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Jewish heritage in Split town

The  Jewish Community in Split was one of the few that virtually continuously existed for two thousand years. Jews have arrived in Dalmatia with the Roman army and settled in Salona. About their community in Salona we have  the remains of the Jewish cemetery dating from the 3rd century. 

Following the invasion of Slavs and Avars as well the fall of Salona in 641 years, Salona Jews, along with other fellow citizens, fled to the islands or take refuge in firmly established Diocletian's Palace. Split from the  the Imperial Palace also turned into the city, and the Jews have settled mainly in the southeastern part of the palace, where in the early Middle Ages may have had  the first synagogue, as indicated by the menorah engraved in the walls of the courtyard in the substructure of the Palace. But by the 14th century there is no written mention of the presence of Jews in the Palace.

It is assumed that a little later was built a synagogue close to where today Ethnographic Museum.

After the great fire of 1507 in the southern part of the Palace, Jews moved to the northwest part of the palace. In the early 16th century the number of Jews in Split has increased rapidly thanks to immigrants from Spain and Portugal. Increasing population necessitated the construction of the cemetery, of which the first record dates back to 1573, making it one of the oldest in Europe. Today it is preserved about 650 tombstones.

At that time the synagogue was built where its still remains, whose present appearance dates from the interior 1728. It is one of only two synagogues in Croatia who survived the Holocaust, but also the third oldest active synagogue in Europe.

At that time the Venetian Senate approved the Split Jews don’t have  the privileges and permission to trade, wholesale and retail. Thanks to the Jew Danijel Rodrigo, who is responsible for the construction of Split  Lazaretto, the town  became an important commercial center. Number of Jews in Split grows, without major hostilities with the Christians. Most of the Jews dealt with banking and trade, and they had their own school. After the Pope's edict of 1775 and the provisions of the Venetian Republic from 1777 to 1778 in Split was  established a ghetto. He had three doors, but there were no walls around the ghetto. Even today there are no traces of the walls, as well as special features on Jewish homes, only in Rodrigo  street on one door you can see  hand-etched engraving with a  roll to protect the house, mezuzah. Afterwards it was recorder a numerous incidents and   attacks on  ghetto by Christians.

The ghetto was abolished after the establishment of Napoleon's government and issued   Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen Jews become completely equal. Everything changed after the   fall of Napoleon in 1813 and the arrival of the Austrian authorities, when the Jews were  denied involvement in some public services and prohibits them owning real estate. However, during the 19th century, prominent Jews have contributed to the development of the economy and industry in Split. Among them the most pointed Vid Morpurgo who  founded the first factory of alcoholic beverages under the name Stock today operates in Trieste, has made a great contribution to the cultural life of Split, and in 1860 founded the first bookstore that still exists today, as the third oldest in Europe, which still operates in the same place.

On the eve of World War II in Split were 284 members of the Jewish community in the war killed 150 members, most after the capitulation of Italy and Split entering the NDH under German control. During the Italian occupation the Jews lost their rights, but had not been sent to concentration camps. However, in 1942 a group of fascists on the main square burned holy books and furniture out of the synagogue, which was followed by retaliation antifascists. In Split, found refuge and many Jews from Bosnia and other parts of the Croatian. After the arrival of the Germans many Jews fled or went to the partisans, and about 120 people were taken to the camps. The fortress Gripe opened a collection center, where the Split physicians Dr. Silobrčić and others. Poklepović rescued children hid them in the hospital, which have been declared Righteous among the Nations.

Today Split Jewish Community has about 100 members who are completely integrated into the life of the city.




Put Supavla 1/1
Split-Dalmatia County
21000, Split



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