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BANJA LUKA (Republic of Srpska) PDF Print E-mail

Alternate names: Banja Luka, Бања Лука [Serb], Banjaluka, Banyaluka, Banialuka, Banialuca. 44°47' N, 17°11' E, 87 miles NW of Sarajevo. Second-largest city in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 1921 Jewish population: 484.

  • Encyclopedia of Jewish Life (2001), p. 84: "Banja Luka".
  • Pinkas HaKehilot, Yugoslavia (1988), p. 34: "Banja Luka"
  • Jevrejski Almanah, 1-2 (1926-27), index. Spomenpca 400 (1966)
  • Y. Eventov, Toledot Yehudei Yugoslavia, vol. I (1971), 97-99
  • Z. Loker (ed.), Toledot Yehudei Yugoslavia, vol. II (1991), 213-15. population was 196,500. metro area (municipalities of BL, Laktasi and Celinac), Banja Luka 2006 population was about 270,000. Serbs (92%), Bosnian Muslims (4%), Croats (2%),Others (2%).

Banja Luka is the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Banja Luka. During World War II most of Banja Luka's prominent Serbian and Sephardic Jewish families were deported to nearby Croatian concentration camps, such as Jasenovac and Stara Gradiska in Croatia. Banja Luka's Jewish community is virtually non-existent.* earthquake of 1969, when the city has seen a boom in housing construction.

"Approximately *50 Jews live in Banja Luka, Bosnia's second city and de facto capital of the republic of Srpska. Two synagogues existed before the Second World War. Both have been destroyed.The Jewish cemetery was established in 1883. In 1977 the bodies were exhumed and transferred to the new Jewish section of the municipal cemetery. The remains of those without living relatives were placed in a common grave and a single monument created on which all their names were inscribed; those whose families were still alive were reburied with their existing gravestones. Today, in addition to the communal grave, there are about 25-50 tombstones in the cemetery; their inscriptions are in Hebrew, German and Serbian. There is also a Holocaust memorial." Source January 2009]

"The earliest reference to a Jewish community dates from 1713, when Jewish merchants of Banja Luka appealed to the French government to appoint one of them French mercantile consul in the town. The community had both a Sephardi and an Ashkenazi synagogue and numbered 226 persons in 1875, 336 in 1895, and 457 in 1927. A joint community center was built in 1936. It was damaged by Allied bombing in 1944. Each congregation had its own rabbi: Menachem Romano for the Sephardim, Pinchas Keller and Mavro Frankfurter for the Ashkenazim. There was some Zionist activity under the leadership of Judah Levy and Hans Bramer. Both synagogues were destroyed during the Holocaust, when most of the local Jews perished. From the 1990s Banja Luka was the seat of the Republika Srpska (Serbian Republic) as part of the Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina. A small Jewish community was reestablished." Source: Jewish Virtual Library.

Last Updated on Friday, 03 September 2010 21:19
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