving to London in 1943. After the war he learned than none of his nine siblings survived the Holocaust. Adler died in Whitley Cottage, England.

Many of his paintings have Jewish themes, he also painted a few abstract compositions. His works are on display at Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich, Tate museum in London, Jewish Museum in Berlin, and Von der Heydt Museum in Wuppertal. 

Eva Nahir (born Eva Kalman, aka Eva Panić) (1919-2015), activist, born in Čakovec, Croatia (then part of Austria-Hungary). Her father, Bela Kalman, was a wealthy textile merchant and her mother was an accountant who managed the budget of the family business. They lived in a large villa and Eva had a comfortable and happy childhood with private tutors, caregivers and maids. Already at the age of six she went on vacation to Venice followed by tours to the prestigious museums, theaters and opera houses of Budapest and Vienna. She became involved in the activities of the Zionist youth movements in in Čakovec.

She married the Serbian cavalry officer Radoslav (Rada) Panić and moved to Zemun in the outskirts of Belgrade. Through her husband she became involved into left-wing political activities. After the Axis invasion of Yugoslavia in April 1941, she took refuge in the village of Mali Kruševi, where her husband was born. She and her husband joined the partisans led by Iosip Broz Tito. Eva and her husband later moved to the town of Varvarin in Serbia. Their home was a place of refuge and hiding for Serbs who were wanted by the Germans. Eva, who acted as an agent in Tito's partisan service, transferred weapons, money, forged documents, and helped the fugitives escape deportation to concentration camps.

After the establishment of the Communist regime in Yugoslavia, her husband was appointed a senior officer in the cavalry battalion of the Ministry of the Interior, as a sign of appreciation for his contribution to the fight against the Nazis. However, in 1951 he was arrested on charges of being a “Stalinist”, “Soviet spy”, and an “enemy of the people”. While in prison he committed suicide. Eva, the mother of a six-year girl, was asked to sign a statement denouncing her husband. Following her refusal, she was arrested and deported to the Goli Otok women's penitentiary on Sveti Grgur island on the Adriatic coast. She was detained there for 20 months through November 1953.

She immigrated to Israel in 1966 following her daughter Tijana. She settled in the Kibbutz Shaar Haamakim and married Moshe Nahir, one of the founders of the kibbutz. She was active in the Socialist-oriented MAPAM party and in other left-wing organizations, especially those advocating co-operation with the Israeli Arabs and the neighboring Arab countries. She served as the nutritionist of the kibbutz for years, and then moved on to run the kibbutz club. She was also active in the Association of Jews from the former Yugoslavia.

In 1989, the Serbian novelist Danilo Kiš, accompanied by journalist Raoul Teitelbaum, made a documentary about her life for the Yugoslav television. Kiš died before the four-hour film, Naked Life, directed by Alexander Mandic, was screened during four consecutive evenings on TV in Yugoslavia. The film became the talk of the day in Yugoslavia. It was the first direct testimony to what happened in Tito's horrific women's prison at Goli Otok. In 2002 her story was reworked as Eva, a film shown on Israeli television.  

Alexander Roda Roda (born Sandor Friedrich Rosenfeld) (1872-1945), author, humorist, playwright, journalist and translator, in Drnovice, Czech Republic (Drnowitz, in German, then part of Austria-Hungary). He studied law at the University of Vienna. From 1891 he served for a year as a volunteer, and later as a second and then first lieutenant in the Austrian-Hungarian Army. He became a teacher at the officer’s riding school. In 1902 he was dishonorably discharged from the Imperial Army because of his unacceptable opinions. He then became a correspondent and a journalist and started to travel throughout Europe. In 1904 he lived in Pomerania, in 1905 in Berlin, and then moved to Munich. In 1909 he was a newspaper correspondent in Belgrade. He also worked in the USSR.

During WW I Roda Roda served in the press quarters of the Austrian-Hungarian army supreme command. After the war he again changed places of residence. From 1920 till 1923 he lived in Munich, then moved to Berlin. He contributed to Die Weltbuehne. He joined the Union of German Dramatists; of the P.E.N. (Publicists, Essayists and Novelists) and the S.D.S. (Schwitzerband Deutscher Schriftsteller). In 1933, due to a satire he published about Adolf Hitler, he was expelled from Germany and settled in Austria. In 1938, with the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany, he escaped to Switzerland  and stayed in Vevey and in Geneva. He co-signed the declaration to establish the Liga fuer das geistige Oesterreich ("League for Intellectual Austria"). In 1940 Roda Roda immigrated to the USA via France, Spain and Portugal. He lived to see the downfall of the Third Reich but soon after, in August 1945, he died in New York.

