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Oskar Danon

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.

Date of birth:
1913
Date of death:
2009
ID Number:
20673584
Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
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DANON, DANNON, DENNOUNE, DONDON

Surnames derive from one of many different origins. Sometimes there may be more than one explanation for the same name. In some cases the surname Danon may be a patronymic, derived from a male ancestor's personal name, in this case of biblical origin, derived from the Hebrew biblical male personal name Dan, which means "judge" (Genesis 49.16). In some cases Danon is derived from the Spanish title Don, meaning "Sir/Seigneur". The variants Danoun is considered to be a toponymic (derived from a geographic name of a town, city, region or country). Surnames that are based on place names do not always testify to direct origin from that place, but may indicate an indirect relation between the name-bearer or his ancestors and the place, such as birth place, temporary residence, trade, or family-relatives. The surname is associated with Danoun in Algeria. In the 20th century, Danon is recorded as a Jewish family name with the educator and author Vitalis Danon (born 1897 in Adrianopole, died 1960), who was director of the Alliance Israelite in Tunis, and published stories about the life of Tunisian Jews.

Distinguished bearers of the Jewish surname Danon include the 16th century Portuguese-born Moroccan Rabbi Moses Ibn Danon, Abraham Danon (1857-1925), an Adrianopoli (Edirne) born scholar who was an expert in Ladino and in the history of the Jews in the Ottoman Empire, and the 20th century Moroccan-born Canadian community leader Marc Danon.

Sarajevo

In Jewish sources: Sarai de Bosnia

The capital and largest city of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sarajevo has been called the "Jerusalem of the Balkans," a testament to the city's multiculturalism and the cooperation that historically took place between Muslim, Orthodox Christian, Catholic, and Jewish residents. Until the end of World War I (1918) Sarajevo was part of the Austrian Empire. From the interwar period until 1992 it was part of Yugoslavia. Sarajevo became part of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992.

As of 2016 there are approximately 1,000 Jews living in Bosnia, 700 of whom live in Sarajevo; five older members of the community still speak Ladino, the language of the community before World War II. The community center is one of the few Jewish community buildings in Europe that is not protected by security, evidence of the sense of safety felt by Sarajevo's Jewish community within the city. The community center includes an active synagogue, a Sunday school for children ages 3-12, a volunteer-run Jewish newspaper that prints 4-5 issues a year, as well as youth and student groups. Jakob Finci, the former Bosnian ambassador to Switzerland, serves as the president of the Jewish community in Bosnia. Igor Kozemjakin, who returned to Sarajevo after the Bosnian War, helps lead synagogue services. He and his wife, Anna Petruchek, translated a siddur (prayerbook) into Bosnian.

In October, 2015 the Jewish community of Sarajevo marked the 450th anniversary of Jewish life in Bosnia. Events included exhibitions, a two-day international conference, and tours to see the Sarajevo Haggadah.

SARAJEVO HAGGADAH

The Sarajevo Haggadah is perhaps one of the most famous Jewish manuscripts in the world, not only because it is one of the oldest Sephardic Haggadahs in the world, but also for its unlikely survival through some of the worst and most tragic events in Jewish and general history.

The Haggadah is handwritten, and its first 34 pages contain illustrations of major Biblical scenes, from creation through the death of Moses. Historians generally believe that the Sarajevo Haggadah was originally written in Spain, and left the country with Spanish Jews fleeing the Inquisition of 1492. Marginalia indicate that it was in Italy at some point during the 16th century. The Haggadah only reached Sarajevo at the end of the 19th century, when it was sold by Josef Kohen in 1894 to the National Museum of Sarajevo (it is unclear how Kohen came to be in possession of the Haggadah).

During World War II the museum's director, Dr. Jozo Petrovic, and the chief librarian, Dervis Korkut, hid the Sarajevo Haggadah from the Nazis; Korkut, who also saved a Jewish woman during the Holocaust, smuggled the Haggadah out of Sarajevo and gave it to a Muslim cleric in Zenica, who hid it in a mosque.

During the Bosnian War (1992-1995) thieves broke into the museum; the Haggadah was found on the floor, the thieves having discarded it because they believed it was not valuable. During the Siege of Sarajevo (1992-1996) it was stored in an underground vault, though in 1995 the president of Bosnia displayed the Haggadah during the community seder, in order to quell rumors that the Haggadah had been sold in exchange for weapons.

In 2001 the United Nations and the Bosnian Jewish community financed the restoration of the Haggadah and beginning in 2002 it went on permanent display at the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina went bankrupt in 2012, and closed its doors after not being able to pay its employees for over a year. The New York Metropolitan Museum of Art attempted to arrange for the Haggadah to be loaned to them, but due to the complicated politics of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the request was denied. The museum was reopened in September 2015 and the Sarajevo Haggadah was put back on display.

HISTORY

The first Jews came to Sarajevo in the middle of the 16th century (the first documented evidence of a Jewish presence dates to 1565). A significant number of Jews who arrived were Spanish refugees from Salonika. In spite of the fact that these new Spanish arrivals spoke a different language (Ladino) and had distinct customs, they were quickly accepted and worked mostly as artisans and merchants. Jews were known as the region's early pharmacists and hatchims (from the Arabic-Turkish word for physician, Hakim). With few exceptions, the Jewish community enjoyed good relations with their Muslim neighbors.

A Jewish Quarter was established in 1577 near the main market of Sarajevo and included a synagogue. Though the general population referred to the Jewish Quarter as the "tchifut-khan," the Jews themselves called it the "mahalla judia" (Jewish quarters) or the "cortijo" (communal yard). As the community grew the Jews began to branch out of the Jewish Quarter, since there were no legal restrictions placed on where Jews could live. Many worked as blacksmiths, tailors, shoemakers, butchers, joiners, and later as metalworkers; they also operated Sarajevo's first sawmill and traded in iron, wood, chemicals, textiles, firs, glass, and dyes.

During the Ottoman period the Jewish community of Sarajevo enjoyed a relatively high standard of living. It had religious and judicial independence and broad autonomy when it came to community affairs. The Ottoman authorities even enforced the sentences imposed by the rabbinical court when they were requested to do so. In exchange, the Jews paid a special tax (kharaj).

The Jewish Quarter, along with the synagogue, was destroyed in 1679 during the Great Turkish War. One of the notable rabbis to serve the community during this period was Rabbi Tzvi Ashkenazi from Ofen (Buda) and known as the Khakham Tzvi. Rabbi Ashkenazi lived in Sarajevo from 1686 until 1697. It was also during this period that new Jewish settlers began arriving from Rumelia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Padua, and Venice. This new wave of immigrants contributed to the community's evolution and growth during the 18th century.

In 1800 there were 1,000 Jews living in Sarajevo.

The community was officially recognized by the Ottoman sultan in the 19th century. Moses Perera was appointed as the rabbi of Sarajevo and as the hakham bashi for Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1840. The Jewish community lived largely in peace and was able to maintain its cultural and religious life. Members expanded their artisan and trade activities, and added copper, zinc, glass, and dyes to their export work. Additionally, by the middle of the 19th century all of Sarajevo and Bosnia's physicians were Jews.

The 1878 annexation of Sarajevo to Austria brought a new wave of Ashkenazi immigrants to the city, who worked as government officials, specialists, and entrepreneurs. They contributed to the country's development and modernization and were pioneers in the fields of optics, watchmaking, fine mechanics, and printing.

A number of Jews were politically active. The first European-educated physician in Bosnia, Isaac Shalom, better known as Isaac effendi, was the first Jewish member to be appointed to the provincial majlis idaret (assembly); he was succeeded by his son Salomon "effendi" Shalom. Javer (Xaver) "effendi" Baruch was elected as a deputy to the Ottoman Parliament in 1876.

By the end of the 19th century there were 10,000 Jews living in Sarajevo.

After World War I, when Sarajevo became part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the Jews of Bosnia enjoyed an unprecedented level of freedom and equality. At that point the Jewish population was 14,000, less than 1% of the general population of Bosnia.

Between 1927 and 1931 the Sephardic synagogue, the largest in the Balkans, was built; it would be desecrated and torn down by Croatian fascists and Germans less than ten years later. A theological seminary was opened in 1928 by the Federation of Jewish Communities, and offered a high school education for Jewish students. The seminary's first principal was Rabbi Moritz Levi, who wrote the first history of the Sephardim in Bosnia; he would eventually be killed during the Holocaust.

The Jews of Sarajevo enjoyed a wide range of social and cultural organizations, as well as a thriving Jewish press. La Benevolencia which was founded in 1894, was a major organization that served as a mutual aid society; two of its branches, Melacha and Geula, helped artisans and economic activities. A choir, Lyra-Sociedad de Cantar de los Judios-Espanoles, was established in 1901. La Matatja was the Jewish workers' union. The first Jewish newspaper published in Sarajevo was La Alborada, a literary weekly that appeared from 1898 until 1902. The weekly periodicals Zidovska Svijest, Jevrejska Tribuna, Narodna Tzodovska Svijest, and Jevrejski Glas, the last of which had a Ladino section, were published between 1928 and 1941.

Zionism was also active between the two World Wars. The youth movement Ha-Shomer Ha-Tza'ir was particularly popular; during the Holocaust a relatively high number of its participants, along with participants from the Matatja movement, became partisans, fighters, and leaders of the resistance movement. A Sephardic movement with separatist leanings, associated with the World Sephardi Union, was also active during the interwar period. A number of Jews became involved with the (illegal) Communist Party during the 1930s.

During the interwar period Sarajevo was the third largest Jewish center of Yugoslavia (after Zagreb and Belgrade). In 1935 there were 8,318 Jews living in the city.

Prominent figures from Sarajevo include the writer Isak Samokovlija (d. 1955). Samokovlija vividly described Bosnian Jewish life, particularly the struggles of the porters, peddlers, beggars, and artisans. The artists Daniel Ozmo, who did mostly woodcuts, Daniel Kabiljo-Danilus, and Yosif Levi-Monsino lived in Sarajevo.

THE HOLOCAUST

Sarajevo was captured and occupied by the German Army on April 15, 1941. It was subsequently included in the Independent State of Croatia, an Axis-created Nazi puppet state. That year Sarajevo's Jewish population was 10,500.

On April 16, 1941 the Sephardic synagogue, which was the largest synagogue in the Balkans, was desecrated. This was followed by repeated outbreaks of violence against Sarajevo's Jews, culminating in mass deportations. Between September and November 1941 the majority of the Jewish community of Sarajevo was deported to Croatian concentration camps, including Jasenovac, Loborgrad, and Djakovo, where most were killed. A small number of Jews survived by joining partisan groups or fleeing to Italy.

