European Jewish Congress
The Jewish Community of Croatia
Jewish Community of Zagreb
Latest news from the community
Croatian anti-fascists and Serbs gather at WWII death camp site
Croatian anti-fascists and Serb minority groups on Saturday held a commemoration ceremony at the site of a notorious World War II death camp, boycotting the official event over alleged government inaction in curbing the surge of neo-Nazi sentiment in the Balkan country.
Read more

The Jewish Community of Croatia

History and Demography

Jewish communities were already present in the Balkans when the Croats established a kingdom there in the 10th century CE. Jews lived in Zagreb in the 14th century but were expelled from Croatia in 1456. Their status and situation only improved in 1782 with the publication of the “Toleranzpatent” by Emperor Joseph II.

The Jews of Croatia and Dalmatia only received full emancipation in 1873. By the eve of WW II there were 40 Jewish communities in the country and 24,000 Jews. The Jewish Community of Zagreb grew to 11,000. In 1941, a pro-Nazi government was sworn in Croatia, and it implemented a policy of segregation and persecution against the Jews. This policy soon turned into active collaboration with Nazi Germany and with the deportation and extermination of thousands of Croatian Jews. Altogether, 78% of Croatian Jews perished in the Holocaust.

Community

After World War II, only 2,500 Jews lived in Zagreb. Many of them immigrated to Israel right after Israel’s independence. The remaining 1,500 Jews tried to rebuild their lives and preserve their identity under Communist rule. In addition to other smaller communities, there were also bigger Jewish communities in Zagreb, Belgrade and Sarajevo – all of similar sizes and all officially affiliated to the Federation of Jewish Communities in Yugoslavia.

The Federation of Jewish Communities lost its raison d’être with the disintegration of Yugoslavia in 1991 and with the war that ensued. The Jewish community of Zagreb was one of the first victims of the war: in August 1991, both its Community Center and its cemetery were targets of terrorist attacks. During the war in Yugoslavia, many of Bosnia’s Jews found a safe haven in Zagreb with the support of the American Joint Distribution Committee.

There are about 2,000 Jews and ten Jewish communities in Croatia today (in the cities and towns of Cakovec, Daruvar, Dubrovnik, Osijek, Rijeka, Slavonski Brod, Split, Virovitica, Koprivnica, and Zagreb). Those communities are affiliated to the Coordinating Committee of The Jewish Communities in the Republic of Croatia. The oldest are in Dubrovnik and Split and the largest one is the Jewish community in Zagreb, Croatia’s capital.

Culture and Education

As a result of Communist rule under Tito’s regime, the Jewish community of Croatia is mostly secular. It is also aging, as many of the young intermarry. Though, The Jewish community of Zagreb does have young members and facilities for them such as: kindergarten, youth club, Maccabi Sports Club, Sunday School… From 1952 numerous visiting rabbis served the needs of the Community and in 1998, the Jewish Community of Zagreb appointed a permanent rabbi for the first time in half a century. In 2003 a Jewish Elementary School was established.

The community center in Zagreb hosts a concert hall, art gallery, club, Shoah Documentation Center, archive and the library that owns 20,000 books, among them the first edition of the Shulchan Arukh (4 volumes), published in Venice in 1564 - 1567 as well as a synagogue with services on Shabbat and for the Holidays. The Community also owns an Old Age Home for almost 100 residents.

The Jewish community of Zagreb also features a five-member ensemble that plays klezmer music, as well as a dancing group called “Or Shemesh.” In 2006, the Jewish community of Croatia celebrated its bi-centennial.

Israel

Israel and Croatia established full diplomatic relations in 1997.

Contact information

Co-ordinating Committee of the Jewish Communities

PRESIDENT : Ognjen KRAUS

Palmoticeva 16
10000 Zagreb
Tel. 385 1 4922692
Fax 385 1 4922694
Email : jcz@zg

Subscribe to our Newsletter
Life in Israel
  • On Israel's 69th birthday population reaches 8.68 million
    As Israel prepares to celebrate its 69th birthday, the Central Bureau of Statistics announced on Thursday that the Jewish state today has 8.68 million citizens, ten times more than at its founding in 1948.

    On Friday, April 28, 2017 On Israel's 69th birthday population reaches 8.68 million
  • Israel pauses to remember Holocaust victims
    Israel came to a standstill as people stopped in their tracks for a two-minute siren that wailed across the country in remembrance of the Holocaust’s 6 million Jewish victims.

    On Friday, April 28, 2017 Israel pauses to remember Holocaust victims
  • European Judo Championships to be held in Israel
    The European Judo Union has confirmed that Israel will host the European Championships next year.

    On Friday, April 28, 2017 European Judo Championships to be held in Israel
  • Tel Aviv to house world's first construction tech hub
    With hopes of revitalising an industry that has been slow to modernise, a team of Israeli government and business partners launched the world’s first “Construction Innovation Zone” on Thursday morning.

    On Friday, April 28, 2017 Tel Aviv to house world's first construction tech hub
  • Israel treating thousands of Syrians injured in war
    Seven wounded Syrians — two children, four women and a man — waited in pain for darkness to fall to cross into enemy territory.

    On Friday, April 14, 2017 Israel treating thousands of Syrians injured in war
  • Record number of tourists in Israel in first quarter of 2017
    The number of foreign tourists coming to Israel reached an all-time record of 739,000 in the first quarter of 2017, up 24% from the corresponding quarter of last year, the Ministry of Tourism reported.

    On Friday, April 14, 2017 Record number of tourists in Israel in first quarter of 2017
  • Israeli city to double in size
    As part of the efforts to relieve Israel's housing crisis, a ceremony was held this week celebrating government approval to construct thousands of housing units in Ramat Beit Shemesh D and E.

    On Friday, April 07, 2017 Israeli city to double in size
  • Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Israel eye longest offshore gas pipeline
    Italy, Israel, Greece and Cyprus pledged on Monday to move ahead with the world’s longest undersea gas pipeline from the eastern Mediterranean to southern Europe, with support from the European Union.

    On Friday, April 07, 2017 Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Israel eye longest offshore gas pipeline
  • Israel appoints first female Muslim diplomat
    Israel’s foreign ministry has appointed Rasha Atamny, 31, to represent the Jewish state in Ankara, Turkey, making her Israel’s first female Muslim diplomat.

    On Friday, April 07, 2017 Israel appoints first female Muslim diplomat
  • Israelis, Jordanians and Palestinians team up to combat earthquake risk
    With the border area with Jordan at high risk for earthquakes, Israeli institutions are collaborating with the Jordanian Red Crescent and Hebron’s Greenland Association to train local residents as first responders in the event of such a catastrophe.

    On Friday, March 31, 2017 Israelis, Jordanians and Palestinians team up to combat earthquake risk
President's Page Security and Crisis Centre by EJC European Parliament Working Group On Antisemitism