European Jewish Congress
The Jewish Community of Slovenia
Judovska Skupnost Slovenije
Latest news from the community
Slovenia's biggest supermarket chain takes Israeli products off shelves
Mercator, Slovenia's largest supermarket chain, has removed Israeli products from its shelves, including pomelos, dates and avocados, following pressure from the BDS movement.
Read more

The Jewish Community of Slovenia

History

Jewish people lived in what is now Slovenia already in the second and third centuries CE, and there is evidence of an uninterrupted Jewish presence since the 13th century.

Jewish ghettos were first established in Piran, Ljubljana, Maribor, Radgona, Slovenj Gradec and Ptuj. They were well organized as a group and they had a well-developed religious life.

Jews played a significant role in the European medieval past, which also of course encompasses the past in Slovene lands, and they shaped and contributed greatly to development through their economic activities and their culture. The first Jews came to Slovene lands from Porenje, and the largest medieval Jewish community was based in Maribor. It was from here that Jews developed a thriving economic sphere, as their business links reached all the way to Prague and Vienna as well as into Italy. They mostly traded in Venetian goods and were involved in banking and money lending; they even played an essential role in the wine trade.

In the 15th century the position of Jews weakened to great extent on account of growing anti-Jewish campaigns; in 1496, Emperor Maximilian of the Austrian Empire issued a decree demanding the expulsion of Jews from Carinthia and Styria. The edict stated that this eviction was to be implemented no later than 6 January, 1497. The edict did not include the eviction of the Jews in the Carniola region. With the banishment of the Jews, Maribor suffered the most in the areas of business and culture.

Not until the 18th century did a Jewish presence re-emerge, now in the broader area of Prekmurje. Joseph II and his Patent of Tolerance introduced religious tolerance, a new facet of the Hapsburg Monarchy. In spite of this model of tolerance, Jews had the right to worship their God only in areas where they had already been settled: Trieste, Gorica and Prekmurje. Prekmurje Jews had special rights and a special status, as their settlements had been accepted and supported by certain feudal lords up to the mid-19th century.

In 1889 the Jewish population reached 1107 persons. One-third of them lived in Murska Sobota, one-third in Lendava and the remaining third was distributed among villages where Jewish merchants, butchers and tailors lived. In both cities they built a synagogue and took part in the construction of industrial plants. Their influence was especially significant in the area of business, as they were of the greatest service for the emergence and development of the economic sector and trade workshops as well as industrial complexes, where they began to employ locals and thus to mitigate the harsh social circumstances of the population.

The Constitution of 1848 brought about considerable changes for Habsburg Jews, as citizens were now guaranteed freedom of religion, conscience and worship. In particular, the Emperor's 1849 patent made Jews politically equal to other citizens of Austria in terms of both rights and free choice of permanent residence. The Jewish question was finally settled by means of the constitution of 1867, which abolished restrictions pertaining to settlements, immigration and migration, property, real estate and the carrying out of for-profit activities. Political and civil rights were now separated from the question of religious confession.

During the time of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes, which was later the Kingdom of Yugoslavia – that is, during the interwar period of the 20th century – Slovene Jews were first affiliated with the religious community in Zagreb, and in 1929 they affiliated themselves with the Jewish religious community in Murska Sobota. Statistical data show the number of Jews in the entire Kingdom to have reached 64 159 in 1921, of whom 860 were in Slovenia. Slovene Jews were a leading force in business and their capital and support exerted a strong influence over the Union brewery, coal mining in Trbovlje, as well as over many other industrial plants.

Jews were the owners of many industrial complexes in Maribor, Murska Sobota and Lendava. During military operations and the outbreak of World War II in Yugoslav territory in April 1941, many Jews emigrated to the U.S., while the rest were sent either to concentration camps in northern Italy or to the notorious German death camps. In 1944, the same fate struck the influential Jewish community in Prekmurje. The Jewish community in Gorica was also devastated during World War II. The Italian, German and Hungarian occupation forces that divided Slovenia after April 1941 began deporting the Jewish population between 1942 and 1944. During this period the main Jewish communities that had been established in the late 18th century in Murska Sobota and Lendava were completely destroyed. This was the culmination in terms of the anti-Semitic propaganda that had been a part of the Slovene battle for national existence since the beginning of the 19th century.

Although there was never a large Jewish population in present-day Slovenia (with the exception of Prekmurje), up until 1941 individual Jews and Jewish families were important in the realm of trade and commerce, as well as in the intellectual professions. In this regard, it is interesting that they did not especially emphasize the fact that they were Jewish.

Demography

Today, the total Jewish population in Slovenia, comprised of both Sephardi and Ashkenazi members, is estimated at 400. The majority of the community resides in the capital, Ljubljana. The communal organization is the Jewish Community of Slovenia with 150 members. The Association Isserlein was founded to promote the legacy of Jewish culture in Slovenia in 2008.

