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Solomon Ohev

Solomon (Shlomo) Ohev (aka Oeff, Ohef) (d. after 1623), rabbi and businessman, lived in Dubrovnik, Croatia (then the Republic of Ragusa, a free state). He is documented as a resident of Dubrovnik during the 1580s. Apart from being a rabbi, Oeff was a skillful businessman who invested in the maritime trade. Following the trial against Isaac Yeshuron, a moneylender and merchant of Dubrovnik and a victim of a blood libel, Ohev left the city in 1623. His comments were published along with those of his grandson Aaron Ben David Cohen of Ragusa as Shemen Ha-Tov in Venice in 1657. 

Date of death:
1620s
ID Number:
21373012
Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
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Aaron Ben David Cohen of Ragusa (d.1656), rabbi and merchant in in Dubrovnik, Croatia (then the Republic of Ragusa, a free state). After studying in Venice, Aaron returned to Dubrovnik and engaged in commerce. His import and export business became the most important Jewish commercial house in the city. In 1622, at the time of the blood accusation against Isaac Yeshuron, a moneylender and merchant of Dubrovnik, Aaron and his father were arrested. Aaron is remembered for his will, that included guidance for moral behavior and study to his children and provided for the publication of 800 copies of a book that will contain his Torah commentaries along with those of his grandfather, Rabbi Solomon (Shlomo) Ohev. The book was published in Venice in 1657, one year after his death. Known as Zekan Aharon, the book includes, in addition to Torah commentaries, an account of the blood accusation of Ragusa and a thanksgiving poem for recital on the annual commemoration of the event. This part of the book was reprinted separately as Ma'aseh Nissim in Venice in 1798.   

Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik

In Italian: Ragusa

A port town in Croatia, in the former Yugoslavia. Dubrovnik was a free city-state known as the Republic of Ragusa, however it was tributary of the Ottoman Empire from 1382 to 1804. It was occupied by the French Revolutionary forces and then by those of the Austrian Empire. Between 1815-1919 Dubrovnik was part of Austria. From 1919 until 1991, Dobrovnik was part of Yugoslavia.

After the Spanish expulsion in 1492 many refugees passed through on their way to the Balkan cities under Turkish rule. They settled in Dubrovnik and others joined them from the southern Italy expulsions in 1514-15. Their success in commerce caused repeated expulsion orders, which were revoked on the intervention of the Sultan. The Jews dealt mainly in fabrics, silk, wool, leather, and spices. In 1546, a ghetto was established which was enlarged 40 years later when there were 50 Jews, some with their families. Among them were doctors in state service who needed special permission from Rome to treat Christians.

The most important Jewish family in the 16th and 17th centuries was that of Rabbi Aaron b. David Ha-Kohen from Florence, Italy, who established trade connections with Jews throughout Europe. In 1614, the Senate gave concessions to the Jewish merchants to entice them to settle in the city. Due to a blood libel against Isaac Yeshurun in 1622, most Jews left for Turkey or Venice and only four families remained in Dubrovnik. The church increased its pressure, directing local hatred against the Jews, but the Turkish sultan stood by them and refused to pass anti-Jewish measures.

In the 18th century the Jewish population increased; there were 218 Jews out of a total population of around 6,000. The archives mention Jewish schools, teachers, weddings, and a Jewish book seller. Jews played a part in international commerce and were pioneers in marine insurance. With the economic decline of Dubrovnik restrictions were imposed on all foreigners, and because of this the Jews were forbidden, in 1755, to deal in commerce, and had to live within the ghetto. Under French rule (1808- 15) all the restrictions against the Jews were annulled.

When Dubrovnik passed to Austria in 1815, laws applied to Jews in Austria became valid in Dubrovnik too, for example, Jews had to obtain permission from Vienna to get married. Full emancipation was only granted in 1873.

When after World War I Dubrovnik became part of Yugoslavia, the Jewish population had decreased.

There were 308 Jews living in the city in 1815, and 250 in 1939.

The Holocaust Period

Dubrovnik was occupied by the Italian army in April 1941 and administered by the independent Croat State of Croatia under the Quisling Pavelic. Jewish property was confiscated. The Italians, however, did not allow mass deportations, so many refugees from other parts of Yugoslavia went to Dubrovnik. In November 1942, under German instructions, the Italians interned 750 Jews on the nearby island of Lopud; from there they were moved in June 1943 to the camp at Rab in north Dalmatia with most Jews from Italian-occupied territories in Yugoslavia. During the brief interregnum between the fall of Italy and German occupation, many Jews were transported by the partisans to the liberated territory on the mainland. The rest were sent by the Germans to concentration camps.

After the war, 28 refugees from Dubrovnik settled in Israel. In 1969, 31 Jews lived in Dubrovnik, their rabbi serving as chief rabbi for South Dalmatia, Herzegovina, and Montenegro. From time to time, prayer services are held at the old synagogue.

During the war between Bosnia and Croatia at the beginning of the 1990’s the synagogue was damaged in a bombardment. The building was repaired and renovated after the war by the community.

In 1998, 30 Jews lived in the community of Dubrovnik. Dr. Bruno Horowitz, a native of Stanislavov, Ukraine (formerly Poland), served as head of the community.

