In 1492, the Spanish and Portuguese inquisitions arose and started targeting and exiling Jews, Muslims, and Protestants, resulting in the migration of the largest Jewish community in Europe to have existed. Protestants were welcome in Northern Europe, but the Muslims and Jews had no country to turn to, except for the Ottoman Empire, which welcomed them with open arms.
Thousands of Sephardic Jews arrived in Bosnia along with an original Haggadah, of which only two were ever made, and created their own communities, making Sarajevo one of the safest places for Jews in Europe. The oldest and most unique cemetery in Southern Europe.
After the Austro-Hungarians annexed Bosnia, Ashkenazi Jews moved in, and the Jewish population in Sarajevo peaked at 14,000, which at 18% meant that Sarajevo had the largest percentual Jewish population in all of Europe. They helped build the vibrant Ferhadija street, where they worked in most shops, and the largest Sephardic synagogue in the Balkans was built here.
Sadly, during the holocaust, most of the Jews were killed, and only four synagogues remain. Later again, during the Balkan wars, Jews fled the sieged city of Sarajevo, and today around 1,000 Jews remain. The sacred Haggadah, however, survived centuries of turmoil, and gives us hope that so too can the Jewish population of Sarajevo.
Unavailable for requested date: 24-07-2021