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The Jewish Community of Rijeka

Rijeka

Italian: Fiume
German: Sankt Veit am Flaum

A major seaport. The third-largest city in Croatia

Rijeka is located on the Kvarner Bay, an inlet of the Adriatic Sea. Because of the importance of Rijeka's port, Rijeka was often contested between Italy, Hungary, and Croatia, and frequently changed hands through the centuries. Until 1918 Rijeka was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. During the interwar period it was part of Italy. After the end of World War II it was part of Yugoslavia. Since the breakup of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s Rijeka has been part of Croatia.

While the Rijeka Synagogue was destroyed in 1944, another synagogue that once served Rijeka's Jewish community has remained standing. This modernist-style synagogue, built in 1928 to serve the city's Orthodox community, is one of three synagogues remaining in Croatia. The synagogue has been designated as a national monument, and serves the Jewish community of Rijeka. The synagogue's interior was restored in 2006. It is located on Ivana Filipovica 9.

The Jewish graveyard and ceremonial hall in the Kozala cemetery were declared a protected monument in 1993. The Jewish section contains approximately 550 tombstones, as well as tombstones that were transferred from the old Jewish cemetery and used as part of a memorial wall. The cemetery also contains a Holocaust memorial, which was erected in 1981 and includes the names of the 278 people from Rijeka who perished during the Holocaust.

The legacy of Giovanni Palatucci, who was widely credited with saving Jews while he was the police chief in Fiume, and who was designated by Yad Vashem as one of the Righteous Among the Nations, was called into question by scholars in 2013. Far from helping the Jews escape the Germans, researchers assert that the evidence indicates that Palatucci actually collaborated with the Nazis and helped them identify Jews to round up for deportation. As a result of this new research, information about Palatucci was removed in 2013 from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's exhibition, "Some Were Neighbors; Collaboration and Complicity in the Holocaust."

As of 2008 there were approximately 70 Jews living in Rijeka.

HISTORY

There were some Jews in living in Fiume during the 16th century, when the city was under Austrian rule. More Jews began arriving after 1717, when Fiume was declared a free port; Jews from Hungary began to settle in Fiume after 1776, when the city became a Hungarian port. Nonetheless, until the mid-19th century the majority of Jews living in Fiume were Sephardim from Split and Dubrovnik, who followed the Ispalatto customs (from the Italian name for Split, Spalato). After 1848, when the city experienced an influx of Hungarian, German, Bohemian, and Italian Jews, Italian and German customs also became prevalent.

The community had three cemeteries; in 1840, however, it was determined that the Jewish community would use a special section of the public Kozala cemetery to bury their dead. A chevra kaddisha was founded in 1885. A Neolog synagogue was built in 1902 and opened on September 18, 1903. This synagogue, designed by Lipot Baumhorn, was a large and elaborate synagogue with a domed roof. Another Orthodox synagogue was built in 1928.

In 1900 there were 2,000 Jews living in Rijeka. In 1920 there were 1,300 Jews in Rijeka and in nearby Abbazia (Croatian: Opatija).

ITALY UNDER FASCISM

By 1920 Italy's economy was in crisis, a result of the losses suffered during World War I, mass unemployment, striking workers, and food shortages, among other factors. In 1922 Benito Mussolini rose to power and ushered in a period of fascism in Italy. In the wake of a number of policies put into place in 1930 the Jewish community of Rijeka remained the only independent congregation in Italy.

During the interwar fascist period, Jewish children went to public schools. Because of the population's diversity, parents could choose from German, Hungarian, Italian, or Croatian schools. The rabbi's sermons were also delivered in German or Italian.

Beginning in 1938 Jews with Italian citizenship were subject to discrimination, and Jewish non-citizens were interned in camps. Giovanni Palatucci, the chief of the Fiuman police, worked to obtain Aryan papers for Jews; he also sent many Jews to his uncle, a bishop in southern Italy, as well as other areas where they could be safer. When the Axis invaded Yugoslavia in April 1941 the Italian Army occupied Dalmatia and other areas of the independent Croatian state. Some Italian officers worked with Palatucci and his group, and approximately 500 Jewish refugees from Croatia were sent to him, and thereby saved. When Italy surrendered to the Allies in September 1943, while the Italian territories were occupied by the Germans, Palatucci remained in the occupied territory, destroying his files and warning the Jews of their imminent arrest. As a result of his efforts, many were saved. Palatucci was arrested in September 1944, and died in the Dachau in 1945.