He wrote comedies, satirical novels and short stories. He contributed to the Neue Freie Presse and to Simplicissimus and also wrote for cabarets and variete clubs. Roda Roda, known as the man with the red vest, was an outstanding exponent of the Viennese comic art. His well known comic play Die Feldherrnhuegel was much appreciated in Germany, but banned by the Austrian censor. His other works include Der Schnaps,der Rauchtabak und die verfluchte Liebe (1908), the autobiographical Roda Roda Roman (1925, 1950), Die Panduren (1935); and Die rote Weste’(1945). A collection of his works, in three volumes, was published in 1932-1934.

Stella Kadmon (1902-1980), actress, singer, born in Vienna, Austria (then part of Austria-Hungary). She studied acting from 1920-23 at the Vienna Academy of Music at the Volksoper. Her acting career began at the Landestheater in Linz. In 1924-1925 she appeared with the German Theater of Ostrava, Czech Republic (then in Czechoslovakia). Later she studied acting and directing with Armin Seydelmann and Max Reinhardt. In 1926-31 she performed as cabaret singer in Munich, Vienna, Berlin and Koln. She was co-founder, with Peter Hammerschlag and Gerhart Hermann Mostar, of the political, critical cabaret Der liebe Augustin, in Vienna, in 1931.

Following the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany in 1938, the new regime closed down the cabaret. Later in the year, with the aid of the German ambassador, Stella Kadmon fled to Belgrade, Yugoslavia, where she stayed with relatives. She immigrated to the land of Israel in 1939. She was director of the English-language Cabaret Papillion in Tel-Aviv from 1940-1942. In the following years Kadmon, with Arnold Chempin and Karl Guttmann, organized evenings of chansons and dramatic readings. Due to a ban under the British mandate, public performances of German authors was interdicted. They were compelled, consequently, to perform in private clubs. Their productions included Franz Werfel’s Jacobowsky und der Oberst and Bertolt Brecht’s Frucht und Elend des Dritten Reiches. Kadmon was also active in cultural programs of the Free Austrian Movement in Palestine.

In 1947 Kadmon returned to Vienna. She became director of Der liebe Augustin, which had reopened in 1945. In 1948 the cabaret changed to theatre performances. It took the name Theater der Courage, in which avant-garde plays were performed. Stella Kadmon staged numerous Austrian and world premieres of plays by Wolfgang Borchert, George Roland, Adolf Schutz, Ferdinand Bruckner, Jean Anouilh and others.

Kadmon was awarded the Honorary Silver Medal of the City of Vienna, in 1968, and the title of Professor in 1977. She also received many prizes for her work in staging. She died in Vienna in 1989.

Nadežda Čačinovič (b.1947), philosopher, sociologist and author, born in Budapest, Hungary. She was educated in Murska Sobota and Ljubljana, Slovenia, and in Belgrade, Serbia. She subsequently studied at the University of Bonn, Germany, from 1968 to 1970, and then graduated in philosophy and comparative literature in 1972 from the Faculty of Philosophy in Ljubljana in 1972. She received her PhD in 1985 from the Faculty of Philosophy in Zagreb, where she has been working since 1976 at the Department of Philosophy, first as an assistant professor and then as an assistant professor (1985), associate professor (1989) and full professor (1998). During 1995–1999 she was a guest professor at the Jan van Eyck Postgraduate Center in Maastricht, Netherlands, and in 1995 she was instrumental in the establishing of the Center for Women's Studies in Zagreb. Represents Croatia on the Executive Board of the International Aesthetics Association. Since 2009, Čačinovič has been the president of the Croatian PEN Center.

Her works include Subjekt kritičke teorije (“The subject of critical theory”, 1980), Pisanje i mišljenje (“Writing and thinking”, 1981), Estetika njemačke romantike (“Aesthetics of German Romanticism”, 1987), Estetika (“Aesthetics”, 1988), Ogled o pismenosti (“Essay on literacy”, 1994), U ženskom ključu (“In the female key”, 2001), Doba slika u teoriji mediologije (“The Age of Images in the Theory of Mediology”, 2001), Parvulla aesthetica (2004), Vodič kroz svjetsku književnost za inteligentnu ženu (“A Guide to World Literature for an Intelligent Woman”, 2007), Zašto čitati filozofe (“Why read philosophers”, 2009), Kultura i civilizacija. Što nas čini ljudima ili o procesu proizvodnje značenja i njegovim granicama (“Culture and civilization. What makes us human or about the process of producing meaning and its limits”, 2012), and O ljubavi, knjigama i stvarima koje govore (“About love, books and the things they say”, 2012).  

