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Until 1918, Trieste was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Holocaust claims. [October 2001] "...returned in August, 1997, five sacks of valuables, which were discovered in a Treasury vault and contain jewelry, precious stones, watches, coins, silver cutlery and other objects, personal items such as wedding rings, eyeglasses, gold teeth and prostheses, which were looted from Jews at the Nazi death camp of San Saba near Trieste. Tullia Zevi, President of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, formally accepted the sack from Ciampi. The Union will hand the property over to the Jewish community of Trieste, on the Adriatic coast of northern Italy."

Synagogues Without Jews: photos "Austria annexed Trieste in 1382 and didn't relinquish it to Italy until after World War I, but the city remained culturally Italian all along. Jews may have lived in Trieste as early as the 11th century and certainly from the 14th, although the kehillah was not formally organized until 1746. In the interest of maximal development of the port, the monarchy was lax in Trieste of its customary Jewish repression because Jews were presumed to promote the port's trade and growth potential.

Lacking synagogue and legal recognition, the small Ashkenazic Jewish community held services in a private home from the 15th century. When Vienna decreed a ghetto in 1693, the 60 Jews in a city of 3,000 bravely protested the ghetto location and held out until 1696 when they reluctantly gave up the struggle under heavy pressure and moved to the assigned ghetto houses. Wealthier Jews spilled out of the ghetto even before it was abolished by decree in 1764. After the ghetto gates came down in 1785, the Jewish population spread throughout the city and grew rapidly to 2,000 in 1811.

One of Jewish Trieste's most illustrious sons, Rabbi Professor Samuel David Luzzatto, (1800-1865) known as the Shadal, was a philosopher, poet, Bible scholar and translator. He directed the newly established rabbinical seminary, Collegio Rabbinico in Padua. His scholarship combined the deep erudition of the medieval rabbis with the newer trends in Judaic scholarship emanating from the enlightened Haskalah circles of northern Europe. He was a master of Hebrew philology and translated the Bible into Italian. His literary circle included Hebrew poets, such as his cousin Rachel Morpurgo-whose sonnets, elegies and wedding poems in the style of the Spanish Hebrew religious poets and the Italian Renaissance related mostly to family and biographical incidents.

A scion of the prominent Levy family of Trieste, the late Dr. Paolo Colbi, of Jerusalem, was a lawyer, historian and scholar, the Advisor on Christianity to the minister of religious affairs in Israel for many years. Among other publications, he portrayed episodes of his family's social, cultural and vocational history. In 1684, for example, Giacomo, son of Samuele Levi, earned a doctorate in philosophy and medicine from the University of Padua. The parchment Imperial Diploma is profusely illuminated with floral and symbolic motifs. Giacomo married his cousin Esmerelda. Their ornate Ketubbah and his diploma are both preserved in the Umberto Nahon Museum of Italian Jewish Art, in Jerusalem.

Although most Trieste Jews were not of Italian origin, they rallied to the unification of Italy. The peace settlement brought Trieste into the Kingdom of Italy in 1919. Immigration swelled Jewish numbers to 6,000; Jews were prominent in the city's economy and assimilation spread unchecked. In 1910, the affluent Trieste kehillah approved the construction of the Grande Synagoga. Designed by the architect brothers, Ruggero and Arduino Berlam, its plan followed the trend of other central European communities in a style reminiscent of Middle Eastern buildings, ancient and modern." [February 2009]

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Riseria di San Saba: site of the Nazi concentration camp and now a national monument (rose garden on site of crematorium) to Italian Jews and Resistance fighters killed by the Nazis. Sefer gal haavanim. Book of Stones of Rabbis and other personalities in Trieste by Lutsato, Aharon; Trieste, 1851 (Hebrew) notes: Period: 1753-1851. 88 tbsts (include a couple). Index by personal names. Short biographies. Source: National and University Library, Jerusalem


  • Jewish cemetery: Via Della Pace 4 - Trieste +39.040.814221
  • Jewish Community. Address: via S.Francesco 19, 34133 Trieste, ITALY. [October 2001]
  • Page from Austrian Jewish Museum re: Jewish Cemetery [May 2016]
  • Johannes Reiss, director from the Jewish Museum Eisenstadt,  "A benefactor to all who fell down, he lifted them up" (Dr. SigismondSpierer, 1925) A follow-up regarding the Jewish cemetery of Trieste: Another187 graves have been put online (altogether there are 349 now), 791individual names are indexed! Again one finds prominent names such as thefamous liquor dynasty Stock or Luzzatto, Morpurgo and Minerbi and severalfamilies from Vienna, Hohenems and Burgenland (such as Gerstl, Brunner or Ascoli), there is the headstone of Trieste's long-time chief rabbi Dr. Paolo Nissim, a headstone from Trieste's old Jewish cemetery from1836 and many beautiful and touching grave inscriptions in Hebrew which haveall been translated - and also many Triestine Jews which fell victim to the Nazi terror." [July 2016]
Last Updated on Thursday, 07 July 2016 14:43
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