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Alternate names: German: Semlin, Hungarian: Zimony, Roman: Taurunu. Vojvodina province at 44°51' N 20°24' E, 3.7 miles WNW of Belgrad . 1939 Jewish population was about 600. 2010 population is 100,000 with 140 Jews.

  • Town Officials: City Belgrade the municipal assembly of Zemun, Magistratski trg no. 1, 11080 Zemun, tel + 011 2610 404, +011 613-474,+381 11 2612 879 i +381 11 3160 909, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
  • Local Preservation Authority: Zavod za zaštitu spomenika kulture grada Beograda (Institute for Protection of Cultural Monuments), Kalemegdan no.14. Milana Jočić, +381 11 2631-766, +381 11 3287 411
  • Regional Preservation Authority: Republički zavod za zaštitu spomenika kulture Srbije (State Bureau for Protection of Cultural Monuments of Serbia), Božidara Adžije St. 17, +011 454-766, director Omčikus
  • Also Interested in site: 1. Savez Jevrejskih opština Srbije - FEDERATION OF JEWISH COMMUNITIES IN SERBIA ,Jevrejska opština Zemun -Jewish community in Zemun 2. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it & This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Dubrovačka St. no. 21 11080 Zemun, SCG,  tel/fax  + 381 11 195 626
  • Caretaker with key: Predrag Srećković, 32, Cara Dušana St.. Entrance from Cara Dušana street is locked. Keys are in possession of Mr. Predrag Srećković, mob. tel. +381 63 7168091

The urban cemetery on flat land is separate, but near other cemeteries. The cemetery is reached by turning directly off a public road. The cemetery has a locked gate, a continuous masonry wall, and a broken fence. Approximate size of cemetery before World War II in hectares was 0.477 ha and now is 0.4 ha. Cemetery contains 563 gravestones with 500 in original location and 30 not in original location, less than 10%. The marble, granite, limestone, sandstone and slate gravestones are flat shaped stones, finely smoothed and inscribed stones, flat stones with carved relief decoration, double tombstones, multi-stone monuments, horizontally set stones with Sephardic inscriptions, and obelisks (some with metallic elements, portraits on stones, or metal fences around graves) have inscriptions in Hebrew, Yiddish, German, Serbia, Hungarian and Ladino. 2005 restoration work includes re-erection of stones, patching of broken stones, cleaning of stones, clearing of vegetation, and fixing of gate. A pre-burial house has a catafalque and a chimney. Security and vandalism are serious threats. Although the cemetery is locked after certain evening hours, it does not stop unwanted visitors from entering through broken fence at the side of the cemetery. Wire mesh on the fence is deliberately moved to enter the graveyard. Serious vandalism over the past ten years and more has left many monuments deliberately broken or with various anti-Semitic graffiti. There were also attempts to open some of the graves. This survey was completed by Nenad Fogel, Dubrovačka 21, 11080 Zemun, Srbija i Crna Gora, + 381 11 195 626.  She notes that the entrance at 7 Sibinjanina Janka Street is for visitors to Catholic and Orthodox graves. The Jewish cemetery is not separated from the other two by any fence. The exceptionally high number of trees do not endanger the monuments. The monuments are generally in good condition, especially those from the end of 19th century. The older monuments (18th century) are mostly unreadable due to erosion caused by elements and materials used in that period. Care taken today is limited by Jewish community financial potential. [January 2010]. She used the following documentation:

  • Book: Jevrejska zajednica u Zemunu 1739 - 1945 (Jewish Community in Zemun 1739 - 1945), author Danilo Fogel
  • Archive of Jewish Community of Zemun
  • Photographs of the cemetery taken during 2003, found on the website.