Suzana Djuric (Đurić) (born Suzika Büchler) (1920-), journalist and athlete, born in Osijek, Croatia (then part of Yugoslavia). She was a member of the Zagreb Maccabi Jewish sports club. Her achievements in sports include winning the junior fencing championship of Yugoslavia in 1935 and then of the senior championship in 1938. She was active in the labor movement and a member of the Communist Party of Yugoslavia. After the invasion of Yugoslavia by the Axis Powers in 1941 and the establishment of the Fascist regime in Croatia, she fled to Split on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. She joined the Yugoslav partisans led by Tito in 1942 and served at their intelligence units in Trogir and on the island of Vis and then in 19th Dalmatian Division.

After WW II, she worked for Radio Zagreb, from 1954, as a correspondent from Belgrade, and then as a news editor. In the 1970s, she moved to Belgrade and served as the editor of the Yugoslav edition of the women's magazine Burda.

Vlore

Albanian: Vlore, Vlora; Gheg Albanian: Vlone, Vlona; in Italian: Valona; during Ottoman era known in Turkish as Avlonya

Port city in south-western Albania.

 

History

According to legend Jews first came to Valona about 2000 years ago when a Roman ship with a cargo of Jewish slaves from Palestine was blown off course and landed on the Albanian coast. The local population aided the slaves who escaped the ship and allowed them to settle in the town.

In 1290, following a blood libel in their town, some Jews fleeing from Apulia settled in Valona.

There is documentary evidence from the fourteenth century of Jews living in Valona selling salt and trading with Venice.

The situation of the Jews living in the town improved when the region passed from Byzantine to Ottoman control in 1417. In 1426 the Ottomans supported the establishment of a Jewish community in Valona.

The Jewish population increased with the arrival of Jewish refugees expelled from Spain in 1492 and driven from Portugal in 1497. These Jews were less strict in their adherence to religious law than the earlier Jewish settlers who followed the Romaniot and Italian traditions.

In 1512 Rabbi David ben Judah Messer Leon, a Talmudic scholar and prolific writer on both Jewish and scientific subjects (author of Ein ha- Kore and Tehillah le-David) was brought in by the Jews of Valona to be their religious leader. He attempted to unify the Romaniot, Italian, Spanish and Portuguese Jews into one community, but disputes broke out over ritual matters causing conflict between the Portuguese and Spanish Jews. The rabbi sided with the Portuguese, launching excommunications against his opponents. After several years he was compelled to leave the town. Later in the century the community amalgamated under the leadership of Rabbi Moses ben Jacob Albelda (1500-1583), a distinguished preacher and philosopher.

In 1520 there were 528 Jewish families living in Valona out of a total of 945 (approximately 3,600 Jews out of a general population of less than 5,000.)

The Jews made an important contribution to the development of the town into a commercial center. The Jewish merchants traded with Italy, Greece, Corfu, and Bulgaria, and they controlled almost all the shipping between Venice and Valona. They imported hides, carpets, and silk from the Balkans, and silver and gold ornaments and glassware from Italy and reexported them. They had a monopoly on trade in processed hides and pitch extracted from pine trees.

In 1555 Duke Guido of Urbino ordered the expulsion from Ancona of Portuguese conversos (Jews who had converted to Christianity under force from the Inquisition).  A ship with 70 conversos departed Pesaro for Valona, but 15 disembarked in Dubrovnik and the rest were captured by marauders and sold as slaves in Apulia. A second ship reached Valona in April 1557 and most of the passengers disembarked. In 1565 the Jews of Valona joined with other Adriatic Jewish communities in a an ultimately unsuccessful boycott against Ancona.

When the Venetians captured Valona in 1690 during the “Great Turkish War” between the Republic of Venice and the Ottoman Empire, many Jews left the city and escaped to Berat; others who did not flee were captured by the Venetians and sent as slaves to Italy. When the Ottomans recaptured Valona in 1691 only a small number of  Jews returned from Berat.

A bet din (court), which was subordinate to Salonika, sat in Valona. During the 18th century the community went into a decline, became smaller in size and could no longer afford to maintain a rabbi.