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Would you like to help us improving the content? Send us your suggestions
Solomon Ohev

Solomon (Shlomo) Ohev (aka Oeff, Ohef) (d. after 1623), rabbi and businessman, lived in Dubrovnik, Croatia (then the Republic of Ragusa, a free state). He is documented as a resident of Dubrovnik during the 1580s. Apart from being a rabbi, Oeff was a skillful businessman who invested in the maritime trade. Following the trial against Isaac Yeshuron, a moneylender and merchant of Dubrovnik and a victim of a blood libel, Ohev left the city in 1623. His comments were published along with those of his grandson Aaron Ben David Cohen of Ragusa as Shemen Ha-Tov in Venice in 1657. 

Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People

Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik

Dubrovnik

In Italian: Ragusa

A port town in Croatia, in the former Yugoslavia. Dubrovnik was a free city-state known as the Republic of Ragusa, however it was tributary of the Ottoman Empire from 1382 to 1804. It was occupied by the French Revolutionary forces and then by those of the Austrian Empire. Between 1815-1919 Dubrovnik was part of Austria. From 1919 until 1991, Dobrovnik was part of Yugoslavia.

After the Spanish expulsion in 1492 many refugees passed through on their way to the Balkan cities under Turkish rule. They settled in Dubrovnik and others joined them from the southern Italy expulsions in 1514-15. Their success in commerce caused repeated expulsion orders, which were revoked on the intervention of the Sultan. The Jews dealt mainly in fabrics, silk, wool, leather, and spices. In 1546, a ghetto was established which was enlarged 40 years later when there were 50 Jews, some with their families. Among them were doctors in state service who needed special permission from Rome to treat Christians.

The most important Jewish family in the 16th and 17th centuries was that of Rabbi Aaron b. David Ha-Kohen from Florence, Italy, who established trade connections with Jews throughout Europe. In 1614, the Senate gave concessions to the Jewish merchants to entice them to settle in the city. Due to a blood libel against Isaac Yeshurun in 1622, most Jews left for Turkey or Venice and only four families remained in Dubrovnik. The church increased its pressure, directing local hatred against the Jews, but the Turkish sultan stood by them and refused to pass anti-Jewish measures.

In the 18th century the Jewish population increased; there were 218 Jews out of a total population of around 6,000. The archives mention Jewish schools, teachers, weddings, and a Jewish book seller. Jews played a part in international commerce and were pioneers in marine insurance. With the economic decline of Dubrovnik restrictions were imposed on all foreigners, and because of this the Jews were forbidden, in 1755, to deal in commerce, and had to live within the ghetto. Under French rule (1808- 15) all the restrictions against the Jews were annulled.

When Dubrovnik passed to Austria in 1815, laws applied to Jews in Austria became valid in Dubrovnik too, for example, Jews had to obtain permission from Vienna to get married. Full emancipation was only granted in 1873.

When after World War I Dubrovnik became part of Yugoslavia, the Jewish population had decreased.

There were 308 Jews living in the city in 1815, and 250 in 1939.

The Holocaust Period

Dubrovnik was occupied by the Italian army in April 1941 and administered by the independent Croat State of Croatia under the Quisling Pavelic. Jewish property was confiscated. The Italians, however, did not allow mass deportations, so many refugees from other parts of Yugoslavia went to Dubrovnik. In November 1942, under German instructions, the Italians interned 750 Jews on the nearby island of Lopud; from there they were moved in June 1943 to the camp at Rab in north Dalmatia with most Jews from Italian-occupied territories in Yugoslavia. During the brief interregnum between the fall of Italy and German occupation, many Jews were transported by the partisans to the liberated territory on the mainland. The rest were sent by the Germans to concentration camps.

After the war, 28 refugees from Dubrovnik settled in Israel. In 1969, 31 Jews lived in Dubrovnik, their rabbi serving as chief rabbi for South Dalmatia, Herzegovina, and Montenegro. From time to time, prayer services are held at the old synagogue.

During the war between Bosnia and Croatia at the beginning of the 1990’s the synagogue was damaged in a bombardment. The building was repaired and renovated after the war by the community.

In 1998, 30 Jews lived in the community of Dubrovnik. Dr. Bruno Horowitz, a native of Stanislavov, Ukraine (formerly Poland), served as head of the community.

Aaron Ben David Cohen

Aaron Ben David Cohen of Ragusa (d.1656), rabbi and merchant in in Dubrovnik, Croatia (then the Republic of Ragusa, a free state). After studying in Venice, Aaron returned to Dubrovnik and engaged in commerce. His import and export business became the most important Jewish commercial house in the city. In 1622, at the time of the blood accusation against Isaac Yeshuron, a moneylender and merchant of Dubrovnik, Aaron and his father were arrested. Aaron is remembered for his will, that included guidance for moral behavior and study to his children and provided for the publication of 800 copies of a book that will contain his Torah commentaries along with those of his grandfather, Rabbi Solomon (Shlomo) Ohev. The book was published in Venice in 1657, one year after his death. Known as Zekan Aharon, the book includes, in addition to Torah commentaries, an account of the blood accusation of Ragusa and a thanksgiving poem for recital on the annual commemoration of the event. This part of the book was reprinted separately as Ma'aseh Nissim in Venice in 1798.