Town history.[January 2010]

The Jewish community of Zemun graciously donated a CD of photographs of the Jewish cemetery and a brochure of the community's 268 year history written by Nenad Fogel. Included about the cemetery is a founding date of 1739, concurrent with "a large number of German settlers ... mostly tradesmen and craftsmen." In 1739, Turkish sovereignty was reestablished. Twenty Ashkenazi Jews stayed on to settle Zemun. Prior to WWII, a 1740 gravestone remained, destroyed with other gravestones when part of the cemetery was gifted to the municipality. The oldest gravestone extant today dates from 1741. The cemetery has two entrances, one from Cara Dusana Street and an entrance from the chapel on Sibinjanin Janka Street with a gate under No. 7. The cemetery is open all year and handicapped accessible. The chapel built in the second half of the 19th century is used as the only prayer house existing today. A Holocaust memorial commemorates the 574 victims of the Zemun Jewish community including neighboring villages of Jasenovac and Stara Gradiska. Some of them perished at Auschvic Camp. A mass grave of victims from Staro Sajmiste camp (Judenlager Semlin) has a memorial. Author Aladar Polak was born here. Theodore Herzl's paternal grandfather (Simon) lived here. Rabbi Yehuda ben Shlomo Hai Alkalai served here for fifty years. Gabriel Polgar, timber merchant, lived here. In the early 1970s, the Zemun Jewish Community was pressured to relinquish a part of its cemetery for non-Jewish burials. Relevant records show persistent pressure to agree to confer one part of the cemetery. Zemun Jewish Community conceded to officially relinquish part of its cemetery to the municipality of Zemun. 1974 Photographs by  David Montiljo record how the oldest part of the cemetery once looked and underscore the cultural and historical impairment it suffered. Instead of a planned relocation of well-preserved monuments, what remains today is remnants of some thirty broken headstones and monuments that have been partially conserved in three rows with no marking or explanation why they had been placed there. At the time of relocation the oldest monuments, at the time still legible from 1745, were ruined. Among them were the monuments of Theodore Herzl's ancestors. The monuments of Theodore Herzl's grandfather Simon and grandmother Rivka were preserved. The Jewish community sees to ongoing protection and maintenance. For more information, contact The Jewish Community of Zemun, Miss Ria Beherano. Phone +381 11 195 626 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . [January 2010]

A small and active Jewish community exists at Zemun, a suburb of Belgrade, with a prayer room in their community headquarters. From the 18th century, Zemun was the last outpost of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. An exhibition catalogue of theirs shows history and culture. An Ashkenazi Neo-Romanesque synagogue built in the mid 19th centuryis owned by the city and used as a restaurant. The Jewish community is attempting to buy back the building at 4 Rabbi Alkalaj Street. The destroyed Sepharic synagogue site has a memorial plaque as does the former school.

Jewish Cemetery: Cara Dusana 32, Dubrovacka 21, 11080 Zemun. +381 11 195 626, Dating from 1747, the cemetery contains the gravestones of some of Theodor Herzl's family, who were from Zemun. The cemetery has a ceremonial hall and two Holocaust memorials. Vandals toppled nine tombstones in the summer of 1997. ("A broad daylight attack on 24 July 1997 damaged the cemetery when nine tombstones were toppled or damaged." Source: Ruth Gruber's Jewish Heritage Report, vol.1 issue 3-4. 123 Clark St., Syracuse, NY 13210. Zemun, Yugoslavia Report. Winter 1997-98.) The cemetery and its buildings were repaired between 2003 and 2005. The Hevra Kadisha cares for the site established by the Jewish Community of Zemun between 1770 and 1780. [January 2009]

Sajmište concentration camp, on the left bank of the Sava river several kilometres from Zemun, murdered more Serbian Jews than any other site. A complex of over 15,000 sq m was built in 1938 on previous marshy site used for trade fairs. From 1941 to 1944, the Germans operated the large concentration camp. From December 1941 through February 1942, all Jewish women and children in Serbia were taken to Sajmište. The mortality rate was high. In late February, a gas van arrived from Berlin. From March to May 1942, those Jews were gassed to death--approximately 8,000 Jews died during the camp's operation. In 1944, Sajmište was hit by US bombers although the bombers' intended target was the nearby railway station. In July 1987, Sajmište was designated as a cultural site, protecting it from development. In 1995, a memorial for Sajmište victims was erected. Address: left bank of Sava River, several kilometres from Zemun, by the railway bridge at the entrance into Belgrade itself. [January 2009]

Last Updated on Saturday, 17 April 2010 11:05
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