The Maribor Synagogue


The synagogue in Maribor is one of the oldest preserved synagogues in Europe and is located on the Židovski trg Square. Built in the 14th century it was first mentioned in 1429, but most probably it already existed before that which can be presumed on the basis of the tombstone of rabbi Abraham dated from 1379. 

The synagogue was a religious, spiritual and cultural centre of the Jewish ghetto in the medieval Maribor and it was located in the south-east part of the walled city. A distinctive feature of the Maribor synagogue is the fact that there were always three or four seats reserved for Christian visitors. 

The synagogue was a place for weddings, circumcisions, religious instruction while legal matters were also occasionally conducted there. 

The Jews in Maribor are first mentioned between the years 1274 and 1296. They were mainly engaged in monetary affairs and banking and had very strong economic links with Prague, Dubrovnik, and Venice. The Jewish community also played an important economic role in the development of regional trade and bartering. 

 

THE JEWS IN MARIBOR

The Maribor Jewish community was one of the largest in Slovenia, while Maribor was a cultural and economic centre of Judaism in the inner Austrian regions of that time. The community flourished in the 15th century and around 300 Jews were living in the town and its surroundings. They were mainly involved in the business of loans, loaning money to rulers, noblemen, clergy, monasteries and townspeople as well. Due to overdue debts they became the owners of many houses, farms and vineyards in the area, which they sold relatively soon. 

MEDIEVAL EXPULSION FROM MARIBOR

The general economic crisis in Europe brought about a fierce competition between Jewish and Christian merchants and the matters got even worse due to Turkish and Hungarian incursions. The Styrian and Corinthian estates demanded from the emperor Maximilian I to expel the Jewish community. The emperor gave in to the pressure and expelled Jews with a decree in 1496. The deadline for the departure was 6 January 1497. Following the expulsion, the Jews moved from Maribor to Vienna, Lower Austria, Sopron County in Hungary, Moravia, Poland, Trieste, Gorizia etc.

In their new places of residence many Jews named themselves after the towns they came from. Today, the surname Marpurgo is still very common in Italy, but can also be found in United States and Israel. 

After the expulsion, the Jews returned to Maribor in 19th and 20th century and they were very active in the economic field, mainly in textile industry, where they were owners of factories or the managing staff and most of them belonged to the middle class. 

Around 100 Jews were living in pre-war Maribor, but presumably they did not form their own community and did not have a synagogue. Due to the anti-Semitic measures within the Kingdom of Yugoslavia Jews started to emigrate, but those who stayed were persecuted by the Nazis in April 1941. 

 

THE FAMOUS RABBI

At the end of the 15th century one of the most interesting representatives of the Maribor’s Jews was active in Maribor – rabbi Israel Isserlin, who was known for his knowledge and wisdom well beyond the borders. His ruminations and decisions are still valid in today’s Jewish law. During the time he was active in Maribor, the Maribor synagogue occasionally served as seat of the Supreme Rabbinate of Styria, Carinthia and Carniola. 

SYNAGOGUE THROUGH THE CENTURIES

The synagogue was located on a small square on the present day Židovska ulica Street. To the east of it lay a garden where presumably the first Jewish cemetery was located. In the south-east corner behind the garden there was a city guard post - Židoski stolp (Jewish tower), which was built as a part of the city wall. Under the synagogue there was a ritual bath (Mikveh) and there was a path leading to it through the Judovska vrata (Jewish gates). In 1477, a construction of school (beth midrash) was mentioned. 

After the expulsion of Jews in January 1497 their estates went into private ownership. Barbara and Bernardin Druckher bought the synagogue and also acquired most of the Jewish estates. They turned the synagogue into a Roman Catholic Church of All Saints. 

At the end of the 18th century, the synagogue was rebuilt and the bell tower was removed. In 1811 the building was used as an army warehouse, but later it was sold again into private ownership and refurbished into a residential building. 

In the 1980’s, the Maribor municipality turned the building into an art gallery. The synagogue thus become a cultural venue, especially after the year 2001, when it was operating under the Maribor Regional Museum. It acquired its current appearance and function in 2011 when it started to operate as an independent public institution the Jewish Cultural Heritage Synagogue Maribor. Today, the synagogue is a venue for various cultural events regarding Judaism and the Jewish culture. 



SINAGOGA MARIBOR

 

Sinagoga v Mariboru je ena najstarejših ohranjenih sinagog v Evropi in je na Židovskem trgu. Zgrajena je bila v 14. stoletju in je prvič omenjena leta 1429, vendar naj bi obstajal še pred tem letom, kar sklepajo na podlagi nagrobnika rabin Abraham iz leta 1379. 

