Jews have lived in what is today Slovenia since at least the end of the 12th century. They were active as merchants, bankers, and artisans and carried out extensive trade between central and southern Europe. Their main center was the city of Maribor. However, when this territory became part of Austria in the 15th century, the Jews were expelled. After the emancipation of Jews in Austria in 1867, a small number settled in Slovenia. In 1941, after the invasion of Yugoslavia, Slovenia was occupied and divided between the Germans, Italians, and Hungarians. By 1944, the Germans controlled the entire territory of Slovenia. Nearly all of the Jews perished in Auschwitz and elsewhere. A small number, however, survived by joining the partisans or by escaping to Italy. After the war, the Jewish community in Slovenia was not reconstituted, and only in recent years has it been revitalized.
There are about 100 Jews in Slovenia, nearly all of whom reside in either Ljubljana, the capital, or in Maribor, the second largest city.
The Judovska skupnost Slovenije (Jewish Community of Slovenia) is the Jewish communal organization. A resident Chabad rabbi tends to the religious needs of the community, which is also assisted by the Jewish community in nearby Trieste, Italy.
Jewish Community of Slovenia
2, Trzaska Street
SI-1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia
Tel: +386 31 376468, +386 41 746011
One of the oldest preserved synagogues in Central Europe, dating back to 1429, is located in Maribor. In the second quarter of the 15th century, the synagogue was the seat of the rabbinate of Styria, Carinthia and Carniola, but after the Jews were expelled from Maribor in 1496, the building was transformed into a Catholic church. From the end of the 18th century until the end of the 20th, the former synagogue was used as a warehouse and later as dwellings. Since April 2001, and after undergoing extensive renovations, it became the Maribor Synagogue Cultural Center, which is dedicated to the presentation of Jewish history, tradition and cultural heritage.
The synagogue in Ljubljana (Trzaska Street) is only open for major Jewish holy days.
There are historic cemeteries in a number of cities and towns, including Ljubljana and Lendava. The burial ground at Rozna Dolina (Nova Gorica) is preserved as a historic monument. In January 2012, in order to commemorate the life and death of several Jewish families in Maribor, Stolpersteine were installed in the streets of the city near the old Jewish Ghetto.
Israeland Slovenia enjoy full diplomatic relations. Israel is represented by its ambassador in Vienna and Slovenia has an embassy in Tel Aviv.
For up-to-date information on Kosher restaurants and locations, please see the Shamash Kosher Database