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[January 2009]: Post-Second World War communist Yugoslavia (six federated republics: Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, and Montenegro under Marshal Josip Broz Tito): Jewish life began to return to the Balkans. With approximately 14,500 out of a pre-war population of 16,000 Serbian Jews killed, from 1948 many of those survivors migrated to Israel. Abandoned and ruined synagogues and cemeteries: Former synagogues gradually weree either demolished or had new uses. Many cemeteries were abandoned with some pillaged and gravestones used for construction. Others became overgrown and almost forgotten.

The Jewish community (about 6,000 people throughout the former Yugoslavia) was recognised as both an ethnic and a religious community. Communist Yugoslavia was not a part of the Soviet bloc so local Jews were not persecuted or isolated. They further assimilated into society and lost contact with religious life. There was only one rabbi in the country. The Federation of Yugoslav Jewish Communities cared for Jewish cemeteries, synagogues, and other infrastructure where communities no longer exist. Some cemeteries were moved. Some were maintained. The Jewish community also erected close to thirty memorials within former Yugoslavia to commemorate Jews  lost during the war. Throughout the 1980s, wide-ranging programs run by the Federation and individual Jewish communities were helped by international Jewish philanthropy.

This began with the secession of Slovenia, and then of Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, in 1991. A series of bloody Balkan wars tore apart the country, left hundreds of thousands of dead and millions displaced, and destroyed thousands of religious, cultural and historic heritage sites. The state's collapse made the the continuation of Jewish institutions particularly difficult, even without the trauma of war and the Jewish emigration that resulted. Gradually the small Jewish communities of the former Yugoslavia have recreated themselves as more locally-based organizations, gradually rebuilt earlier connections, and expanded their association with Jewish communities and institutions in Israel and throughout Europe.


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