Beginning in 1850, Romaniot Jews from Ioannina and Preveza settled in Valona and formed a small community. They took back the old synagogue and cemetery built by the previous Jewish settlers.

In 1904 there were 50 Jews in Valona.

When the Kingdom of Italy occupied Valona at the beginning of World War I, the synagogue became a military storage space. It was later destroyed by fire in 1915.

The Albanian rebellion forced the Italians out in 1920.

 In 1937 there were about 10 to 15 Jewish families living in Valona. The private house of Joseph Matitiah, a member of the municipal council, served as the community synagogue.

 

The Holocaust

Italy occupied Valona again in 1939. When the Germans subsequently occupied the city in 1943, the local population refused to turn over lists of Jews to the Nazis. The Albanians hid and saved all the Jews of Valona as well as several hundred Jewish refugees from other European countries who had fled to Albania after 1933, attempting to reach the land of Israel and other potential places of refuge.

 

Postwar

In 1961 there were still some Jewish families in the city, but by 1991 almost all the Jews of Valona had left and settled in Israel.

Zemun

In Serbian: Земун; in German: Semlin

A town on the Sava river, opposite Belgrade, Serbia

Under Austrian rule Zemun was part of the so-called military area and subject to special regulations. It was therefore difficult for Jews to gain a foothold there, but once they succeeded in settling, they enjoyed relative safety in this protected doorway to the Balkans.

After the Austrian conquest of Belgrade in 1717, some Jews from Austria and Germany settled there, but when Belgrade fell to the Ottoman Turks again in 1739, a group of 20 Jewish families fled to Zemun. A small but lively community was thus created inside Croatia, which was exclusively administered by Austrians in view of frequent wars and bargaining with the Turks. In 1746 the Judengemeinde was officially recognized, but Maria Theresa granted the first known written privilege to a Jew (Raphael Salomon) to live permanently in Zemun only in 1753. A few years later there was a Judengasse (Jewish street, quarter), synagogue, and Jewish school. Jews paid a contribution of 150 florins to the authorities and were goldsmiths, barrel makers, glassworkers, ironmongers, etc. They also traded with Austria; as merchants they were in an unfavorable position compared with the Austro-Germans, Serbs, and Wallachians (they were forbidden to sell hides or spirits, and the Serbian merchants' guild submitted a petition to the authorities to limit Jewish trade to scrap iron only). In view of their protected situation and due to the commercial importance of Zemun - despite restrictions - the community enjoyed a rare opportunity in being within military areas, which were generally inaccessible to Jews. In 1772 a decree was issued permitting unlimited Jewish settlement - a striking proof of their usefulness. By 1773, however, the decree was revoked and residence was restricted for a long time to the descendants of the original Jewish settlers. Although checked in its growth, this first Croatian-based community - with its semiautonomous status - played an important role among Yugoslav Jewry.

After the Austrian occupation of Belgrade (1789) some Jews fled first to Zemun, where they found temporary asylum, and later went to Hungary. During an earlier siege of nearby Belgrade, many Jews were robbed and left homeless. On this occasion an aid committee was organized in Zemun and help was received from Hungary (Szeged, Budapest, Sombor, Baja), Croatia (Osijek, Varazdin), Transylvania (Temesvar), Austria (Vienna), and Germany (Leipzig). At the end of the 18th century there were 157 Jews in Zemun. In 1804 Jews manufactured ammunition for Serbian rebels (first uprising under Karageorge), and in 1806 Jewish craftsmen also did the same for the Turks, though under duress and surveillance. Almoslino, a Jew, was the Austrian diplomatic agent to the victorious Knyaz (prince) Karageorge. During the first half of the 19th century 30 new families were granted rights to settle in Zemun, but others migrated to Bosnia. In 1862 the Zemun magistrate asked the military authorities to permit more Jews to settle within the city walls in order to promote trade and replace the war-torn city of Belgrade as a main trading center. Jews were still subjected to a special tax until the abolition of military zone status in 1871; in 1881 the free city of Zemun abolished all restrictions on Jewish settlers and was attached to the Kingdom of Croatia-Slavonia. In 1918 Zemun became part of Yugoslavia.