POSTWAR

A small community was revived after World War II, though most of the survivors immigrated to Israel or other countries between 1948 and 1949. The Ashkenazi synagogue, which had remained relatively intact, became the community center where services were held, and where cultural and social activities were hosted. Rabbi Menahem Romani served as the community's religious leader. A monument dedicated to the fighters and martyrs of the Second World War was erected in the Jewish cemetery in Kosovo.

In 1970 a celebration of the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the Jews in Bosnia and Herzegovina was held in 1970. The community published a memorial book to mark the occasion.

In 1971 there were 1,000 Jews living in Sarajevo.

BOSNIAN WAR

During the Bosnian War (1992-1995), Sarajevo was under siege from April 5, 1992 until February 29, 1996. During the siege 900 Jews were evacuated and taken by bus to Pirovac, near Split, and 150 were flown to Belgrade. Others, including many children, were sent to Israel. Those who remained in Sarajevo were considered neutral in the conflict, allowing them the freedom to organize humanitarian relief through La Benevolencija, which had been reestablished in 1991. La Benevolencija provided food and medicine to the people of Sarajevo, regardless of religion or ethnicity, and operated out of the community center. It also arranged for more than 2,000 people to be evacuated from the besieged city. Because the Jewish cemetery was located on a hill overlooking Sarajevo, it was used by Serbian snipers during the siege and badly damaged.

In 1997 there were 600 Jews in Bosnia and Herzegovina, about half of whom lived in Sarajevo.

Belgrade

Serbian: Beograd

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.

Prague

Capital of the Czech Republic. Formerly the capital of Czechoslovakia.

It has the oldest Jewish community in Bohemia and one of the oldest communities in Europe, for some time the largest and most revered. Jews may have arrived in Prague in late roman times, but the first document mentioning them is a report by Ibrahim Ibn Ya'qub from about 970. The first definite evidence for the existence of a Jewish community in Prague dates to 1091. Jews arrived in Prague from both the east and west around the same time. It is probably for this reason that two Jewish districts came into being there right at the beginning.

The relatively favorable conditions in which the Jews at first lived in Prague were disrupted at the time of the first crusade in 1096. The crusaders murdered many of the Jews in Prague, looted Jewish property, and forced many to accept baptism. During the siege of Prague castle in 1142, the oldest synagogue in Prague and the Jewish quarter below the castle were burned down and the Jews moved to the right bank of the river Moldau (vltava), which was to become the future Jewish quarter, and founded the "Altschul" ("old synagogue") there.

The importance of Jewish culture in Prague is evidenced by the works of the halakhists there in the 11th to 13th centuries. The most celebrated was Isaac B. Moses of Vienna (d. C. 1250) author of "Or Zaru'a". Since the Czech language was spoken by the Jews of Prague in the early middle ages, the halakhic writings of that period also contain annotations in Czech. From the 13th to 16th centuries the Jews of Prague increasingly spoke German. At the time of persecutions which began at the end of the 11th century, the Jews of Prague, together with all the other Jews of Europe, lost their status as free people. From the 13th century on, the Jews of Bohemia were considered servants of the royal chamber (servi camerae regis). Their residence in Prague was subject to the most humiliating conditions (the wearing of special dress, segregation in the ghetto, etc.). The only occupation that Jews were allowed to adopt was moneylending, since this was forbidden to Christians and considered dishonest. Socially the Jews were in an inferior position.

The community suffered from persecutions accompanied by bloodshed in the 13th and 14th centuries, particularly in 1298 and 1338. Charles IV (1346- 1378) protected the Jews, but after his death the worst attack occurred in 1389, when nearly all the Jews of Prague fell victims. The rabbi of Prague and noted kabbalist Avigdor Kara, who witnessed and survived the outbreak, described it in a selichah. Under Wenceslaus IV the Jews of Prague suffered heavy material losses following an order by the king in 1411 canceling all debts owed to Jews.

At the beginning of the 15th century the Jews of Prague found themselves at the center of the Hussite wars (1419- 1436). The Jews of Prague also suffered from mob violence (1422) in this period. The unstable conditions in Prague compelled many Jews to emigrate.

Following the legalization, at the end of the 15th century, of moneylending by non-Jews in Prague, the Jews of Prague lost the economic significance which they had held in the medieval city, and had to look for other occupations in commerce and crafts. The position of the Jews began to improve at the beginning of the 16th century, mainly owing to the assistance of the king and the nobility. The Jews found greater opportunities in trading commodities and monetary transactions with the nobility. As a consequence, their economic position improved. In 1522 there were about 600 Jews in Prague, but by 1541 they numbered about 1,200. At the same time the Jewish quarters were extended. At the end of the 15th century the Jews of Prague founded new communities.

Under pressure of the citizens, king Ferdinand I was compelled in 1541 to approve the expulsion of the Jews. The Jews had to leave Prague by 1543, but were allowed to return in 1545. In 1557 Ferdinand I once again, this time upon his own initiative, ordered the expulsion of the Jews from Prague. They had to leave the city by 1559. Only after the retirement of Ferdinand I from the government of Bohemia were the Jews allowed to return to Prague in 1562.

The favorable position of the Jewish community of Prague during the reign of Rudolf II is reflected also in the flourishing Jewish culture. Among illustrious rabbis who taught in Prague at that time were Judah Loew B. Bezalel (the "maharal"); Ephraim Solomon B. Aaron of Luntschitz; Isaiah B. Abraham ha-levi Horowitz, who taught in Prague from 1614 to 1621; and Yom Tov Lipmann Heller, who became chief rabbi in 1627 but was forced to leave in 1631. The chronicler and astronomer David Gans also lived there in this period. At the beginning of the 17th century about 6,000 Jews were living in Prague.

In 1648 the Jews of Prague distinguished themselves in the defense of the city against the invading swedes. In recognition of their acts of heroism the Emperor presented them with a special flag which is still preserved in the Altneuschul. Its design with a Swedish cap in the center of the Shield of David became the official emblem of the Prague Jewish community.

After the thirty years' war, government policy was influenced by the church counter-reformation, and measures were taken to limit the Jews' means of earning a livelihood. A number of anti-Semitic resolutions and decrees were promulgated. Only the eldest son of every family was allowed to marry and found a family, the others having to remain single or leave Bohemia.

In 1680, more than 3,000 Jews in Prague died of the plague. Shortly afterward, in 1689, the Jewish quarter burned down, and over 300 Jewish houses and 11 synagogues were destroyed. The authorities initiated and partially implemented a project to transfer all the surviving Jews to the village of Lieben (Liben) north of Prague. Great excitement was aroused in 1694 by the murder trial of the father of Simon Abeles, a 12-year-old boy, who, it was alleged, had desired to be baptized and had been killed by his father. Simon was buried in the Tyn (Thein) church, the greatest and most celebrated cathedral of the old town of Prague. Concurrently with the religious incitement against the Jews an economic struggle was waged against them.

The anti-Jewish official policy reached its climax after the accession to the throne of Maria Theresa (1740-1780), who in 1744 issued an order expelling the Jews from Bohemia and Moravia. Jews were banished but were subsequently allowed to return after they promised to pay high taxes. In the baroque period noted rabbis were Simon Spira; Elias Spira; David Oppenheim; and Ezekiel Landau, chief rabbi and rosh yeshivah (1755-93(.

The position of the Jews greatly improved under Joseph II (1780-1790), who issued the Toleranzpatent of 1782. The new policy in regard to the Jews aimed at gradual abolition of the limitations imposed upon them, so that they could become more useful to the state in a modernized economic system. At the same time, the new regulations were part of the systematic policy of germanization pursued by Joseph II. Jews were compelled to adopt family names and to establish schools for secular studies; they became subject to military service, and were required to cease using Hebrew and Yiddish in business transactions. Wealthy and enterprising Jews made good use of the advantages of Joseph's reforms. Jews who founded manufacturing enterprises were allowed to settle outside the Jewish quarter of Prague.

Subsequently the limitations imposed upon Jews were gradually removed. In 1841 the prohibition on Jews owning land was rescinded. In 1846 the Jewish tax was abolished. In 1848 Jews were granted equal rights, and by 1867 the process of legal emancipation had been completed. In 1852 the ghetto of Prague was abolished. Because of the unhygienic conditions in the former Jewish quarter the Prague municipality decided in 1896 to pull down the old quarter, with the exception of important historical sites. Thus the Altneuschul, the Pinkas and Klaus, Meisel and Hoch synagogues, and some other places of historical and artistic interest remained intact.

In 1848 the community of Prague, numbering over 10,000, was still one of the largest Jewish communities in Europe (Vienna then numbered only 4,000 Jews). In the following period of the emancipation and the post- emancipation era the Prague community increased considerably in numbers, but did not keep pace with the rapidly expanding new Jewish metropolitan centers in western, central, and Eastern Europe.

After emancipation had been achieved in 1867, emigration from Prague abroad ceased as a mass phenomenon; movement to Vienna, Germany, and Western Europe continued. Jews were now represented in industry, especially the textile, clothing, leather, shoe, and food industries, in wholesale and retail trade, and in increasing numbers in the professions and as white-collar employees. Some Jewish bankers, industrialists and merchants achieved considerable wealth. The majority of Jews in Prague belonged to the middle class, but there also remained a substantial number of poor Jews.

Emancipation brought in its wake a quiet process of secularization and assimilation. In the first decades of the 19th century Prague Jewry, which then still led its traditionalist orthodox way of life, had been disturbed by the activities of the followers of Jacob Frank. The situation changed in the second half of the century. The chief rabbinate was still occupied by outstanding scholars, like Solomon Judah Rapoport, the leader of the Haskalah movement; Markus Hirsch (1880-1889) helped to weaken the religious influence in the community. Many synagogues introduced modernized services, a shortened liturgy, the organ and mixed choir, but did not necessarily embrace the principles of the reform movement.

Jews availed themselves eagerly of the opportunities to give their children a higher secular education. Jews formed a considerable part of the German minority in Prague, and the majority adhered to liberal movements. David Kuh founded the "German liberal party of Bohemia and represented it in the Bohemian diet (1862-1873). Despite strong Germanizing factors, many Jews adhered to the Czech language, and in the last two decades of the 19th century a Czech assimilationist movement developed which gained support from the continuing influx of Jews from the rural areas. Through the influence of German nationalists from the Sudeten districts anti-Semitism developed within the German population and opposed Jewish assimilation. At the end of the 19th century Zionism struck roots among the Jews of Bohemia, especially in Prague.