In 1943 there were 500 Jews in Fiume, 412 of whom (80%) were ultimately sent to Auschwitz. The Rijeka Synagogue was destroyed by the Nazis on January 25, 1944.

POSTWAR

When Rijeka became part of Yugoslavia in 1945 many Italian-speaking Jews left for Trieste and other places in Italy. In 1947 there were approximately 170 Jews living in Rijeka and the surrounding area. In 1969 community numbered 99. During the Bosnian War (1992-1995), the remaining Jewish community was evacuated from Rijeka; about 60 families returned after the war, but many eventually left for Zagreb or other areas in northern Croatia. In 2004 there were approximately 100 Jews living in Rijeka.

LE COMUNITA ISRAELITICHE DI FIUME E ABBAZIA TRA LE DUE GUERRE MONDIALI
http://www.bh.org.il/jewish-spotlight/fiume/?page_id=1150
Place Type:
City
ID Number:
241231
Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People
Nearby places:

Related items:
Ark of the Law at the Synagogue in Fiume (Rijeke),
Croatia, c.1980 built in 1902
Photo: Aurelio J. Heger, Milano
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
courtesy of Aurelio J. Heger, Milano)
Tea Party at Mamiani Community Center - a fundraising event for children of the city of Fiume.
Rome, Italy 22.12.1923
Fausto Sabatello sits far left
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
courtesy of Annarosa Anat Shemesh, Israel)
Tea Party at Mamiani Community Center - a fundraising event for children of the city of Fiume.
Fausto Sabatello stands second from left and his sister Giusella stands second from right.
Roma, Italy 22.12.1923
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
courtesy of Annarosa Anat Shemesh, Israel)
Glucklick, Vilma (1872-1927), pedagogue and feminist, born in Vagujhely, Hungary (then part of Austria-Hungary), she initially chose teaching as a career and joined the staff of the Girls' High School in Fiume (now Rijeka, Croatia), where she worked from 1893-1896. In 1896, when the University of Budapest decided to admit women students, she became the first woman to enroll for a course in philosophy. After her graduation she resumed teaching in schools in the Hungarian capital.

A pioneer in the movement for the emancipation of women of Hungary, she founded the League of Feminists in 1904 and for many years served as its national president and the author of many of its publications. Her published writings dealt mainly with women's suffrage and child welfare.

George Mantello (born György / Baruch Mandl, aka George Mandel) (1901-1990), businessman, rescuer of many thousands of Jews during the Holocaust, born in Lechinta, Romania (then part of Austria-Hungary). His father, Baruch Yehudah Mandl, owned a mill in Lechinta. He studied in Budapest, Hungary, and after 1921 worked for a bank in Vienna, Austria. Mantello then moved first to Cluj, Romania, and eventually to Bucharest, where he became a textiles manufacturer and a banker. He supported the Zionist movement and visited the Land of Israel. In Bucharest he befriended Colonel José Arturo Castellanos, the consul of El Salvador in the Romanian capital, while being involved into a sale of Romanian weapons to El Salvador.

Mantello was in Vienna in 1938 and in Prague in 1939 and witnessed the anti-Semitic persecutions that followed the annexation of Austria and Czechia by Nazi Germany. After the annexation of Northern Transylvania by Hungary in August 1940, Mantello tried to escape from Hungary. However, he was arrested by the Gestapo in Rijeka (Fiume), in Axis occupied Yugoslavia and detained in Zagreb for a number of months. He managed to escape to Bucharest and then to Switzerland, where in 1942 he started to work as First Secretary for Castellanos who was now the Salvadorian consul in Geneva. Castellanos and Mandello issued thousands of Salvadorian certificates that were smuggled into German occupied territories. Particularly, Mandello was involved in the effort to save the Hungarian Jews from deportation to Auschwitz in 1944. With the assistance of Florian Manoliu, a Romanian diplomat in Switzerland, Mantello obtained and then published a reported detailing the ghettoization and mass deportations of the Jews of Hungary in the spring of 1944. The publication in the Swiss press, and then outside Switzerland, had a huge impact on the local and international public opinion and led to protests and letters of advertisement sent by world leaders to the Hungarian authorities with the effect that the deportations were stopped on July 9, 1944.

