Briefly about Lendava Jewry

Jews, who settled mainly in urban centres, were an important factor in the development of the economy and bourgeoisie in Lendava (Dolnja Lendava until 1955), as evidenced by the buildings on Main Street (Glavna ulica) in Lendava. Lendava also has the largest number of preserved traces of Judaism in the whole of Prekmurje.

After 1867, when the Austro-Hungarian monarchy was established and closer ties were established between Austria and Hungary, Lendava became a district centre, which meant that the town began to develop rapidly and by leaps and bounds. The indicators of the development of the bourgeoisie were: notariat, court, savings banks, fire brigade, bourgeois school, street lighting, railway, hotel, umbrella factory, brickworks, etc. The population of the town was ethnically and religiously very heterogeneous. In addition to Catholics, there were a large number of evangelicals, and from the second half of the 18th century Jews began to immigrate. A strong and influential Jewish community emerged.

Jews were merchants, craftsmen, innkeepers, doctors, founders of savings banks, owners of industrial plants, lawyers and influential, even leading, men in the city. They were the agents of the development of the golden age of the bourgeoisie in Lendava.

The way of life of the Jewish people is inextricably linked to religion, moral precepts, rituals and regulations.

The Jews of Lower Lendava also cultivated a sense of belonging to a community and distinguished themselves from others in important segments of life (food, school, religious rituals, clothing). They placed great emphasis on education, so many members of the community were highly educated and therefore engaged in important activities in the town.

Like most Prekmurje Jews, the Jews of Lendava before the Second World War were non-Orthodox, although there were some Orthodox Jews in the town before the First World War, but they assimilated over the years. The predominant languages of communication were Hungarian, German and Croatian.

After the occupation in 1941, Jews in Lendava began to be harassed, deprived of the right to practice their trades and professions, and forced to wear the Star of David from 1 April 1944. On 26 April 1944, on the orders of the Hungarian gendarmes, they had to report to the synagogue, from where they were taken the next day on a long journey of no return – to Auschwitz!