Growing secularization and assimilation led to an increase of mixed marriages and abandonment of Judaism. At the time of the Czechoslovak republic, established in 1918, many more people registered their dissociation of affiliation to the Jewish faith without adopting another. The proportion of mixed marriages in Bohemia was one of the highest in Europe. The seven communities of Prague were federated in the union of Jewish religious communities of greater Prague and cooperated on many issues. They established joint institutions; among these the most important was the institute for social welfare, established in 1935. The "Afike Jehuda society for the Advancement of Jewish Studies" was founded in 1869. There were also the Jewish museum and "The Jewish historical society of Czechoslovakia". A five-grade elementary school was established with Czech as the language of instruction. The many philanthropic institutions and associations included the Jewish care for the sick, the center for social welfare, the aid committee for refugees, the aid committee for Jews from Carpatho- Russia, orphanages, hostels for apprentices, old-age homes, a home for abandoned children, free-meal associations, associations for children's vacation centers, and funds to aid students. Zionist organizations were also well represented. There were three B'nai B'rith lodges, women's organizations, youth movements, student clubs, sports organizations, and a community center. Four Jewish weeklies were published in Prague (three Zionist; one Czech- assimilationist), and several monthlies and quarterlies. Most Jewish organizations in Czechoslovakia had their headquarters in Prague.

Jews first became politically active, and some of them prominent, within the German orbit. David Kuh and the president of the Jewish community, Arnold Rosenbacher, were among the leaders of the German Liberal party in the 19th century. Bruno Kafka and Ludwig Spiegel represented its successor in the Czechoslovak republic, the German Democratic Party, in the chamber of deputies and the senate respectively. Emil Strauss represented that party in the 1930s on the Prague Municipal Council and in the Bohemian diet. From the end of the 19th century an increasing number of Jews joined Czech parties, especially T. G. Masaryk's realists and the social democratic party. Among the latter Alfred Meissner, Lev Winter, and Robert Klein rose to prominence, the first two as ministers of justice and social welfare respectively.

Zionists, though a minority, soon became the most active element among the Jews of Prague. "Barissia" - Jewish Academic Corporation, was founded in Prague in 1903, it was one of the leading academic organizations for the advancement of Zionism in Bohemia. Before World War I the students' organization "Bar Kochba", under the leadership of Samuel Hugo Bergman, became one of the centers of cultural Zionism. The Prague Zionist Arthur Mahler was elected to the Austrian parliament in 1907, though as representative of an electoral district in Galicia. Under the leadership of Ludvik Singer the "Jewish National Council" was formed in 1918. Singer was elected in 1929 to the Czechoslovak parliament, and was succeeded after his death in 1931 by Angelo Goldstein. Singer, Goldstein, Frantisek Friedmann, and Jacob Reiss represented the Zionists on the Prague municipal council also. Some important Zionist conferences took place in Prague, among them the founding conference of hitachadut in 1920, and the
18th Zionist congress in 1933.

The group of Prague German-Jewish authors which emerged in the 1880s, known as the "Prague Circle" ('der Prager Kreis'), achieved international recognition and included Franz Kafka, Max Brod, Franz Werfel, Oskar Baum, Ludwig Winder, Leo Perutz, Egon Erwin Kisch, Otto Klepetar, and Willy Haas.

During the Holocaust period, the measures e.g., deprivation of property rights, prohibition against religious, cultural, or any other form of public activity, expulsion from the professions and from schools, a ban on the use of public transportation and the telephone, affected Prague Jews much more than those still living in the provinces. Jewish organizations provided social welfare and clandestinely continued the education of the youth and the training in languages and new vocations in preparation for emigration. The Palestine office in Prague, directed by Jacob Edelstein, enabled about 19,000 Jews to emigrate legally or otherwise until the end of 1939.

In March 1940, the Prague zentralstelle extended the area of its jurisdiction to include all of Bohemia and Moravia. In an attempt to obviate the deportation of the Jews to "the east", Jewish leaders, headed by Jacob Edelstein, proposed to the zentralstelle the establishment of a self- administered concentrated Jewish communal body; the Nazis eventually exploited this proposal in the establishment of a ghetto at Theresienstadt (Terezin). The Prague Jewish community was forced to provide the Nazis with lists of candidates for deportation and to ensure that they showed up at the assembly point and boarded deportation trains. In the period from October 6, 1941, to March 16, 1945, 46,067 Jews were deported from Prague to "the east" or to Theresienstadt. Two leading officials of the Jewish community, H. Bonn and Emil Kafka were dispatched to Mauthausen concentration camp and put to death after trying to slow down the pace of the deportations. The Nazis set up a treuhandstelle ("trustee Office") over evacuated Jewish apartments, furnishings, and possessions. This office sold these goods and forwarded the proceeds to the German winterhilfe ("winter aid"). The treuhandstelle ran as many as 54 warehouses, including 11 synagogues (as a result, none of the synagogues was destroyed). The zentralstelle brought Jewish religious articles from 153 Jewish communities to Prague on a proposal by Jewish scholars. This collection, including 5,400 religious objects, 24,500 prayer books, and 6,070 items of historical value the Nazis intended to utilize for a "central museum of the defunct Jewish race". Jewish historians engaged in the creation of the museum were deported to extermination camps just before the end of the war. Thus the Jewish museum had acquired at the end of the war one of the richest collections of Judaica in the world.


Prague had a Jewish population of 10,338 in 1946, of whom 1,396 Jews had not been deported (mostly of mixed Jewish and Christian parentage); 227 Jews had gone underground; 4,986 returned from prisons, concentration camps, or Theresienstadt; 883 returned from Czechoslovak army units abroad; 613 were Czechoslovak Jewish emigres who returned; and 2,233 were Jews from Ruthenia (Carpatho-Ukraine), which had been ceded to the U.S.S.R. who decided to move to Czechoslovakia. The communist takeover of 1948 put an end to any attempt to revive the Jewish community and marked the beginning of a period of stagnation. By 1950 about half of the Jewish population had gone to Israel or immigrated to other countries. The Slansky trials and the officially promoted anti-Semitism had a destructive effect upon Jewish life. Nazi racism of the previous era was replaced by political and social discrimination. Most of the Jews of Prague were branded as "class enemies of the working people". During this
Period (1951-1964) there was no possibility of Jewish emigration from the country. The assets belonging to the Jewish community had to be relinquished to the state. The charitable organizations were disbanded, and the budget of the community, provided by the state, was drastically reduced. The general anti-religious policy of the regime resulted in the cessation, for all practical purposes, of such Jewish religious activities as bar-mitzvah religious instruction and wedding ceremonies. In 1964 only two cantors and two ritual slaughterers were left. The liberalization of the regime during 1965-1968 held out new hope for a renewal of Jewish life in Prague.

At the end of March 1967 the president of "The World Jewish Congress", Nahum Goldmann, was able to visit Prague and give a lecture in the Jewish town hall. Among the Jewish youth many tended to identify with Judaism. Following the soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 there was an attempt to put an end to this trend, however the Jewish youth, organized since 1965, carried on with their Jewish cultural activities until 1972. In the late 6os the Jewish population of Prague numbered about 2,000.

On the walls of the Pinkas synagogue, which is part of the central Jewish museum in Prague, are engraved the names of 77,297 Jews from Bohemia and Moravia who were murdered by the Nazis in 1939-1945.

In 1997 some 6,000 Jews were living in the Czech Republic, most of them in Prague. The majority of the Jews of Prague were indeed elderly, but the Jewish community's strengthened in 1990's by many Jews, mainly American, who had come to work in the republic, settled in Prague, and joined the community.

In April 2000 the central square of Prague was named Franz Kafka square. This was done thanks to the unflinching efforts and after years of straggle with the authorities, of Professor Eduard Goldstucker, a Jew born in Prague, the initiator of the idea.

The capital of Slovenia

Until 1918 Ljubljana was part of Austria. It was part of Yugoslavia until 1991, at which point it became the cultural, economic, and political center of independent Slovenia.

 

21ST CENTURY

The Jewish Community of Slovenia is located on 2 Trzaska Street in Ljubljana. The synagogue s open for major Jewish holidays.

As of 2014 there were about 100 Jews living in Slovenia, most of whom live in Ljubljana.

 

HISTORY

Individual Jews are mentioned in Ljubljana in records dating from the 12th century; synagogue repairs are mentioned in documents from 1217.

Ljubljana’s first Jews lived in a Jewish Quarter and worked as merchants, moneylenders, and artisans. They were also permitted to own real estate.

Although they were the victims of a number of blood libels during the Middle Ages, they were not expelled in 1496 along with the Jews from the regions of Carinthia and Styria. In 1513, however, their rights were curtailed when Emperor Maximilian gave into the demands of the Christian residents and forbade the city’s Jews from engaging in commerce. They were expelled from the city shortly thereafter, in 1515, and beginning in 1672 Jews were prohibited from settling anywhere in the region.

The restrictions began to be relaxed under Joseph II (who reigned from 1765-1790), who permitted the Jews to visit the fairs. During the period when Ljubljana was included within the Napoleonic Illyrian Provinces (1809-1813), Abraham Heimann, a Jewish man from Bavaria, settled in Ljubljana with two relatives, under the protection of the French governor. Heimann opened an official office for moneychanging in the city. and opened an official money changer's office. When Ljubljana reverted to Austria in 1814, the emperor confirmed Heimann's right of residence; nonetheless, Heimann was constantly struggling against the municipal authorities until the 1848 revolution.

After Jews throughout Austria-Hungary were emancipated in 1867, Jews returned to settle in
Ljubljana. By 1910 the city’s Jewish population was 116, but there was no organized community. The Jews of Ljubljana were part of the community of Graz, Austria until 1918. After Slovenia became a part of Yugoslavia, they were part of the community of Zagreb.

 

WORLD WAR II (1939-1945)

After Yugoslavia was invaded in 1941, Slovenia was divided between the Germans, Italians, and Hungarians. By 1944, however, the Germans controlled all of Slovenia. Nearly all of Slovenia’s Jews were killed.

 

POSTWAR

Ljubljana founded a community after the war. In 1969 it had 84 members.

 

The capital of Croatia

Zagreb was part of Yugoslavia after World War I (1914-1918). Since 1995 it has been part of independent Croatia.

 

21ST CENTURY

Zagreb’s Jewish community center is located at Palmoticeva 16, and includes a synagogue, an art gallery, a Holocaust research and documentation center, and a library. A second community, Bet Israel, is located at Mazuranicev Trg 6, and includes a synagogue and library.

The Mirogoj Cemetery includes a number of Jewish graves.

The Jewish Museum opened in Zagreb on September 4, 2016. It has exhibitions about the Jewish community of Zagreb.