Mantello died in Rome, Italy, and was buried in Jerusalem, Israel.

José Arturo Castellanos Contreras was recognized by Yad Vashem as a Rightenous Among the Nations in 2010.  

Stojan DePrato (b.1957), journalist, born in Rijeka, Croatia (then part of Yugoslavia). He attended elementary school and high school in Zagreb, and then he studied economic, general linguistics, and cultural anthropology at the University of Zagreb. He was a Hebrew language teacher at the University of Zagreb from 1981 to 1984, and after 1984 he started working for Večernji list media group, including as a senior correspondent for Middle East affairs, from 1991 to 2002, and then as a Brussels based senior correspondent on European Union and NATO affairs, from 2002 to 2011. He then served as translator at the European Commission and was instrumental in monitoring the process of the Croatian accession to the European Union. After 2015 he has been a public relations assistant at the European Parliament. In 2008 DePrato received the the Robert Schuman award for his contribution to the process of Croatia's accession to the European Union.  

Rudolf Lampel (Lampl) (1853-1939), violinist, born in Rijeka, Croatia (then part of the Autrian Empire). He earned his doctorate as a musician violinist, and from 1922 he played the second violin in the Vienna-based Gottesmann Quartet. As a soloist he gave concerts at the Wiener Konzerthaus with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. He also performed at numerous concerts of Jewish organizations of Vienna. After the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany in 1938, he was banned from performing. On July 5, 1939, he was evicted from his his apartment in Vienna by the Nazi authorities. He died two weeks later.

Opatija

Abbazia, in Italian

A town in western Croatia, just southwest of Rijeka on the Adriatic coast, in the Gulf of Kvarner. In both Croatian and Italian the town's name means "abbey".

Jews in localities of the Kvarner Province
by Federico Falk

Localities on the western coast of the Kvarner Gulf, originally villages inhabited by Istrian fishermen, underwent radical transformation in the mid-19th century when the Austrian administration, which had jurisdiction over the Liburnian Coast, sensed that the area at the feet of the 1,400 m high Mount Maggiore, with its lush vegetation and mild climate, could become the Imperial and Royal Riviera, well-suited to delightful seaside summer resorts as well as winter health resorts for the Hapsburg aristocracy and upper classes. During the second half of the 19th century, this state initiative built the infrastructures needed for developing Abbazia (Opatija), Volosko and Lovran, while, one after the other, farsighted private entrepreneurs started to build large and comfortable hotels for tourists and holidaymakers.

In about 1880, the first Jews began to arrive from Austria and Hungary to settle in these localities and exercise their professions or set up trade businesses. One of the first was Doctor Alberto Szemere, born in Hungary in 1846, who in 1883 changed his surname to Steiner and, in 1884, arrived in Abbazia where he lived in Villa Paola (named after his wife). In the summer he worked as a doctor in Karlsbad (Karlovy Vary) while for the rest of the year he exercised his profession on the Kvarner Riviera. He died in Abbazia in 1922. Other Jewish families arrived in about 1892 (Gelles, Tipograf, Szigeti and Nathan) and by 1898 there were already about seventy Jews in Abbazia.

At the initiative of two doctors, Giuseppe Glück and Giacomo Kurz, the head of gynaecology at the hospital, the Israeli Community of Abbazia was founded in 1922. Its first president was Doctor Martino Szigeti, an ENT specialist and a surgeon born in Hungary, who exercised his profession also in Gleichenberg and initially lived in Villa Stella (Corso Vittorio Emanuele III,183), to then move to the Kovac-Brun Guesthouse and later to the Hotel Bristol and then the Hausner Guesthouse (now the Hotel Millenium).

Doctor Ignazio Schwarz, born in Hungary, also came to Abbazia to work as a doctor and created the first sanatorium for state employees. In 1918 the building was restored and became the Hotel Quisisana.

Doctor Giulio Mahler, son of Desiderio and Rosa Kraus, born in Földes (Hungary) in 1870, set up a heart clinic in Abbazia (now the Hotel Royal).

