Vid Morpurgo and his lifetime

Vid Morpurgo and his lifetime

14. 06. 2016 
– 05. 09. 2016

The museum-documentary visiting exhibition of the Split City Museum presents the life and work of Vid Morpurg, one of the most prominent personalities of Split in the second half of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century.

On 18 March 1496, Emperor Maximilian I issued a decree expelling Jews from Styria, Vienna’s New Town, and Neunkirchen. Maribor’s Jews, then part of one of the most flourishing and important Jewish communities in all the Inner Austrian lands, had to leave the city by the Drava and move to other places. In the new places, individual expelled Maribor Jews took the surname Marpurgo or Morpurgo and thus brought the name of their former hometown to the world.

In 2016, 520 years have passed since the medieval expulsion of the Jews from Styria, i.e. from Maribor, so in memory and reminder of this landmark event at the Center of Jewish Cultural Heritage Synagogue Maribor, we have designed a two-year project In the Paths of the Jews of Maribor. With it, we want to present to the public both the medieval history of Maribor’s Jews as well as – in the case of the Morpurgo family – their life path and fate in the last five centuries. As part of the project, we are preparing various programs, from lectures and presentations, an international scientific meeting to pedagogical and educational activities, and the beginning and end of the project will be marked by two exhibitions. The first is the current exhibition Vid Morpurgo and his time, prepared by the Split City Museum.

Vid, also known as Vito, Morpurgo was born into a prominent Split Jewish family. As a bookseller and publisher, the founder of the famous Morpurgo Bookstore, which is still operating today, a merchant, politician, industrialist and entrepreneur who was involved in the production of liqueurs and wine and who contributed to the development of Split viticulture and winemaking, the initiator of the first steam kiln in Split, president of the Split Chamber of Commerce, deputy in the Dalmatian Assembly, municipal president and president of the First People’s Dalmatian Bank, he was among the most engaged Split dignitaries who were politically and culturally active right during the national revival in Dalmatia. Despite the extremely important role he played in the political, economic and cultural development of Split and Dalmatia, he always remained somewhat in the shadows, and perhaps precisely because of this, but also partly due to political circumstances and the destruction of the archives of the Split Jewish community in the Second World War, his his role in the socio-political life of Split was not sufficiently appreciated by the public for several decades, and his work and activities were also not sufficiently researched. With the exhibition, the Split City Museum tried to present the life and work of this great and diligent Split and Dalmatian personality to the public for the first time.

The honorary patron of the hosting of the exhibition Vid Morpurgo and his time is Her Excellency Vesna Terzić, the Croatian ambassador to Slovenia.

The programs of the Synagogue Maribor are financed by the Municipality of Maribor. Hosting the exhibition was also supported by Krka, d. d., Novo mesto.

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