A permanent Jewish population in Slovakia can be traced as far back as the 11th century; after the decline of old medieval communities, Jew began to settle there in large numbers from the mid-17th century and especially in the 18th century. The communities formed during that period remained until the Holocaust. During the Second World War, the persecution of Slovak Jews intensified after September 1941, when a special Jewish Codex was issued. The mass deportation of Jews to concentration and working camps began. Approximately 70 thousand Slovak Jews became victims of the Holocaust.
The Maribor Synagogue Center of Jewish Cultural Heritage has cooperated successfully with similar institutions and Jewish museums for several years. Besides presenting Jewish heritage and culture on Slovenian soil, we also hope to provide the public with, among other things, an insight into the life of Jewish communities in other parts of Europe and the world. In the former Maribor synagogue, we have hosted museum-documentary exhibitions presenting the history of Jews in Vienna, Varaždin, Koprivnica, Rijeka and Moravia. With the present exhibition, we present the history and culture of the Jews in Slovakia and the Museum of Jewish Culture from Bratislava, which is the central institution for the research and presentation of the Holocaust and Jewish spiritual and material in Slovakia.
Regardless of the destructive consequences of the Holocaust, the aversion of the post-war government to the Jewish community, and the decline of the once extremely diverse Jewish life, a relatively rich Jewish heritage was preserved in Slovakia. The network of Slovak Jewish heritage, which is part of the European Route of Jewish Heritage, encompasses approximately 24 locations with preserved synagogues, Jewish cemeteries and museums of Jewish culture. The Museum of Jewish Culture from Bratislava is part of the network of 18 specialized museums operating under the auspices of the Slovak National Museum. It was formed out of the Department for Jewish Culture, which operated until 1994, at the Historical Museum of the Slovak National Museum.
The museum collection consists of almost 5,100 objects which were mainly connected to Jewish daily life and rituals in synagogues, such as synagogue equipment, documents, as well as visual art products. The museum library keeps approximately 5,400 units of printed materials. The objects are mainly personal donations from the people who survived the Holocaust and their descendants. Each donated object, seemingly unimportant, thus has its own story and carries extraordinary historical, artistic and emotional value, which imposes a significant moral obligation on the museum. The objects that belonged to the murdered victims of the Holocaust are particularly valuable. With the documentary exhibition in Maribor Synagogue, the Museum of Jewish Culture from Bratislava invites you to explore Jewish cultural heritage on Slovak soil, view its permanent exhibitions and visit the museum programmes.
The project was prepared in cooperation with the Embassy of the Slovak Republic and the Slovak National Museum – Museum of Jewish Culture from Bratislava. The CJCH Synagogue Maribor programmes are financed by the Municipality of Maribor.
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