Religious services were initially held in a room at the Breiner Guesthouse (nowadays the Hotel Kristal) and later also at the Stern Guesthouse (currently a centre for thalassotherapy). In 1926 the first stone was laid for building a synagogue, but, following a serious economic crisis, work was stopped and the funds available for this project were used to buy the centrally-placed Villa Zora. The main synagogue was situated on the first floor while a smaller prayer room was set aside for the Orthodox group. Communities in Ancona and Livorno donated five scrolls of the Torah and furnishings for the Temple, while the Jewish community in Rome donated a splendid silver lamp. In 1940 Villa Zora was requisitioned by the G.I.L. (Gioventù Italiana del Littorio), but luckily the sacred ornaments were hidden in a safe place by the caretaker Mr. Lettis, who, at the end of the war, returned them to the community’s president Bernardo Nathan, who had managed to avoid deportation by going into hiding on the Island of Cherso. The Aron Hakodesc marble was used to build a monument engraved with the names of those deported to Nazi extermination camps in the Jewish cemetery in Abbazia.

http://www.bh.org.il/jewish-spotlight/fiume/?page_id=1160

Croatia

Republika Hrvatska  - Republic of Croatia, a former Yugoslav republic, member of the European Union (EU). 

21st Century

Estimated Jewish population in 2018: 1,700 out of 4,200,000

Koordinacija židovskih općina u Republici Hrvatskoj (Coordinating Committee of the Jewish Communities in Croatia)
Phone: 385 1 4922692
Fax: 385 1 4922694
E-mail: jcz@zg.t-com.hr
Websites: www.zoz.hr` www.croatian-jewish-network.com

 

Zagreb

In German: Agram; in Hungarian: Zágráb 

The capital of Croatia

Zagreb was part of Yugoslavia after World War I (1914-1918). Since 1995 it has been part of independent Croatia. Until the end of WW I it was part of Austria-Hungary.

 

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.

 

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The Jewish Community of Rijeka
Rijeka

Italian: Fiume
German: Sankt Veit am Flaum

A major seaport. The third-largest city in Croatia

Rijeka is located on the Kvarner Bay, an inlet of the Adriatic Sea. Because of the importance of Rijeka's port, Rijeka was often contested between Italy, Hungary, and Croatia, and frequently changed hands through the centuries. Until 1918 Rijeka was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. During the interwar period it was part of Italy. After the end of World War II it was part of Yugoslavia. Since the breakup of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s Rijeka has been part of Croatia.

While the Rijeka Synagogue was destroyed in 1944, another synagogue that once served Rijeka's Jewish community has remained standing. This modernist-style synagogue, built in 1928 to serve the city's Orthodox community, is one of three synagogues remaining in Croatia. The synagogue has been designated as a national monument, and serves the Jewish community of Rijeka. The synagogue's interior was restored in 2006. It is located on Ivana Filipovica 9.

The Jewish graveyard and ceremonial hall in the Kozala cemetery were declared a protected monument in 1993. The Jewish section contains approximately 550 tombstones, as well as tombstones that were transferred from the old Jewish cemetery and used as part of a memorial wall. The cemetery also contains a Holocaust memorial, which was erected in 1981 and includes the names of the 278 people from Rijeka who perished during the Holocaust.

The legacy of Giovanni Palatucci, who was widely credited with saving Jews while he was the police chief in Fiume, and who was designated by Yad Vashem as one of the Righteous Among the Nations, was called into question by scholars in 2013. Far from helping the Jews escape the Germans, researchers assert that the evidence indicates that Palatucci actually collaborated with the Nazis and helped them identify Jews to round up for deportation. As a result of this new research, information about Palatucci was removed in 2013 from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's exhibition, "Some Were Neighbors; Collaboration and Complicity in the Holocaust."

As of 2008 there were approximately 70 Jews living in Rijeka.

HISTORY

There were some Jews in living in Fiume during the 16th century, when the city was under Austrian rule. More Jews began arriving after 1717, when Fiume was declared a free port; Jews from Hungary began to settle in Fiume after 1776, when the city became a Hungarian port. Nonetheless, until the mid-19th century the majority of Jews living in Fiume were Sephardim from Split and Dubrovnik, who followed the Ispalatto customs (from the Italian name for Split, Spalato). After 1848, when the city experienced an influx of Hungarian, German, Bohemian, and Italian Jews, Italian and German customs also became prevalent.