From 1825 to 1843 Judah Chai Alkalai, the famous rabbi and precursor of Zionism, was community leader (chakham) of Zemun. Among the first group of privileged Jews were the ancestors of Theodor Herzl; his grandfather, Simon Loew Herzl, was a follower of Rabbi Alkalai. He was imprisoned in 1849 for alleged Hungarian sympathies, but (according to the Belgrade city archives, document no. 552) was released at the community's request in order to celebrate the Jewish holidays. Herzl's grandfather and grandmother (Rebecca, née Billitz) were buried at the Zemun cemetery, while his father Jacob, who was also born in Zemun, moved to Budapest. In 1941 the community's 500 Jews and its institutions were quickly annihilated. Most of them perished in the barracks of the saymishte (fairground), which were prepared for an international exhibition. This was also used as a detention camp for Croatian Jews and others. Among those who were murdered was the writer and composer Erich (Elisha) Samlaic.

Serbia

Република Србија / Republika Srbija - Republic of Serbia

A country in southeastern Europe in the Balkan peninsula, a former Yugoslav republic.

21st Century

Estimated Jewish population in 2018: 1,400 out of 7,000,000 (0.02%). Main umbrella organization of the Jewish communities:

Savez Jevrejskih Opština Srbije (Federation of Jewish Communities of Serbia)
Phone: 381 11 262-1837
Fax: 381 11 262-2674
Email: office@savezjos.org
Website: www.savezjos.org

Novi Sad

In Serbian: Нови Сад; Hungarian: Ujvidek; German: Neusatz

A city on the Danube in Vojvodina, Serbia.

Some Jews from Belgrade seem to have settled at the foot of the later Petroraradin fortress in the 16th century. Under Ottoman rule (16th--17th centuries) they were treated well and engaged in trade on the Danube. During the Austro-Turkish war of 1683--99, Ashkenazi Jews were among the contractors to the Austrian army. When the region passed under Austrian rule in 1699, it was devastated and depopulated. Jews were therefore exceptionally authorized to settle in the new town of Neusatz opposite the fortress but were not allowed to form a recognized community. Austrian archives mention Salomon Hirschl, probably the first Rosh Kehillah of Novi Sad. At the beginning of the 18th century three Jewish families are known to have lived in Novi Sad; however, there were probably more, as only owners of real estate were registered. Most Jews came from Nikolsburg in Moravia. All Jews had to pay the Jewish tax (until the end of the 18th century). They were also subject to limitations, such as the interdiction of acquiring real estate; as only the eldest son of each family could marry in the same town, others had to leave and settle elsewhere.

The chevra kaddisha was founded in 1729 as a "holy welfare society".

Under Joseph II the teaching of German or Hungarian became obligatory, and in order to open a business or marry, Jews had to have some formal education. A Jewish school was built in Novi Sad in 1802 and a synagogue in 1829. During the Hungarian revolution of 1848--49 all Jewish property was destroyed, but in 1851 the synagogue was rebuilt, and a new, monumental one was built in 1909 (still standing in the 1970s). Previously all Vojvodina belonged to Hungary (within Austria-Hungary); however, in 1918, when Vojvodina became a part of the new Yugoslav kingdom, it formed a province closely linked with Serbia.

Until the holocaust, in 1941, there were 4,000 Jews in Novi Sad, out of a total population of 80,000. The extermination of the Jews of Novi Sad was carried out in successive waves, initially under the Hungarian occupation and later by German troops. It began with individual arrests, torture, and murders. On Jan. 21-23, 1942, a small rebellion near Novi Sad served as a pretext for the so-called "razzia", when total curfew was ordered and Jewish homes were searched and plundered while their occupants were murdered in the streets. On January 23 more than 1,400 Jews were marched to the Danube and lined up in four rows.

The ice in the frozen river was broken and throughout the day Jews, including women and children, were shot in the back, disappearing in the waters, which carried corpses down to Belgrade and beyond for weeks. Among the victims were also some 400-500 Serbs. The "razzia" caused an upheaval even in Hungarian circles, and cabled orders arrived from Budapest to stop the massacre on the evening of January 23. Several hundred survivors, half frozen and frightened to death, were released. The extermination policy continued, however.

During 1942 all male Jews between the ages of 18 and 45 were gathered into "labor batallions", maltreated, and starved, first in Hungary and then sent to the Ukrainian front, where they perished. The last phase came with the German occupation in March 1944. With the aid of Hungarians, the Germans sought out all remaining Jews and transported them to Auschwitz in May 1944. Jewish property was plundered completely, except for personal and worthless items, which were gathered into the synagogue.

About 200 Jews lived in Novi Sad in 1970, most of them survivors of P.O.W. camps.