 

HISTORY

The first Jews known to have lived in Croatia, who probably lived in Zagreb, were Mar Saul and Mar Joseph, the emissaries of King Kresimir to Abd al-Rachman III, the Caliph of Cordoba, during the 10th century.

During the 13th century Jews began arriving in Zagreb from France, Malta, and Albania, and by the end of the 14th century there were a number of Jews who had permanently settled in the city. Zagreb’s city chronicles from 1444 mention a community house or synagogue (domus judaeorum). Most worked as merchants and moneylenders.

In 1526 the Jews were expelled from Croatia. For more than two centuries there was no Jewish presence in Zagreb.

New Jewish settlers arrived in Croatia in the mid-18th century from Bohemia, Moravia, and Hungary. A Jewish community was officially founded in 1806, and by the 1840s Zagreb was home to about 50 Jewish families.

A smaller Orthodox community was founded in Zagreb in 1841. Community institutions that were established during the second half of the 19th century included a chevra kaddisha (1859), and a synagogue (1867). The synagogue was constructed by Franjo (Francis) Klein, one of Zagreb’s most important architects in Croatia, and functioned until 1941, when it was destroyed by the pro-Nazi Ustashe. A cemetery was consecrated in 1876. The philanthropist Ljudevit Schwarz was a major figure in the establishment of a Jewish home for the aged; it still functioned in 1970 as the central Jewish home for the aged in Yugoslavia. Jacques Epstein founded the Association for Humanism, the first public assistance organization in Croatia. 1898 saw the establishment of a union of Jewish high school students, which became a training ground for future community and Zionist leaders.

Zagreb’s first rabbi was Aaron Palota (1809-1849). Rabbi Hosea Jacoby later served the community for 50 years; Jacoby organized religious life in the city, and established a school and a Talmud Torah.

The Jews of Zagreb, and throughout Croatia, dealt with no small amount of antisemitism. In 1858 there was a blood libel in Zagreb, and the merchant and artisan guilds incited the local population against the Jews. Croatian representatives were opposed to the official recognition of Jewish civil rights, which were not established until 1873.

In spite of the hardships, Zagreb’s Jewish community became the largest in Yugoslavia, and the community was active culturally and politically. Between the two World Wars Zionism became increasingly popular in Croatia, and Zagreb was chosen as the headquarters of the Zionist Federation, led by Alexander Licht. Organizations that were active in Zagreb included a branch of the Maccabi sports club, a choir, women's and youth organizations, and a union of Jewish employees. The leading Jewish newspapers in Yugoslavia, such as the Zionist weekly “Zidov” ("Jew"), were published in the city.

The Jews of Zagreb also contributed significantly to the city’s development. Jews were among the pioneers in the export business, as well as in local industry. Lavoslav (Leopold) Hartmann, Croatia’s first librarian, organized lending libraries, and also founded a printing press. The chairman of the community, Dr. Mavro (Maurice) Sachs, was among the founders of forensic medicine in Croatia; David Schwartz invented the first rigid airship in Zagreb. Rabbis Gavro Schwarz and Shalom Freiberger were major figures in the field of Jewish historical studies.

Other prominent artists included the painter Oscar Hermann; the sculptor Slavko Bril; the pianist Julius Epstein; and the bandmaster Anton Schwarz. A Jewish art monthly magazine, “Ommanut,” was published in Zagreb between 1937 and 1941, ceasing in the wake of the Nazi invasion of Yugoslavia.

 

THE HOLOCAUST

About 12,000 Jews lived in Zagreb in 1941. The vast majority of Croatian Jews were killed during the war.

 

POSTWAR

Between 1948 and 1952 almost half of the survivors from Zagreb’s Jewish community left the country, and by 1970 the Jewish population of the city was 1,200. Yugoslavia’s community government nationalized nearly all of the property owned by the Jewish Community of Zagreb, including the land where the synagogue once stood.

In 1997 there were 2,000 Jews living in Croatia, most of whom lived in Zagreb.

 

Trieste

Port in North Italy.


Jews may have lived there before the end of the 14th century, but there is no authoritative information. After the city's annexation to Austria in 1382 Jews from Germany settled there; some were subject to the dukes of Austria and some to the local rulers. Jews soon took the place of Tuscan moneylenders in the economic life of the city. During the middle ages they were engaged in loan-banking and trade; in the 14th century one of them served as the official city banker in the town hall. The Jewish banker Moses and his brother Cazino, who lived in the Rione del Mercato, are mentioned in 1359. The Jews tended to live in the Riborgo neighborhood, then the civic and commercial center. During the middle ages they were

The 15th century was a period of development for the small Jewish community. Two Jewish bankers dominated the period; Salomone D'oro and Isacco da Trieste. In 1509 the emperor Maximilian I granted to Isacco the position of schutzjude, or the protected Jew. It is important to stress the position of Jewish women, who sometimes directed the family's banking establishment. As in the other imperial possessions, Jews were obliged to wear the yellow badge. In 1583 there was an abortive attempt to expel the Jews.

During the 17th century Trieste's patriciate took an unfavorable stand towards the Jews, asking the imperial authorities for their expulsion. The imperial authorities resisted the pressure and the Jews were not expelled. However, in 1695 the 11 Jewish families in the city, around 70 people, were enclosed in the so-called Old Ghetto, or Trauner Ghetto. The Jews petitioned the authorities successfully for healthier site, and in 1696 the Jewish ghetto was erected in the Riborgo neighborhood, near the harbor.

However, by the middle of the 18th century Jews had again begun to live outside the ghetto. At that time they were traders and craftsmen and some of them were factors to the Austrian court. Emperor Joseph II's Toleranzpatent of 1781 gave legal sanction to the gradually improving condition of the Jews in Trieste, and in 1785 the gates of the ghetto were destroyed. In 1746 the Universita degli Ebrei, or Jewish community, was constituted. In this period there were 120 Jews living in Trieste. The most important families were the Morpurgo, Parente, Levi, and Luzzatto. In the same year the first synagogue was erected, the so-called Scuola Piccola. Maria Theresa permitted the richest Jewish families to live outside the ghetto. Moreover, Marco Levi, head of the community, received the title of Hoffaktor in 1765. In 1771 Maria Theresa granted a series of privileges to the Nazione Ebrea.

In the 18th century Jews were traders and craftsmen and some of them were factors to the Austrian court. One of the most distinguished scholars of the mid-18 century was Rabbi Isacco Formiggini. Emperor Joseph II in 1782 gave legal sanction to the gradually improving conditions of the Jews in Trieste, and in 1785 the gates of the ghetto were destroyed. There were around 670 Jews in 1788. In 1775 the Scuola Grande or the Great Synagogue was erected, the building also included a Sephardi synagogue.

The rabbis and scholars of the community, from the 17th to Isaac Formiggini, Mordechai Luzzatto, Raphael Nathan Tedeschi, joseph Hezekiah Gallico, Abraham Eliezer Levi, Rahel Morpurgo (the poetess), Vittorio Castiglioni, A. Curiel, and H. P. Chajes. Samuel David Luzzatto ("shadal"), was a native of Trieste. The writer Italo Svevo lived in Trieste which was the locale of his novels. Il Corriere Israelitico, a Jewish newspaper in Italian, was published in Trieste from 1862 to 1915.

In 1796 the community inaugurated a Jewish school under the chief rabbi Raffael Nathan Tedesco. This school was in part inspired by the proposals of N.H. Wessely. The first Hebrew work printed in Trieste was Samuel Romanelli's Italian-Hebrew grammar, published in 1799. Tedesco was followed by Abramo Eliezer Levi, who was the chief rabbi of Trieste between 1802 and 1825. In 1800 1,200 Jews lived in Trieste.

The 19th century was the golden age of Trieste Jewry. During that time, some members of the community played an active part in the Risorgimento and the irredentist struggle which culminated in Trieste becoming part of Italy in 1919. Trieste Jews, such as writer Italo Svevo and the poet Umberto Saba, were central in creation of the Italian intellectual world. Il Corriere Israeliticom, a Jewish newspaper in Italian, was published in Trieste from 1862 to 1915. In the 1850s some Hebrew books were printed, including Ghirondi –Neppi's 'Toledot Gedolei Yisrael' (1853). The Jewish printer Jonah Cohen was active in the 1860s. His illustrated Passover Haggadah with and without Italian translation (1864) was a memorable production.

The number of Jews increased gradually in the 19th century. In 1848 there were around 3,000 Jews, in 1869 there were 4,421, and in 1910, 5,160 Jews lived in Trieste. The monumental new synagogue in Via Donizzetti opened in 1912 and it was inaugurated by chief rabbi Zvi Perez Chajes. It followed the Ashkenazi rite. After World War I Trieste was the main port for Jews from Central and Eastern Europe who immigrated to Erez Israel.

According to the census of 193, the Jewish community of Trieste had 4,671 members. Census data for 1938 recorded 5,381 Jews in Trieste, belonging for the most part to the lower and middle sectors of the middle class. The racial laws at the end of 1938 caused an initial period of disorientation, including many conversions, the withdrawal of membership of many community leaders and members, and the emigration of most foreign Jews. In October 1941, the first visible acts of intimidation occurred. Temples were defaced with anti-Semitic slogans and red ink. Vandalism and violence recurred in July 1942 when several fascist squads devastated the temple and assaulted defenseless passers-by, shops were sacked, and by then, the Jewish community of Trieste had no more than 2,500 members.

During the holocaust the Nazis executed raids against the Jewish population on October 9, 1943 and January 20, 1944, the latter against aged and ill people in the gentilome home. Jews who were recovering in hospitals throughout the city, including a hospital for the chronically ill were seized. After being arrested, the Jews were taken to the Coroneo prison and to the Risiera di San Sabba, the only concentration camp with a crematorium in Italy. From October 1943 to February 1945, about 60 convoys left Trieste, all headed for the concentration camps of Central and Eastern Europe. According to estimates, 708 Jews were from Trieste, and only 23 returned. Some Jews from Trieste joined the partisans and died in combat. The number of those who were converted to Catholicism in that period was very high, in comparison with other Jewish communities in Italy. During the struggle to liberate Italy, Rita Rosani, a Trieste-born Jewish partisan was particularly distinguished.

After the war about 1,500 Jews remained in Trieste; by 1965 the number had fallen to 1,052, out of a total of 280,000 inhabitants, partly because of the excess of deaths over births. In 1969 the community, numbering about 1,000, had a synagogue and a prayer house of Ashkenazi rite, school, as well as a home for the aged.

In the early 21st century the Jewish population of Trieste was around 600.

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Oskar Danon

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.

Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People

Trieste
Zagreb
Ljubljana
Prague
Belgrade
Sarajevo

Trieste

Port in North Italy.


Jews may have lived there before the end of the 14th century, but there is no authoritative information. After the city's annexation to Austria in 1382 Jews from Germany settled there; some were subject to the dukes of Austria and some to the local rulers. Jews soon took the place of Tuscan moneylenders in the economic life of the city. During the middle ages they were engaged in loan-banking and trade; in the 14th century one of them served as the official city banker in the town hall. The Jewish banker Moses and his brother Cazino, who lived in the Rione del Mercato, are mentioned in 1359. The Jews tended to live in the Riborgo neighborhood, then the civic and commercial center. During the middle ages they were

The 15th century was a period of development for the small Jewish community. Two Jewish bankers dominated the period; Salomone D'oro and Isacco da Trieste. In 1509 the emperor Maximilian I granted to Isacco the position of schutzjude, or the protected Jew. It is important to stress the position of Jewish women, who sometimes directed the family's banking establishment. As in the other imperial possessions, Jews were obliged to wear the yellow badge. In 1583 there was an abortive attempt to expel the Jews.

During the 17th century Trieste's patriciate took an unfavorable stand towards the Jews, asking the imperial authorities for their expulsion. The imperial authorities resisted the pressure and the Jews were not expelled. However, in 1695 the 11 Jewish families in the city, around 70 people, were enclosed in the so-called Old Ghetto, or Trauner Ghetto. The Jews petitioned the authorities successfully for healthier site, and in 1696 the Jewish ghetto was erected in the Riborgo neighborhood, near the harbor.

However, by the middle of the 18th century Jews had again begun to live outside the ghetto. At that time they were traders and craftsmen and some of them were factors to the Austrian court. Emperor Joseph II's Toleranzpatent of 1781 gave legal sanction to the gradually improving condition of the Jews in Trieste, and in 1785 the gates of the ghetto were destroyed. In 1746 the Universita degli Ebrei, or Jewish community, was constituted. In this period there were 120 Jews living in Trieste. The most important families were the Morpurgo, Parente, Levi, and Luzzatto. In the same year the first synagogue was erected, the so-called Scuola Piccola. Maria Theresa permitted the richest Jewish families to live outside the ghetto. Moreover, Marco Levi, head of the community, received the title of Hoffaktor in 1765. In 1771 Maria Theresa granted a series of privileges to the Nazione Ebrea.

In the 18th century Jews were traders and craftsmen and some of them were factors to the Austrian court. One of the most distinguished scholars of the mid-18 century was Rabbi Isacco Formiggini. Emperor Joseph II in 1782 gave legal sanction to the gradually improving conditions of the Jews in Trieste, and in 1785 the gates of the ghetto were destroyed. There were around 670 Jews in 1788. In 1775 the Scuola Grande or the Great Synagogue was erected, the building also included a Sephardi synagogue.

The rabbis and scholars of the community, from the 17th to Isaac Formiggini, Mordechai Luzzatto, Raphael Nathan Tedeschi, joseph Hezekiah Gallico, Abraham Eliezer Levi, Rahel Morpurgo (the poetess), Vittorio Castiglioni, A. Curiel, and H. P. Chajes. Samuel David Luzzatto ("shadal"), was a native of Trieste. The writer Italo Svevo lived in Trieste which was the locale of his novels. Il Corriere Israelitico, a Jewish newspaper in Italian, was published in Trieste from 1862 to 1915.

In 1796 the community inaugurated a Jewish school under the chief rabbi Raffael Nathan Tedesco. This school was in part inspired by the proposals of N.H. Wessely. The first Hebrew work printed in Trieste was Samuel Romanelli's Italian-Hebrew grammar, published in 1799. Tedesco was followed by Abramo Eliezer Levi, who was the chief rabbi of Trieste between 1802 and 1825. In 1800 1,200 Jews lived in Trieste.

The 19th century was the golden age of Trieste Jewry. During that time, some members of the community played an active part in the Risorgimento and the irredentist struggle which culminated in Trieste becoming part of Italy in 1919. Trieste Jews, such as writer Italo Svevo and the poet Umberto Saba, were central in creation of the Italian intellectual world. Il Corriere Israeliticom, a Jewish newspaper in Italian, was published in Trieste from 1862 to 1915. In the 1850s some Hebrew books were printed, including Ghirondi –Neppi's 'Toledot Gedolei Yisrael' (1853). The Jewish printer Jonah Cohen was active in the 1860s. His illustrated Passover Haggadah with and without Italian translation (1864) was a memorable production.

The number of Jews increased gradually in the 19th century. In 1848 there were around 3,000 Jews, in 1869 there were 4,421, and in 1910, 5,160 Jews lived in Trieste. The monumental new synagogue in Via Donizzetti opened in 1912 and it was inaugurated by chief rabbi Zvi Perez Chajes. It followed the Ashkenazi rite. After World War I Trieste was the main port for Jews from Central and Eastern Europe who immigrated to Erez Israel.

According to the census of 193, the Jewish community of Trieste had 4,671 members. Census data for 1938 recorded 5,381 Jews in Trieste, belonging for the most part to the lower and middle sectors of the middle class. The racial laws at the end of 1938 caused an initial period of disorientation, including many conversions, the withdrawal of membership of many community leaders and members, and the emigration of most foreign Jews. In October 1941, the first visible acts of intimidation occurred. Temples were defaced with anti-Semitic slogans and red ink. Vandalism and violence recurred in July 1942 when several fascist squads devastated the temple and assaulted defenseless passers-by, shops were sacked, and by then, the Jewish community of Trieste had no more than 2,500 members.

During the holocaust the Nazis executed raids against the Jewish population on October 9, 1943 and January 20, 1944, the latter against aged and ill people in the gentilome home. Jews who were recovering in hospitals throughout the city, including a hospital for the chronically ill were seized. After being arrested, the Jews were taken to the Coroneo prison and to the Risiera di San Sabba, the only concentration camp with a crematorium in Italy. From October 1943 to February 1945, about 60 convoys left Trieste, all headed for the concentration camps of Central and Eastern Europe. According to estimates, 708 Jews were from Trieste, and only 23 returned. Some Jews from Trieste joined the partisans and died in combat. The number of those who were converted to Catholicism in that period was very high, in comparison with other Jewish communities in Italy. During the struggle to liberate Italy, Rita Rosani, a Trieste-born Jewish partisan was particularly distinguished.

After the war about 1,500 Jews remained in Trieste; by 1965 the number had fallen to 1,052, out of a total of 280,000 inhabitants, partly because of the excess of deaths over births. In 1969 the community, numbering about 1,000, had a synagogue and a prayer house of Ashkenazi rite, school, as well as a home for the aged.

In the early 21st century the Jewish population of Trieste was around 600.

The capital of Croatia

Zagreb was part of Yugoslavia after World War I (1914-1918). Since 1995 it has been part of independent Croatia.

 

21ST CENTURY

Zagreb’s Jewish community center is located at Palmoticeva 16, and includes a synagogue, an art gallery, a Holocaust research and documentation center, and a library. A second community, Bet Israel, is located at Mazuranicev Trg 6, and includes a synagogue and library.

The Mirogoj Cemetery includes a number of Jewish graves.

The Jewish Museum opened in Zagreb on September 4, 2016. It has exhibitions about the Jewish community of Zagreb.

 

HISTORY

The first Jews known to have lived in Croatia, who probably lived in Zagreb, were Mar Saul and Mar Joseph, the emissaries of King Kresimir to Abd al-Rachman III, the Caliph of Cordoba, during the 10th century.

During the 13th century Jews began arriving in Zagreb from France, Malta, and Albania, and by the end of the 14th century there were a number of Jews who had permanently settled in the city. Zagreb’s city chronicles from 1444 mention a community house or synagogue (domus judaeorum). Most worked as merchants and moneylenders.

In 1526 the Jews were expelled from Croatia. For more than two centuries there was no Jewish presence in Zagreb.

New Jewish settlers arrived in Croatia in the mid-18th century from Bohemia, Moravia, and Hungary. A Jewish community was officially founded in 1806, and by the 1840s Zagreb was home to about 50 Jewish families.

A smaller Orthodox community was founded in Zagreb in 1841. Community institutions that were established during the second half of the 19th century included a chevra kaddisha (1859), and a synagogue (1867). The synagogue was constructed by Franjo (Francis) Klein, one of Zagreb’s most important architects in Croatia, and functioned until 1941, when it was destroyed by the pro-Nazi Ustashe. A cemetery was consecrated in 1876. The philanthropist Ljudevit Schwarz was a major figure in the establishment of a Jewish home for the aged; it still functioned in 1970 as the central Jewish home for the aged in Yugoslavia. Jacques Epstein founded the Association for Humanism, the first public assistance organization in Croatia. 1898 saw the establishment of a union of Jewish high school students, which became a training ground for future community and Zionist leaders.

Zagreb’s first rabbi was Aaron Palota (1809-1849). Rabbi Hosea Jacoby later served the community for 50 years; Jacoby organized religious life in the city, and established a school and a Talmud Torah.

The Jews of Zagreb, and throughout Croatia, dealt with no small amount of antisemitism. In 1858 there was a blood libel in Zagreb, and the merchant and artisan guilds incited the local population against the Jews. Croatian representatives were opposed to the official recognition of Jewish civil rights, which were not established until 1873.

In spite of the hardships, Zagreb’s Jewish community became the largest in Yugoslavia, and the community was active culturally and politically. Between the two World Wars Zionism became increasingly popular in Croatia, and Zagreb was chosen as the headquarters of the Zionist Federation, led by Alexander Licht. Organizations that were active in Zagreb included a branch of the Maccabi sports club, a choir, women's and youth organizations, and a union of Jewish employees. The leading Jewish newspapers in Yugoslavia, such as the Zionist weekly “Zidov” ("Jew"), were published in the city.

The Jews of Zagreb also contributed significantly to the city’s development. Jews were among the pioneers in the export business, as well as in local industry. Lavoslav (Leopold) Hartmann, Croatia’s first librarian, organized lending libraries, and also founded a printing press. The chairman of the community, Dr. Mavro (Maurice) Sachs, was among the founders of forensic medicine in Croatia; David Schwartz invented the first rigid airship in Zagreb. Rabbis Gavro Schwarz and Shalom Freiberger were major figures in the field of Jewish historical studies.

Other prominent artists included the painter Oscar Hermann; the sculptor Slavko Bril; the pianist Julius Epstein; and the bandmaster Anton Schwarz. A Jewish art monthly magazine, “Ommanut,” was published in Zagreb between 1937 and 1941, ceasing in the wake of the Nazi invasion of Yugoslavia.