The community had three cemeteries; in 1840, however, it was determined that the Jewish community would use a special section of the public Kozala cemetery to bury their dead. A chevra kaddisha was founded in 1885. A Neolog synagogue was built in 1902 and opened on September 18, 1903. This synagogue, designed by Lipot Baumhorn, was a large and elaborate synagogue with a domed roof. Another Orthodox synagogue was built in 1928.

In 1900 there were 2,000 Jews living in Rijeka. In 1920 there were 1,300 Jews in Rijeka and in nearby Abbazia (Croatian: Opatija).

ITALY UNDER FASCISM

By 1920 Italy's economy was in crisis, a result of the losses suffered during World War I, mass unemployment, striking workers, and food shortages, among other factors. In 1922 Benito Mussolini rose to power and ushered in a period of fascism in Italy. In the wake of a number of policies put into place in 1930 the Jewish community of Rijeka remained the only independent congregation in Italy.

During the interwar fascist period, Jewish children went to public schools. Because of the population's diversity, parents could choose from German, Hungarian, Italian, or Croatian schools. The rabbi's sermons were also delivered in German or Italian.

Beginning in 1938 Jews with Italian citizenship were subject to discrimination, and Jewish non-citizens were interned in camps. Giovanni Palatucci, the chief of the Fiuman police, worked to obtain Aryan papers for Jews; he also sent many Jews to his uncle, a bishop in southern Italy, as well as other areas where they could be safer. When the Axis invaded Yugoslavia in April 1941 the Italian Army occupied Dalmatia and other areas of the independent Croatian state. Some Italian officers worked with Palatucci and his group, and approximately 500 Jewish refugees from Croatia were sent to him, and thereby saved. When Italy surrendered to the Allies in September 1943, while the Italian territories were occupied by the Germans, Palatucci remained in the occupied territory, destroying his files and warning the Jews of their imminent arrest. As a result of his efforts, many were saved. Palatucci was arrested in September 1944, and died in the Dachau in 1945.

In 1943 there were 500 Jews in Fiume, 412 of whom (80%) were ultimately sent to Auschwitz. The Rijeka Synagogue was destroyed by the Nazis on January 25, 1944.

POSTWAR

When Rijeka became part of Yugoslavia in 1945 many Italian-speaking Jews left for Trieste and other places in Italy. In 1947 there were approximately 170 Jews living in Rijeka and the surrounding area. In 1969 community numbered 99. During the Bosnian War (1992-1995), the remaining Jewish community was evacuated from Rijeka; about 60 families returned after the war, but many eventually left for Zagreb or other areas in northern Croatia. In 2004 there were approximately 100 Jews living in Rijeka.

LE COMUNITA ISRAELITICHE DI FIUME E ABBAZIA TRA LE DUE GUERRE MONDIALI
http://www.bh.org.il/jewish-spotlight/fiume/?page_id=1150
Written by researchers of ANU Museum of the Jewish People

Zagreb
Croatia
Opatija

Zagreb

In German: Agram; in Hungarian: Zágráb 

The capital of Croatia

Zagreb was part of Yugoslavia after World War I (1914-1918). Since 1995 it has been part of independent Croatia. Until the end of WW I it was part of Austria-Hungary.

 

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.

 

Croatia

Republika Hrvatska  - Republic of Croatia, a former Yugoslav republic, member of the European Union (EU). 

21st Century

Estimated Jewish population in 2018: 1,700 out of 4,200,000

Koordinacija židovskih općina u Republici Hrvatskoj (Coordinating Committee of the Jewish Communities in Croatia)
Phone: 385 1 4922692
Fax: 385 1 4922694
E-mail: jcz@zg.t-com.hr
Websites: www.zoz.hr` www.croatian-jewish-network.com

 

Opatija

Abbazia, in Italian

A town in western Croatia, just southwest of Rijeka on the Adriatic coast, in the Gulf of Kvarner. In both Croatian and Italian the town's name means "abbey".

