Nearly all the Jews live in Serbia. Of these some 2,000 reside in Belgrade. Most of the others live in Nis, Novi Sad, Sombor, and Subotica.
After World War I, upon the creation of Yugoslavia, the Jews of Serbia were linked to Jews in other parts of the Kingdom. The destruction of Serbian Jewry commenced with the German invasion and occupation of the country. Already in August 1942, a German report stated that "the problem of Jews and Gypsies has been solved; Serbia is the only country where this problem no longer exists." Belgrade was the first city in Europe officially declared Judenrein. A number of Jews distinguished themselves in the partisan struggle against the German invasion. After the war, the Jewish community was reconstituted. Unlike most of their brethren in eastern Europe, the Jews of Yugoslavia maintained lively contact with Jews in Israel and Western countries.
Yugoslav Jewry is represented by the Federation of Jewish Communities in Yugoslavia, and the community center in Belgrade is the focus of communal life. There is an Ashkenazi synagogue in Belgrade, but it follows the Sephardi nusach according to the custom of its rabbi. Specifically kosher food is not available. Jewish children are educated in a Talmud Torah. The JDC has been especially active in providing material aid to the community.
Aliya: Since 1948, 10,016 Yugoslav Jews have emigrated to Israel. Within this number are Jews from all the various constituent parts of the former republic.
Turn-of-the-century synagogues in Subotica and Novi Sad, among the most impressive buildings in these cities, have been transformed into concert halls. The Jewish Museum in Belgrade records the history of Jews in the capital. In the town of Zemun the grave of Theodor Herzl's grandparents can be visited. In the Jewish cemetery in Belgrade, a monument resembling two outstretched wings symbolizes the tragedy that befell the Jews of Yugoslavia.
Jewish Community of Belgrade
Ulica Kralja Petra 71a/III
P.O. Box 841, 11001 Belgrade
Tel. 381 11 624 289, Fax. 381 11 626 674
c/o Intercontinental Hotel
Ulica V. Popovica 10, 11001 Belgrade
Tel. 381 11 132 931
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