Sinagoga je bila versko, duhovno in kulturno središče judovskega geta v srednjeveškem Mariboru in je bila na jugovzhodnem delu obzidanega mesta. Posebnost mariborske sinagoge je bila, da so bili trije ali štirje sedeži rezervirani za krščanske goste. 

Sinagoga je bila prostor za poroke, obrezovanja, verski pouk, v njej pa so občasno opravljali tudi pravne posle. 

Sinagoga je bila na današnji Židovski ulici na majhnem trgu. Vzhodno od nje je bil vrt z domnevnim prvim judovskim pokopališčem. Za vrtom pa je v jugovzhodnem vogalu stala mestna opazovalnica – Židovski stolp, ki je bil zgrajen v sklopu gradnje mestnega obzidja. Pod sinagogo je bilo obredno kopališče (mikveh), do katerega naj bi vodila pot skozi Judovska vrata. Leta 1477 pa je omenjena tudi gradnja šole – bet midraša. 

Po izgonu januarja 1497 njihove posesti preidejo v zasebne roke. Sinagogo kupita zakonca Barbara in Bernardin Druckher, ki si pridobita večino judovske posesti. Sinagogo pa preuredita v rimskokatoliško cerkev vseh svetnikov. 

Konec 18. stoletja je bila spet prezidana in odstranjen je bil zvonik. Leta 1811 je vojska zgradbo uporabljala kot skladišče, nato pa so jo spet prodali zasebnikom, ki so jo preuredili v stanovanjsko hišo. 

V 80. letih 20. stoletja je Mestna občina Maribor namenila zgradbo likovnemu razstavišču. Sinagoga je tako začela stopati po poti kulturno-prireditvenega prostora, predvsem po letu 2001, ki je deloval v sklopu Pokrajinskega muzeja. Današnjo podobo in namembnost pa dokončno dobi leta 2011, ko začne delovati kot samostojni javni zavod Center judovske kulturne dediščine. V njej se danes odvijajo različne kulturne prireditve na temo judovstva in judovske kulture. 

JUDI V MARIBORU

Mariborska judovska skupnost se je lahko štela za največjo na Slovenskem, sam Maribor pa je bil kulturno in gospodarsko središče judovstva v tedanjih notranje-avstrijskih deželah. V 15. stoletju skupnost doživi razcvet, v mestu in okolici naj bi tako živelo približno 300 Judov. Ti so se pretežno ukvarjali s posojilnimi posli, posojali so vladarjem, plemičem, duhovščini, samostanom in meščanom. Z zapadlimi dolgovi pa so postali lastniki številnih hiš, kmetij, vinogradov v okolici, ki so jih nato razmeroma hitro prodali. 

 

SREDNJEVEŠKI IZGON IZ MARIBORA

Splošna gospodarska kriza v Evropi povzroči hudo konkurenco med judovskimi in krščanskimi trgovci, zadeve pa še poslabšajo turški in madžarski vdori. Štajerski in Koroški stanovi tako od cesarja Maksimiljana I. zahtevajo izgon Judov, cesar klene pod pritiskom in jih leta 1496 izžene z odlokom. Zadnji rok za zapustitev Maribora je bil 6. 1. 1497. po izgonu so se mariborski judje preselili na Dunaj, spodnjo Avstrijo, Šopronjsko škofijo na Madžarskem, Moravsko, Poljsko, Trst, Gorico …

V novih krajih se je mnogo Judov poimenovalo po kraju, od koder so prihajali – Marpurgo, priimek, ki je še danes pogost zlasti v Italiji, najdemo pa ga tudi v Združenih državah Amerike in Izraelu. 

Po izgonu ponovno srečamo jude v 19. in 20. stoletju, kjer so mnogi bili aktivni na gospodarskem področju, zlasti v tekstilni industriji, bili so lastniki tovarn ali vodstveni delavci, večina pa jih je pripadala srednjemu meščanskemu sloju. 

V predvojnem Mariboru je živelo približno 100 Judov, ki naj ne bi bili povezani v skupnost in niso imeli sinagoge. Zaradi protijudovskih ukrepov Jugoslavije se je začelo izseljevanje Judov, tisti, ki pa so ostali, pa so bili nacistično pregnani aprila leta 1941. 

ZNANI RABIN

Konec 15. stoletja je v Mariboru deloval eden najzanimivejših predstavnikov mariborskih Judov – rabin Isserlein Pethaja, čigar učenost in razgledanost sta bili poznani tudi preko meja. Njegova razmišljanja in odločitve pa v rabinskem pravu veljajo še danes. V njegovem času je mariborska sinagoga občasno služila kot sedež Vrhovega rabinata za Štajersko, Koroško in Krajnsko. 


Tekst zbrala in uredila: Eva Mataln 

Prevod: Maja Miklavc & Miha Odar

Fotografije: Igor Unuk & Rene Strgar

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