 

THE HOLOCAUST

About 12,000 Jews lived in Zagreb in 1941. The vast majority of Croatian Jews were killed during the war.

 

POSTWAR

Between 1948 and 1952 almost half of the survivors from Zagreb’s Jewish community left the country, and by 1970 the Jewish population of the city was 1,200. Yugoslavia’s community government nationalized nearly all of the property owned by the Jewish Community of Zagreb, including the land where the synagogue once stood.

In 1997 there were 2,000 Jews living in Croatia, most of whom lived in Zagreb.

 

The capital of Slovenia

Until 1918 Ljubljana was part of Austria. It was part of Yugoslavia until 1991, at which point it became the cultural, economic, and political center of independent Slovenia.

 

21ST CENTURY

The Jewish Community of Slovenia is located on 2 Trzaska Street in Ljubljana. The synagogue s open for major Jewish holidays.

As of 2014 there were about 100 Jews living in Slovenia, most of whom live in Ljubljana.

 

HISTORY

Individual Jews are mentioned in Ljubljana in records dating from the 12th century; synagogue repairs are mentioned in documents from 1217.

Ljubljana’s first Jews lived in a Jewish Quarter and worked as merchants, moneylenders, and artisans. They were also permitted to own real estate.

Although they were the victims of a number of blood libels during the Middle Ages, they were not expelled in 1496 along with the Jews from the regions of Carinthia and Styria. In 1513, however, their rights were curtailed when Emperor Maximilian gave into the demands of the Christian residents and forbade the city’s Jews from engaging in commerce. They were expelled from the city shortly thereafter, in 1515, and beginning in 1672 Jews were prohibited from settling anywhere in the region.

The restrictions began to be relaxed under Joseph II (who reigned from 1765-1790), who permitted the Jews to visit the fairs. During the period when Ljubljana was included within the Napoleonic Illyrian Provinces (1809-1813), Abraham Heimann, a Jewish man from Bavaria, settled in Ljubljana with two relatives, under the protection of the French governor. Heimann opened an official office for moneychanging in the city. and opened an official money changer's office. When Ljubljana reverted to Austria in 1814, the emperor confirmed Heimann's right of residence; nonetheless, Heimann was constantly struggling against the municipal authorities until the 1848 revolution.

After Jews throughout Austria-Hungary were emancipated in 1867, Jews returned to settle in
Ljubljana. By 1910 the city’s Jewish population was 116, but there was no organized community. The Jews of Ljubljana were part of the community of Graz, Austria until 1918. After Slovenia became a part of Yugoslavia, they were part of the community of Zagreb.

 

WORLD WAR II (1939-1945)

After Yugoslavia was invaded in 1941, Slovenia was divided between the Germans, Italians, and Hungarians. By 1944, however, the Germans controlled all of Slovenia. Nearly all of Slovenia’s Jews were killed.

 

POSTWAR

Ljubljana founded a community after the war. In 1969 it had 84 members.

 

Prague

Capital of the Czech Republic. Formerly the capital of Czechoslovakia.

It has the oldest Jewish community in Bohemia and one of the oldest communities in Europe, for some time the largest and most revered. Jews may have arrived in Prague in late roman times, but the first document mentioning them is a report by Ibrahim Ibn Ya'qub from about 970. The first definite evidence for the existence of a Jewish community in Prague dates to 1091. Jews arrived in Prague from both the east and west around the same time. It is probably for this reason that two Jewish districts came into being there right at the beginning.

The relatively favorable conditions in which the Jews at first lived in Prague were disrupted at the time of the first crusade in 1096. The crusaders murdered many of the Jews in Prague, looted Jewish property, and forced many to accept baptism. During the siege of Prague castle in 1142, the oldest synagogue in Prague and the Jewish quarter below the castle were burned down and the Jews moved to the right bank of the river Moldau (vltava), which was to become the future Jewish quarter, and founded the "Altschul" ("old synagogue") there.

The importance of Jewish culture in Prague is evidenced by the works of the halakhists there in the 11th to 13th centuries. The most celebrated was Isaac B. Moses of Vienna (d. C. 1250) author of "Or Zaru'a". Since the Czech language was spoken by the Jews of Prague in the early middle ages, the halakhic writings of that period also contain annotations in Czech. From the 13th to 16th centuries the Jews of Prague increasingly spoke German. At the time of persecutions which began at the end of the 11th century, the Jews of Prague, together with all the other Jews of Europe, lost their status as free people. From the 13th century on, the Jews of Bohemia were considered servants of the royal chamber (servi camerae regis). Their residence in Prague was subject to the most humiliating conditions (the wearing of special dress, segregation in the ghetto, etc.). The only occupation that Jews were allowed to adopt was moneylending, since this was forbidden to Christians and considered dishonest. Socially the Jews were in an inferior position.

The community suffered from persecutions accompanied by bloodshed in the 13th and 14th centuries, particularly in 1298 and 1338. Charles IV (1346- 1378) protected the Jews, but after his death the worst attack occurred in 1389, when nearly all the Jews of Prague fell victims. The rabbi of Prague and noted kabbalist Avigdor Kara, who witnessed and survived the outbreak, described it in a selichah. Under Wenceslaus IV the Jews of Prague suffered heavy material losses following an order by the king in 1411 canceling all debts owed to Jews.

At the beginning of the 15th century the Jews of Prague found themselves at the center of the Hussite wars (1419- 1436). The Jews of Prague also suffered from mob violence (1422) in this period. The unstable conditions in Prague compelled many Jews to emigrate.

Following the legalization, at the end of the 15th century, of moneylending by non-Jews in Prague, the Jews of Prague lost the economic significance which they had held in the medieval city, and had to look for other occupations in commerce and crafts. The position of the Jews began to improve at the beginning of the 16th century, mainly owing to the assistance of the king and the nobility. The Jews found greater opportunities in trading commodities and monetary transactions with the nobility. As a consequence, their economic position improved. In 1522 there were about 600 Jews in Prague, but by 1541 they numbered about 1,200. At the same time the Jewish quarters were extended. At the end of the 15th century the Jews of Prague founded new communities.

Under pressure of the citizens, king Ferdinand I was compelled in 1541 to approve the expulsion of the Jews. The Jews had to leave Prague by 1543, but were allowed to return in 1545. In 1557 Ferdinand I once again, this time upon his own initiative, ordered the expulsion of the Jews from Prague. They had to leave the city by 1559. Only after the retirement of Ferdinand I from the government of Bohemia were the Jews allowed to return to Prague in 1562.

The favorable position of the Jewish community of Prague during the reign of Rudolf II is reflected also in the flourishing Jewish culture. Among illustrious rabbis who taught in Prague at that time were Judah Loew B. Bezalel (the "maharal"); Ephraim Solomon B. Aaron of Luntschitz; Isaiah B. Abraham ha-levi Horowitz, who taught in Prague from 1614 to 1621; and Yom Tov Lipmann Heller, who became chief rabbi in 1627 but was forced to leave in 1631. The chronicler and astronomer David Gans also lived there in this period. At the beginning of the 17th century about 6,000 Jews were living in Prague.

In 1648 the Jews of Prague distinguished themselves in the defense of the city against the invading swedes. In recognition of their acts of heroism the Emperor presented them with a special flag which is still preserved in the Altneuschul. Its design with a Swedish cap in the center of the Shield of David became the official emblem of the Prague Jewish community.

After the thirty years' war, government policy was influenced by the church counter-reformation, and measures were taken to limit the Jews' means of earning a livelihood. A number of anti-Semitic resolutions and decrees were promulgated. Only the eldest son of every family was allowed to marry and found a family, the others having to remain single or leave Bohemia.

In 1680, more than 3,000 Jews in Prague died of the plague. Shortly afterward, in 1689, the Jewish quarter burned down, and over 300 Jewish houses and 11 synagogues were destroyed. The authorities initiated and partially implemented a project to transfer all the surviving Jews to the village of Lieben (Liben) north of Prague. Great excitement was aroused in 1694 by the murder trial of the father of Simon Abeles, a 12-year-old boy, who, it was alleged, had desired to be baptized and had been killed by his father. Simon was buried in the Tyn (Thein) church, the greatest and most celebrated cathedral of the old town of Prague. Concurrently with the religious incitement against the Jews an economic struggle was waged against them.

The anti-Jewish official policy reached its climax after the accession to the throne of Maria Theresa (1740-1780), who in 1744 issued an order expelling the Jews from Bohemia and Moravia. Jews were banished but were subsequently allowed to return after they promised to pay high taxes. In the baroque period noted rabbis were Simon Spira; Elias Spira; David Oppenheim; and Ezekiel Landau, chief rabbi and rosh yeshivah (1755-93(.

The position of the Jews greatly improved under Joseph II (1780-1790), who issued the Toleranzpatent of 1782. The new policy in regard to the Jews aimed at gradual abolition of the limitations imposed upon them, so that they could become more useful to the state in a modernized economic system. At the same time, the new regulations were part of the systematic policy of germanization pursued by Joseph II. Jews were compelled to adopt family names and to establish schools for secular studies; they became subject to military service, and were required to cease using Hebrew and Yiddish in business transactions. Wealthy and enterprising Jews made good use of the advantages of Joseph's reforms. Jews who founded manufacturing enterprises were allowed to settle outside the Jewish quarter of Prague.

Subsequently the limitations imposed upon Jews were gradually removed. In 1841 the prohibition on Jews owning land was rescinded. In 1846 the Jewish tax was abolished. In 1848 Jews were granted equal rights, and by 1867 the process of legal emancipation had been completed. In 1852 the ghetto of Prague was abolished. Because of the unhygienic conditions in the former Jewish quarter the Prague municipality decided in 1896 to pull down the old quarter, with the exception of important historical sites. Thus the Altneuschul, the Pinkas and Klaus, Meisel and Hoch synagogues, and some other places of historical and artistic interest remained intact.

In 1848 the community of Prague, numbering over 10,000, was still one of the largest Jewish communities in Europe (Vienna then numbered only 4,000 Jews). In the following period of the emancipation and the post- emancipation era the Prague community increased considerably in numbers, but did not keep pace with the rapidly expanding new Jewish metropolitan centers in western, central, and Eastern Europe.

After emancipation had been achieved in 1867, emigration from Prague abroad ceased as a mass phenomenon; movement to Vienna, Germany, and Western Europe continued. Jews were now represented in industry, especially the textile, clothing, leather, shoe, and food industries, in wholesale and retail trade, and in increasing numbers in the professions and as white-collar employees. Some Jewish bankers, industrialists and merchants achieved considerable wealth. The majority of Jews in Prague belonged to the middle class, but there also remained a substantial number of poor Jews.