Sites

Sites of Jewish interest today include the old synagogue in Maribor dating back to 1429. When Jews were expelled from the city in 1496, the synagogue was converted into a church. The building is restored and now operates as the "Public Institution of Jewish Heritage". There are historic cemeteries in a number of cities and towns maintened above, including Ljubljana, Lendava and Murska Sobota. In 2008, the complex of the Jewish Cemetery in Rožna Dolina (near Nova Gorica) was restored with the aid of local politicians, the neighboring Jewish Community of Gorizia (Italy), and the American Embassy in Slovenia.

In January 2010, the first monument to the victims of the Shoah in Slovenia was unveiled in Murska Sobota.

Israel

Israel and Slovenia have full diplomatic relations. Israel is represented by its non-resident Ambassador in Jerusalem, supported by Israeli Embassy in Vienna.

Contact

Jewish Community of Slovenia
Judovska skupnost Slovenije
PRESIDENT:BORIS CERIN-LEVI
VICE-PRESIDENT & CEO: Dr. Igor VOJTIC (WOITITZ)
Address:Tržaška cesta 2
1000 Ljubljana Slovenija/Slovenia
Tel.: +386 31 376 468
Email:office@jewish-community.si
Website:www.jewish-community.si
Facebook page: www.fb.com/jewish.community.slovenia

Subscribe to our Newsletter
Life in Israel
  • Israel launches its first environmental research satellite
    The first Israeli satellite for environmental research was launched on August 1 from the European spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.

    On Monday, August 21, 2017 Israel launches its first environmental research satellite
  • First Israeli whisky to be auctioned on Scottish site
    Here’s a deal: The first 100 bottles of Israel’s first single malt whisky, made by the Milk & Honey Distillery in Tel Aviv, will be auctioned off on a Scottish auction site this month.

    On Monday, August 21, 2017 First Israeli whisky to be auctioned on Scottish site
  • Israel grants entry to Iranian journalist facing death penalty
    An Iranian journalist facing the death penalty in her home country for her journalistic work will be granted entry to Israel, Israel’s Interior Minister Aryeh Deri confirmed on August 6.

    On Monday, August 21, 2017 Israel grants entry to Iranian journalist facing death penalty
  • Israel grants entry to Iranian journalist facing death penalty
    An Iranian journalist facing the death penalty in her home country for her journalistic work will be granted entry to Israel, Israel’s Interior Minister Aryeh Deri confirmed on August 6.

    On Monday, August 21, 2017 Israel grants entry to Iranian journalist facing death penalty
  • Israel and Palestinian Authority agree on historic water deal
    US Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt announced on Thursday that Israel and the Palestinians had reached an agreement concerning the long-discussed Red Sea-Dead Sea Canal, whereby Israel will each year sell 33 million cubic meters of water to the Palestinian Authority to relieve the water situation there.

    On Thursday, July 20, 2017 Israel and Palestinian Authority agree on historic water deal
  • Israel sets up plan to keep large tech firms ahead of the curve
    The Israel Innovation Authority is setting up a new programme to provide grants for research and development (R&D) at Israeli corporations that have annual sales of more than $100 million, in an effort to help them maintain a technological edge over competitors, undertake more daring projects by participating in the risk, and ensure their continued growth.

    On Thursday, July 20, 2017 Israel sets up plan to keep large tech firms ahead of the curve
  • India and Israel launch technology fund to prepare for digital age
    Israel and India launched a technology fund today aimed at growing the countries' business relationship and signed seven accords boosting cooperation in areas ranging from space research to water and agriculture.

    On Thursday, July 13, 2017 India and Israel launch technology fund to prepare for digital age
  • Israel rounds up traffic stopping stray camels
    Israeli government agencies on Sunday rounded up some 30 stray camels that were roaming near the road and posed a danger to drivers.

    On Thursday, July 13, 2017 Israel rounds up traffic stopping stray camels
  • Israel earmarks funds for special needs technology
    Apps that help children on the autistic spectrum and wheelchair users are among the projects that have received NIS 3 million in funding from the Israel Innovation Authority for the development of technological solutions for populations with special needs.

    On Thursday, July 13, 2017 Israel earmarks funds for special needs technology
  • Israel seeking Saudi flight deal to bring pilgrims to Mecca
    Israel is trying to persuade Saudi Arabia to allow it to send special Hajj pilgrimage flights to Mecca.

    On Thursday, July 13, 2017 Israel seeking Saudi flight deal to bring pilgrims to Mecca
President's Page Security and Crisis Centre by EJC European Parliament Working Group On Antisemitism