Jews in localities of the Kvarner Province
by Federico Falk

Localities on the western coast of the Kvarner Gulf, originally villages inhabited by Istrian fishermen, underwent radical transformation in the mid-19th century when the Austrian administration, which had jurisdiction over the Liburnian Coast, sensed that the area at the feet of the 1,400 m high Mount Maggiore, with its lush vegetation and mild climate, could become the Imperial and Royal Riviera, well-suited to delightful seaside summer resorts as well as winter health resorts for the Hapsburg aristocracy and upper classes. During the second half of the 19th century, this state initiative built the infrastructures needed for developing Abbazia (Opatija), Volosko and Lovran, while, one after the other, farsighted private entrepreneurs started to build large and comfortable hotels for tourists and holidaymakers.

In about 1880, the first Jews began to arrive from Austria and Hungary to settle in these localities and exercise their professions or set up trade businesses. One of the first was Doctor Alberto Szemere, born in Hungary in 1846, who in 1883 changed his surname to Steiner and, in 1884, arrived in Abbazia where he lived in Villa Paola (named after his wife). In the summer he worked as a doctor in Karlsbad (Karlovy Vary) while for the rest of the year he exercised his profession on the Kvarner Riviera. He died in Abbazia in 1922. Other Jewish families arrived in about 1892 (Gelles, Tipograf, Szigeti and Nathan) and by 1898 there were already about seventy Jews in Abbazia.

At the initiative of two doctors, Giuseppe Glück and Giacomo Kurz, the head of gynaecology at the hospital, the Israeli Community of Abbazia was founded in 1922. Its first president was Doctor Martino Szigeti, an ENT specialist and a surgeon born in Hungary, who exercised his profession also in Gleichenberg and initially lived in Villa Stella (Corso Vittorio Emanuele III,183), to then move to the Kovac-Brun Guesthouse and later to the Hotel Bristol and then the Hausner Guesthouse (now the Hotel Millenium).

Doctor Ignazio Schwarz, born in Hungary, also came to Abbazia to work as a doctor and created the first sanatorium for state employees. In 1918 the building was restored and became the Hotel Quisisana.

Doctor Giulio Mahler, son of Desiderio and Rosa Kraus, born in Földes (Hungary) in 1870, set up a heart clinic in Abbazia (now the Hotel Royal).

Religious services were initially held in a room at the Breiner Guesthouse (nowadays the Hotel Kristal) and later also at the Stern Guesthouse (currently a centre for thalassotherapy). In 1926 the first stone was laid for building a synagogue, but, following a serious economic crisis, work was stopped and the funds available for this project were used to buy the centrally-placed Villa Zora. The main synagogue was situated on the first floor while a smaller prayer room was set aside for the Orthodox group. Communities in Ancona and Livorno donated five scrolls of the Torah and furnishings for the Temple, while the Jewish community in Rome donated a splendid silver lamp. In 1940 Villa Zora was requisitioned by the G.I.L. (Gioventù Italiana del Littorio), but luckily the sacred ornaments were hidden in a safe place by the caretaker Mr. Lettis, who, at the end of the war, returned them to the community’s president Bernardo Nathan, who had managed to avoid deportation by going into hiding on the Island of Cherso. The Aron Hakodesc marble was used to build a monument engraved with the names of those deported to Nazi extermination camps in the Jewish cemetery in Abbazia.

http://www.bh.org.il/jewish-spotlight/fiume/?page_id=1160

Rudolf Lampel
Stojan DePrato
George Mantello
Glucklick, Vilma

Rudolf Lampel (Lampl) (1853-1939), violinist, born in Rijeka, Croatia (then part of the Autrian Empire). He earned his doctorate as a musician violinist, and from 1922 he played the second violin in the Vienna-based Gottesmann Quartet. As a soloist he gave concerts at the Wiener Konzerthaus with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. He also performed at numerous concerts of Jewish organizations of Vienna. After the annexation of Austria by Nazi Germany in 1938, he was banned from performing. On July 5, 1939, he was evicted from his his apartment in Vienna by the Nazi authorities. He died two weeks later.