Emancipation brought in its wake a quiet process of secularization and assimilation. In the first decades of the 19th century Prague Jewry, which then still led its traditionalist orthodox way of life, had been disturbed by the activities of the followers of Jacob Frank. The situation changed in the second half of the century. The chief rabbinate was still occupied by outstanding scholars, like Solomon Judah Rapoport, the leader of the Haskalah movement; Markus Hirsch (1880-1889) helped to weaken the religious influence in the community. Many synagogues introduced modernized services, a shortened liturgy, the organ and mixed choir, but did not necessarily embrace the principles of the reform movement.

Jews availed themselves eagerly of the opportunities to give their children a higher secular education. Jews formed a considerable part of the German minority in Prague, and the majority adhered to liberal movements. David Kuh founded the "German liberal party of Bohemia and represented it in the Bohemian diet (1862-1873). Despite strong Germanizing factors, many Jews adhered to the Czech language, and in the last two decades of the 19th century a Czech assimilationist movement developed which gained support from the continuing influx of Jews from the rural areas. Through the influence of German nationalists from the Sudeten districts anti-Semitism developed within the German population and opposed Jewish assimilation. At the end of the 19th century Zionism struck roots among the Jews of Bohemia, especially in Prague.

Growing secularization and assimilation led to an increase of mixed marriages and abandonment of Judaism. At the time of the Czechoslovak republic, established in 1918, many more people registered their dissociation of affiliation to the Jewish faith without adopting another. The proportion of mixed marriages in Bohemia was one of the highest in Europe. The seven communities of Prague were federated in the union of Jewish religious communities of greater Prague and cooperated on many issues. They established joint institutions; among these the most important was the institute for social welfare, established in 1935. The "Afike Jehuda society for the Advancement of Jewish Studies" was founded in 1869. There were also the Jewish museum and "The Jewish historical society of Czechoslovakia". A five-grade elementary school was established with Czech as the language of instruction. The many philanthropic institutions and associations included the Jewish care for the sick, the center for social welfare, the aid committee for refugees, the aid committee for Jews from Carpatho- Russia, orphanages, hostels for apprentices, old-age homes, a home for abandoned children, free-meal associations, associations for children's vacation centers, and funds to aid students. Zionist organizations were also well represented. There were three B'nai B'rith lodges, women's organizations, youth movements, student clubs, sports organizations, and a community center. Four Jewish weeklies were published in Prague (three Zionist; one Czech- assimilationist), and several monthlies and quarterlies. Most Jewish organizations in Czechoslovakia had their headquarters in Prague.

Jews first became politically active, and some of them prominent, within the German orbit. David Kuh and the president of the Jewish community, Arnold Rosenbacher, were among the leaders of the German Liberal party in the 19th century. Bruno Kafka and Ludwig Spiegel represented its successor in the Czechoslovak republic, the German Democratic Party, in the chamber of deputies and the senate respectively. Emil Strauss represented that party in the 1930s on the Prague Municipal Council and in the Bohemian diet. From the end of the 19th century an increasing number of Jews joined Czech parties, especially T. G. Masaryk's realists and the social democratic party. Among the latter Alfred Meissner, Lev Winter, and Robert Klein rose to prominence, the first two as ministers of justice and social welfare respectively.

Zionists, though a minority, soon became the most active element among the Jews of Prague. "Barissia" - Jewish Academic Corporation, was founded in Prague in 1903, it was one of the leading academic organizations for the advancement of Zionism in Bohemia. Before World War I the students' organization "Bar Kochba", under the leadership of Samuel Hugo Bergman, became one of the centers of cultural Zionism. The Prague Zionist Arthur Mahler was elected to the Austrian parliament in 1907, though as representative of an electoral district in Galicia. Under the leadership of Ludvik Singer the "Jewish National Council" was formed in 1918. Singer was elected in 1929 to the Czechoslovak parliament, and was succeeded after his death in 1931 by Angelo Goldstein. Singer, Goldstein, Frantisek Friedmann, and Jacob Reiss represented the Zionists on the Prague municipal council also. Some important Zionist conferences took place in Prague, among them the founding conference of hitachadut in 1920, and the
18th Zionist congress in 1933.

The group of Prague German-Jewish authors which emerged in the 1880s, known as the "Prague Circle" ('der Prager Kreis'), achieved international recognition and included Franz Kafka, Max Brod, Franz Werfel, Oskar Baum, Ludwig Winder, Leo Perutz, Egon Erwin Kisch, Otto Klepetar, and Willy Haas.

During the Holocaust period, the measures e.g., deprivation of property rights, prohibition against religious, cultural, or any other form of public activity, expulsion from the professions and from schools, a ban on the use of public transportation and the telephone, affected Prague Jews much more than those still living in the provinces. Jewish organizations provided social welfare and clandestinely continued the education of the youth and the training in languages and new vocations in preparation for emigration. The Palestine office in Prague, directed by Jacob Edelstein, enabled about 19,000 Jews to emigrate legally or otherwise until the end of 1939.

In March 1940, the Prague zentralstelle extended the area of its jurisdiction to include all of Bohemia and Moravia. In an attempt to obviate the deportation of the Jews to "the east", Jewish leaders, headed by Jacob Edelstein, proposed to the zentralstelle the establishment of a self- administered concentrated Jewish communal body; the Nazis eventually exploited this proposal in the establishment of a ghetto at Theresienstadt (Terezin). The Prague Jewish community was forced to provide the Nazis with lists of candidates for deportation and to ensure that they showed up at the assembly point and boarded deportation trains. In the period from October 6, 1941, to March 16, 1945, 46,067 Jews were deported from Prague to "the east" or to Theresienstadt. Two leading officials of the Jewish community, H. Bonn and Emil Kafka were dispatched to Mauthausen concentration camp and put to death after trying to slow down the pace of the deportations. The Nazis set up a treuhandstelle ("trustee Office") over evacuated Jewish apartments, furnishings, and possessions. This office sold these goods and forwarded the proceeds to the German winterhilfe ("winter aid"). The treuhandstelle ran as many as 54 warehouses, including 11 synagogues (as a result, none of the synagogues was destroyed). The zentralstelle brought Jewish religious articles from 153 Jewish communities to Prague on a proposal by Jewish scholars. This collection, including 5,400 religious objects, 24,500 prayer books, and 6,070 items of historical value the Nazis intended to utilize for a "central museum of the defunct Jewish race". Jewish historians engaged in the creation of the museum were deported to extermination camps just before the end of the war. Thus the Jewish museum had acquired at the end of the war one of the richest collections of Judaica in the world.


Prague had a Jewish population of 10,338 in 1946, of whom 1,396 Jews had not been deported (mostly of mixed Jewish and Christian parentage); 227 Jews had gone underground; 4,986 returned from prisons, concentration camps, or Theresienstadt; 883 returned from Czechoslovak army units abroad; 613 were Czechoslovak Jewish emigres who returned; and 2,233 were Jews from Ruthenia (Carpatho-Ukraine), which had been ceded to the U.S.S.R. who decided to move to Czechoslovakia. The communist takeover of 1948 put an end to any attempt to revive the Jewish community and marked the beginning of a period of stagnation. By 1950 about half of the Jewish population had gone to Israel or immigrated to other countries. The Slansky trials and the officially promoted anti-Semitism had a destructive effect upon Jewish life. Nazi racism of the previous era was replaced by political and social discrimination. Most of the Jews of Prague were branded as "class enemies of the working people". During this
Period (1951-1964) there was no possibility of Jewish emigration from the country. The assets belonging to the Jewish community had to be relinquished to the state. The charitable organizations were disbanded, and the budget of the community, provided by the state, was drastically reduced. The general anti-religious policy of the regime resulted in the cessation, for all practical purposes, of such Jewish religious activities as bar-mitzvah religious instruction and wedding ceremonies. In 1964 only two cantors and two ritual slaughterers were left. The liberalization of the regime during 1965-1968 held out new hope for a renewal of Jewish life in Prague.

At the end of March 1967 the president of "The World Jewish Congress", Nahum Goldmann, was able to visit Prague and give a lecture in the Jewish town hall. Among the Jewish youth many tended to identify with Judaism. Following the soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 there was an attempt to put an end to this trend, however the Jewish youth, organized since 1965, carried on with their Jewish cultural activities until 1972. In the late 6os the Jewish population of Prague numbered about 2,000.

On the walls of the Pinkas synagogue, which is part of the central Jewish museum in Prague, are engraved the names of 77,297 Jews from Bohemia and Moravia who were murdered by the Nazis in 1939-1945.

In 1997 some 6,000 Jews were living in the Czech Republic, most of them in Prague. The majority of the Jews of Prague were indeed elderly, but the Jewish community's strengthened in 1990's by many Jews, mainly American, who had come to work in the republic, settled in Prague, and joined the community.

In April 2000 the central square of Prague was named Franz Kafka square. This was done thanks to the unflinching efforts and after years of straggle with the authorities, of Professor Eduard Goldstucker, a Jew born in Prague, the initiator of the idea.
Belgrade

Serbian: Beograd

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.

Sarajevo

In Jewish sources: Sarai de Bosnia

The capital and largest city of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Sarajevo has been called the "Jerusalem of the Balkans," a testament to the city's multiculturalism and the cooperation that historically took place between Muslim, Orthodox Christian, Catholic, and Jewish residents. Until the end of World War I (1918) Sarajevo was part of the Austrian Empire. From the interwar period until 1992 it was part of Yugoslavia. Sarajevo became part of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992.

As of 2016 there are approximately 1,000 Jews living in Bosnia, 700 of whom live in Sarajevo; five older members of the community still speak Ladino, the language of the community before World War II. The community center is one of the few Jewish community buildings in Europe that is not protected by security, evidence of the sense of safety felt by Sarajevo's Jewish community within the city. The community center includes an active synagogue, a Sunday school for children ages 3-12, a volunteer-run Jewish newspaper that prints 4-5 issues a year, as well as youth and student groups. Jakob Finci, the former Bosnian ambassador to Switzerland, serves as the president of the Jewish community in Bosnia. Igor Kozemjakin, who returned to Sarajevo after the Bosnian War, helps lead synagogue services. He and his wife, Anna Petruchek, translated a siddur (prayerbook) into Bosnian.

In October, 2015 the Jewish community of Sarajevo marked the 450th anniversary of Jewish life in Bosnia. Events included exhibitions, a two-day international conference, and tours to see the Sarajevo Haggadah.

