In Maribor, in the late Middle Ages, there lived a relatively large and important Jewish community. The had to leave the city at the end of the 15th century and the Maribor Jews then settled down in various places all across the world. Some of them later took up the Marpurg(er)/Marburg(er) surname, literally meaning “from Maribor”, or Morpurgo.
At the prompting of the Inner Austrian States to exile Jews from these provinces, on 18 March 1496, Maximillian I finally signed the decree on the exile of Jews from Styria, Wiener Neustadt and Neunkirchen. With the decree he defined that Jews from these provinces had to move away by 6 January 1497. After they left Maribor, a town in Styria, some Maribor Jews in the new places took up the Marpurg(er)/Marburg(er) or Morpurgo surname. The Morpurgo surname is the Italian variant of the Marpurger surname. It is supposed to have developed from the Venetian name for Maribor (Morpurch). Among all variants, including Marpurch, Morpurch, Morpurg, Mompurgo, de Morpurgo and Morpurgo de Nilma, Morpurgo itself is by far the most frequent surname of the descendants of the Maribor Jews.
Many Morpurgos were artful merchants and businessmen, as well as respectable and influential bankers, rabbis, physicians, university professors, engineers, politicians, booksellers, publishers, writers, poets, artists, etc. Their achievements prove that in the environments where they lived, they significantly contributed to the economic, as well as the social and cultural development. Today, the majority of Morpurgos still live in Italy, however, they also live in Austria, Croatia, France, Spain, Greece, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, the United States of America, Canada, Israel, Venezuela, Brazil, Surinam, etc.
With the exhibition The Morpurgos, the descendants of the Maribor Jews, we trace the diverse paths of the exiled Maribor Jews and pay tribute to their memory at the same time. The authors of the exhibition are Marjetka Bedrač and Dr Andrea Morpurgo. It was created as part of the project Tracing the paths of the Jews from Maribor. The realization of the exhibition was financially supported by Municipality of Maribor.
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