In the Middle Ages, in Maribor lived a both numerically and economically extremely strong Jewish community, influential even in the broader geographical area. The Maribor Jews dealt with trade and money-lending, their business and family contacts extended all the way to Prague, Dubrovnik, Venice and even Ancona. The main Jewish quarter was in the south-eastern part of medieval Maribor, while some Jews also had their houses and properties located in other parts of the city and on the outside of the city walls.
One of the most renowned member of the Maribor medieval Jewish community was rabbi Israel Isserlein, also known as Israel ben Petachia or Israel from Marpurk. He lived in the city during the second quarter of the 15th Century, his considerations and decisions are still today valid in Jewish law.
At the end of the 15th century, the emperor Maximillian I exiled the Jews from Styria, and, as a result, they had to leave the city area beside the river Drava, as well. The Maribor Jews later settled all around the world and with their surname Marpurgo or Morpurgo, they carried with them the memory of medieval Marpurg.
The Jews only started to immigrate to Maribor once more after three long centuries but their number remained small up to the Second World War. In the 1930′s they were especially strongly embedded into the Maribor textile industry in which an important position was held by the Jewish entrepreneur Marko Rosner. He was an owner of several factories and known for his charity.
Many Maribor Jews did not manage to escape the Nazi persecution and lost their lives during the Holocaust. Today, only a handful of Jews live in the city. However, a preserved medieval synagogue, which is the only synagogue from this period on Slovenian soil and one of the few preserved synagogues in the whole Central European area, is a reminder of the Jewish cultural-historical heritage of the city.
The tour tracing the heritage of the Maribor Jews will be guided by Dr Janez Premk and Boris Hajdinjak. The guided tour will start at 5 p. m. in front of the synagogue at Židovski trg. Due to a limit to the number of participants, please apply in advance to the e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org.
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