SARAJEVO HAGGADAH

The Sarajevo Haggadah is perhaps one of the most famous Jewish manuscripts in the world, not only because it is one of the oldest Sephardic Haggadahs in the world, but also for its unlikely survival through some of the worst and most tragic events in Jewish and general history.

The Haggadah is handwritten, and its first 34 pages contain illustrations of major Biblical scenes, from creation through the death of Moses. Historians generally believe that the Sarajevo Haggadah was originally written in Spain, and left the country with Spanish Jews fleeing the Inquisition of 1492. Marginalia indicate that it was in Italy at some point during the 16th century. The Haggadah only reached Sarajevo at the end of the 19th century, when it was sold by Josef Kohen in 1894 to the National Museum of Sarajevo (it is unclear how Kohen came to be in possession of the Haggadah).

During World War II the museum's director, Dr. Jozo Petrovic, and the chief librarian, Dervis Korkut, hid the Sarajevo Haggadah from the Nazis; Korkut, who also saved a Jewish woman during the Holocaust, smuggled the Haggadah out of Sarajevo and gave it to a Muslim cleric in Zenica, who hid it in a mosque.

During the Bosnian War (1992-1995) thieves broke into the museum; the Haggadah was found on the floor, the thieves having discarded it because they believed it was not valuable. During the Siege of Sarajevo (1992-1996) it was stored in an underground vault, though in 1995 the president of Bosnia displayed the Haggadah during the community seder, in order to quell rumors that the Haggadah had been sold in exchange for weapons.

In 2001 the United Nations and the Bosnian Jewish community financed the restoration of the Haggadah and beginning in 2002 it went on permanent display at the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina went bankrupt in 2012, and closed its doors after not being able to pay its employees for over a year. The New York Metropolitan Museum of Art attempted to arrange for the Haggadah to be loaned to them, but due to the complicated politics of Bosnia and Herzegovina, the request was denied. The museum was reopened in September 2015 and the Sarajevo Haggadah was put back on display.

HISTORY

The first Jews came to Sarajevo in the middle of the 16th century (the first documented evidence of a Jewish presence dates to 1565). A significant number of Jews who arrived were Spanish refugees from Salonika. In spite of the fact that these new Spanish arrivals spoke a different language (Ladino) and had distinct customs, they were quickly accepted and worked mostly as artisans and merchants. Jews were known as the region's early pharmacists and hatchims (from the Arabic-Turkish word for physician, Hakim). With few exceptions, the Jewish community enjoyed good relations with their Muslim neighbors.

A Jewish Quarter was established in 1577 near the main market of Sarajevo and included a synagogue. Though the general population referred to the Jewish Quarter as the "tchifut-khan," the Jews themselves called it the "mahalla judia" (Jewish quarters) or the "cortijo" (communal yard). As the community grew the Jews began to branch out of the Jewish Quarter, since there were no legal restrictions placed on where Jews could live. Many worked as blacksmiths, tailors, shoemakers, butchers, joiners, and later as metalworkers; they also operated Sarajevo's first sawmill and traded in iron, wood, chemicals, textiles, firs, glass, and dyes.

During the Ottoman period the Jewish community of Sarajevo enjoyed a relatively high standard of living. It had religious and judicial independence and broad autonomy when it came to community affairs. The Ottoman authorities even enforced the sentences imposed by the rabbinical court when they were requested to do so. In exchange, the Jews paid a special tax (kharaj).

The Jewish Quarter, along with the synagogue, was destroyed in 1679 during the Great Turkish War. One of the notable rabbis to serve the community during this period was Rabbi Tzvi Ashkenazi from Ofen (Buda) and known as the Khakham Tzvi. Rabbi Ashkenazi lived in Sarajevo from 1686 until 1697. It was also during this period that new Jewish settlers began arriving from Rumelia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Padua, and Venice. This new wave of immigrants contributed to the community's evolution and growth during the 18th century.

In 1800 there were 1,000 Jews living in Sarajevo.

The community was officially recognized by the Ottoman sultan in the 19th century. Moses Perera was appointed as the rabbi of Sarajevo and as the hakham bashi for Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1840. The Jewish community lived largely in peace and was able to maintain its cultural and religious life. Members expanded their artisan and trade activities, and added copper, zinc, glass, and dyes to their export work. Additionally, by the middle of the 19th century all of Sarajevo and Bosnia's physicians were Jews.

The 1878 annexation of Sarajevo to Austria brought a new wave of Ashkenazi immigrants to the city, who worked as government officials, specialists, and entrepreneurs. They contributed to the country's development and modernization and were pioneers in the fields of optics, watchmaking, fine mechanics, and printing.

A number of Jews were politically active. The first European-educated physician in Bosnia, Isaac Shalom, better known as Isaac effendi, was the first Jewish member to be appointed to the provincial majlis idaret (assembly); he was succeeded by his son Salomon "effendi" Shalom. Javer (Xaver) "effendi" Baruch was elected as a deputy to the Ottoman Parliament in 1876.

By the end of the 19th century there were 10,000 Jews living in Sarajevo.

After World War I, when Sarajevo became part of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the Jews of Bosnia enjoyed an unprecedented level of freedom and equality. At that point the Jewish population was 14,000, less than 1% of the general population of Bosnia.

Between 1927 and 1931 the Sephardic synagogue, the largest in the Balkans, was built; it would be desecrated and torn down by Croatian fascists and Germans less than ten years later. A theological seminary was opened in 1928 by the Federation of Jewish Communities, and offered a high school education for Jewish students. The seminary's first principal was Rabbi Moritz Levi, who wrote the first history of the Sephardim in Bosnia; he would eventually be killed during the Holocaust.

The Jews of Sarajevo enjoyed a wide range of social and cultural organizations, as well as a thriving Jewish press. La Benevolencia which was founded in 1894, was a major organization that served as a mutual aid society; two of its branches, Melacha and Geula, helped artisans and economic activities. A choir, Lyra-Sociedad de Cantar de los Judios-Espanoles, was established in 1901. La Matatja was the Jewish workers' union. The first Jewish newspaper published in Sarajevo was La Alborada, a literary weekly that appeared from 1898 until 1902. The weekly periodicals Zidovska Svijest, Jevrejska Tribuna, Narodna Tzodovska Svijest, and Jevrejski Glas, the last of which had a Ladino section, were published between 1928 and 1941.

Zionism was also active between the two World Wars. The youth movement Ha-Shomer Ha-Tza'ir was particularly popular; during the Holocaust a relatively high number of its participants, along with participants from the Matatja movement, became partisans, fighters, and leaders of the resistance movement. A Sephardic movement with separatist leanings, associated with the World Sephardi Union, was also active during the interwar period. A number of Jews became involved with the (illegal) Communist Party during the 1930s.

During the interwar period Sarajevo was the third largest Jewish center of Yugoslavia (after Zagreb and Belgrade). In 1935 there were 8,318 Jews living in the city.

Prominent figures from Sarajevo include the writer Isak Samokovlija (d. 1955). Samokovlija vividly described Bosnian Jewish life, particularly the struggles of the porters, peddlers, beggars, and artisans. The artists Daniel Ozmo, who did mostly woodcuts, Daniel Kabiljo-Danilus, and Yosif Levi-Monsino lived in Sarajevo.

THE HOLOCAUST

Sarajevo was captured and occupied by the German Army on April 15, 1941. It was subsequently included in the Independent State of Croatia, an Axis-created Nazi puppet state. That year Sarajevo's Jewish population was 10,500.

On April 16, 1941 the Sephardic synagogue, which was the largest synagogue in the Balkans, was desecrated. This was followed by repeated outbreaks of violence against Sarajevo's Jews, culminating in mass deportations. Between September and November 1941 the majority of the Jewish community of Sarajevo was deported to Croatian concentration camps, including Jasenovac, Loborgrad, and Djakovo, where most were killed. A small number of Jews survived by joining partisan groups or fleeing to Italy.

POSTWAR

A small community was revived after World War II, though most of the survivors immigrated to Israel or other countries between 1948 and 1949. The Ashkenazi synagogue, which had remained relatively intact, became the community center where services were held, and where cultural and social activities were hosted. Rabbi Menahem Romani served as the community's religious leader. A monument dedicated to the fighters and martyrs of the Second World War was erected in the Jewish cemetery in Kosovo.

In 1970 a celebration of the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the Jews in Bosnia and Herzegovina was held in 1970. The community published a memorial book to mark the occasion.

In 1971 there were 1,000 Jews living in Sarajevo.

BOSNIAN WAR

During the Bosnian War (1992-1995), Sarajevo was under siege from April 5, 1992 until February 29, 1996. During the siege 900 Jews were evacuated and taken by bus to Pirovac, near Split, and 150 were flown to Belgrade. Others, including many children, were sent to Israel. Those who remained in Sarajevo were considered neutral in the conflict, allowing them the freedom to organize humanitarian relief through La Benevolencija, which had been reestablished in 1991. La Benevolencija provided food and medicine to the people of Sarajevo, regardless of religion or ethnicity, and operated out of the community center. It also arranged for more than 2,000 people to be evacuated from the besieged city. Because the Jewish cemetery was located on a hill overlooking Sarajevo, it was used by Serbian snipers during the siege and badly damaged.

In 1997 there were 600 Jews in Bosnia and Herzegovina, about half of whom lived in Sarajevo.

DANON
DANON, DANNON, DENNOUNE, DONDON

Surnames derive from one of many different origins. Sometimes there may be more than one explanation for the same name. In some cases the surname Danon may be a patronymic, derived from a male ancestor's personal name, in this case of biblical origin, derived from the Hebrew biblical male personal name Dan, which means "judge" (Genesis 49.16). In some cases Danon is derived from the Spanish title Don, meaning "Sir/Seigneur". The variants Danoun is considered to be a toponymic (derived from a geographic name of a town, city, region or country). Surnames that are based on place names do not always testify to direct origin from that place, but may indicate an indirect relation between the name-bearer or his ancestors and the place, such as birth place, temporary residence, trade, or family-relatives. The surname is associated with Danoun in Algeria. In the 20th century, Danon is recorded as a Jewish family name with the educator and author Vitalis Danon (born 1897 in Adrianopole, died 1960), who was director of the Alliance Israelite in Tunis, and published stories about the life of Tunisian Jews.

Distinguished bearers of the Jewish surname Danon include the 16th century Portuguese-born Moroccan Rabbi Moses Ibn Danon, Abraham Danon (1857-1925), an Adrianopoli (Edirne) born scholar who was an expert in Ladino and in the history of the Jews in the Ottoman Empire, and the 20th century Moroccan-born Canadian community leader Marc Danon.