The Sombor Jews
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Jevreji su do drugog svetskog rata predstavljali brojnu nacionalnost u Somboru. Posle Srba, Hrvata, Mađara i Nemaca bili su na petom mestu, sa blizu 1.200 žitelja. Najveći deo somborskih Jevreja su Aškenazi. Njihovi preci su dolazili iz Nemačke, Austrije, Češke, Poljske i drugih evropskih država, da bi posle više decenija teške i uspešne borbe stekli pravo na slobodan život i privređivanje, pravo koje su uživali i građani drugih nacionalnosti. Od naseljavanja prve jevrejske porodice u Sombor proteklo je preko 280 godina. Sticanje građanskih prava ostvarivano je pod teškim uslovima, ali su Jevrejl u Somboru i pored toga stekli zavidan ugled predanim i mukotrpnim radom, i tako u životu grada vremenom postali značajan društveno-ekonomski, politički i kulturni faktor. Stanovnici jevrejske nacionalnosti doživeli su u drugom svetskom ratu tešku sudbinu. Kao što su stradali širom Evrope, tako su stradali i Jevreji iz Sombora. Njihovo proganjanje započelo je okupacijom 1941. godine, da bi se... u najtežem obliku ispoljilo 1942. i 1944. godine. Fašistl su tokom rata ubili 836 somborskih Jevreja. Da uspomena na njih i preživele ne bi iščezla nastalo je ovo delo.
Although the earliest data on Jews living in Sombor go as back as 1735, it was only after sixty years that the life of Jewish citizens was made easier in the city of Sombor which was an important economic and commercial center in the Bacs-Bodrog Country. Serbian and Croatian traders never missed lodging objections with the Magistrate whenever a Jew’s request for grant of stay and right of trade in the city was given consideration. The root of this intolerance, which was not without political and nationalist shades could be found in the Jewish competition the traders of other nationalities felt to be threatened with. During the first decade of the 19th century, 15 Jewish families settled in Sombor. Members of these families ware allowed to get together and to have their meals in the so-called Hebrew kitchen only which was leased to them by the Magistrate. Those days the Jewish community started the construction of a synagogue, while the tuition of the children had to start somewhat lat...er when the synagogue was ready for use and a rabbi engaged to take care of the school, too. The social and economic progress of the Jews in Sombor attracted even greate attention, particularly as far as all branches of trade were concerned. The achievements in trade soon found reflection in the progress of other Jewish institutions as well. Most prominent among these was the Jewish women’s society for social and benevolent work. In 1864 the construction of a new, much larger synagogue started. The year 1871, when Moric Levi was elected president of the Sombor traders’ Lloyd, can be considered as the year marking the end of the phase of intolerance towards the Jews and also the year when their role in the field of economy, education, culture, and politics started to be more and more appreciated. Sombor became very attractive for the Jews living in the neighboring villages and a great number of them gradually settled in the city, so much so that on the eve of WWII Sombor had a Jewish population numbering 1,250. Many of them were entrepreneurs who invested their capital not only in trade but in manufacture as well. They also started to purchase land and quite a few of them owned 30-50 and up to 200-500 acres. They were very particular as to the education of their children, so much so that many Jewish pupils became graduates of High School and quite a few of them got University Diplomas as well. It is a well-known fact that out of all university graduates in Sombor forty were Jewish. The mother tongue of the Sombor Jews was, as a rule, Hungarian. The horrors of WWII did not bypass the Sombor Jewish community either. A number of them were recruited in forced labor units, while those who remained in the city were transported in 1944 to Auschwitz and other concentration camps. In all 964 Sombor Jews perished in these houses of death. The young generation of the Sombor Jewish community took part in the Peoples’ Liberation War. According to the census taken after the war 46 citizens of Sombor registered themselves as belonging to the Jewish nation. Several Jews born in Sombor are living today in other cities of Yugoslavia, while a number of them emigrated to Israel after 1948.
Keywords:Jevreji - Sombor (1735-1970) / Jevreji - Sombor (1735-1970)
Source:Zbornik 4 : Studije, arhivska i memoarska građa o Jevrejima Jugoslavije, Jevrejski istorijski muzej - Beograd = Jewish studies 4 : Studies, archival and memorial materials about the Jews in Jugoslavia, Jewish historical museum - Belgrade, 1979, 4, 1-56
- Beograd : Savez jevrejskih opština Jugoslavije [Federation of Jewish Communitues in Jugoslavia]