Stojan DePrato (b.1957), journalist, born in Rijeka, Croatia (then part of Yugoslavia). He attended elementary school and high school in Zagreb, and then he studied economic, general linguistics, and cultural anthropology at the University of Zagreb. He was a Hebrew language teacher at the University of Zagreb from 1981 to 1984, and after 1984 he started working for Večernji list media group, including as a senior correspondent for Middle East affairs, from 1991 to 2002, and then as a Brussels based senior correspondent on European Union and NATO affairs, from 2002 to 2011. He then served as translator at the European Commission and was instrumental in monitoring the process of the Croatian accession to the European Union. After 2015 he has been a public relations assistant at the European Parliament. In 2008 DePrato received the the Robert Schuman award for his contribution to the process of Croatia's accession to the European Union.  

George Mantello (born György / Baruch Mandl, aka George Mandel) (1901-1990), businessman, rescuer of many thousands of Jews during the Holocaust, born in Lechinta, Romania (then part of Austria-Hungary). His father, Baruch Yehudah Mandl, owned a mill in Lechinta. He studied in Budapest, Hungary, and after 1921 worked for a bank in Vienna, Austria. Mantello then moved first to Cluj, Romania, and eventually to Bucharest, where he became a textiles manufacturer and a banker. He supported the Zionist movement and visited the Land of Israel. In Bucharest he befriended Colonel José Arturo Castellanos, the consul of El Salvador in the Romanian capital, while being involved into a sale of Romanian weapons to El Salvador.

Mantello was in Vienna in 1938 and in Prague in 1939 and witnessed the anti-Semitic persecutions that followed the annexation of Austria and Czechia by Nazi Germany. After the annexation of Northern Transylvania by Hungary in August 1940, Mantello tried to escape from Hungary. However, he was arrested by the Gestapo in Rijeka (Fiume), in Axis occupied Yugoslavia and detained in Zagreb for a number of months. He managed to escape to Bucharest and then to Switzerland, where in 1942 he started to work as First Secretary for Castellanos who was now the Salvadorian consul in Geneva. Castellanos and Mandello issued thousands of Salvadorian certificates that were smuggled into German occupied territories. Particularly, Mandello was involved in the effort to save the Hungarian Jews from deportation to Auschwitz in 1944. With the assistance of Florian Manoliu, a Romanian diplomat in Switzerland, Mantello obtained and then published a reported detailing the ghettoization and mass deportations of the Jews of Hungary in the spring of 1944. The publication in the Swiss press, and then outside Switzerland, had a huge impact on the local and international public opinion and led to protests and letters of advertisement sent by world leaders to the Hungarian authorities with the effect that the deportations were stopped on July 9, 1944.

Mantello died in Rome, Italy, and was buried in Jerusalem, Israel.

José Arturo Castellanos Contreras was recognized by Yad Vashem as a Rightenous Among the Nations in 2010.  

Glucklick, Vilma (1872-1927), pedagogue and feminist, born in Vagujhely, Hungary (then part of Austria-Hungary), she initially chose teaching as a career and joined the staff of the Girls' High School in Fiume (now Rijeka, Croatia), where she worked from 1893-1896. In 1896, when the University of Budapest decided to admit women students, she became the first woman to enroll for a course in philosophy. After her graduation she resumed teaching in schools in the Hungarian capital.

A pioneer in the movement for the emancipation of women of Hungary, she founded the League of Feminists in 1904 and for many years served as its national president and the author of many of its publications. Her published writings dealt mainly with women's suffrage and child welfare.
Tea Party at Mamiani Community Center - a fundraising event for children of the city of Fiume. Roma, Italy 22.12.1923
Tea Party at Mamiani Community Center - a fundraising event for children of the city of Fiume. Rome, Italy 22.12.1923
Ark of the Law at the Synagogue in Fiume (Rijeke), Croatia, c.1980
Tea Party at Mamiani Community Center - a fundraising event for children of the city of Fiume.
Fausto Sabatello stands second from left and his sister Giusella stands second from right.
Roma, Italy 22.12.1923
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
courtesy of Annarosa Anat Shemesh, Israel)
Tea Party at Mamiani Community Center - a fundraising event for children of the city of Fiume.
Rome, Italy 22.12.1923
Fausto Sabatello sits far left
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
courtesy of Annarosa Anat Shemesh, Israel)
Ark of the Law at the Synagogue in Fiume (Rijeke),
Croatia, c.1980 built in 1902
Photo: Aurelio J. Heger, Milano
(The Oster Visual Documentation Center, Beit Hatfutsot,
courtesy of Aurelio J. Heger, Milano)