Croatian synagogue demolished by fascists to be rebuilt

(JTA) — The Jewish community of Zagreb, Croatia, is moving ahead with plans to rebuild a synagogue destroyed in World War II.

“We are conducting examinations in Prague Street on the site of our destroyed synagogue in order to rebuild it,” said a statement from the local Jewish community quoted Thursday by the Jutarnji newspaper.

Vladimir Salamon, the president of the Zagreb-based Jewish nonprofit Bet Israel, said he hoped a new synagogue would soon arise “on the site of the destroyed one.”

The site is a parking lot now and features a plaque memorializing the synagogue. A debate over whether to rebuild the synagogue started soon after Croatia became independent in 1991, but nothing was done partly because of disagreements within the Jewish community, the paper reported.

The synagogue was destroyed 1942 by the fascist Ustasha regime, which ruled Croatia under Nazi and Italian patronage from 1941 until May 1945.

Designed by the architect Franjo Klein, the Prague Street synagogue opened in 1867.

According to Bet Israel, Nazis and their collaborators murdered about 9,000 Jewish men, women and children in the city during the Holocaust. Less than 3,000 survived the Nazi occupation; 800 of them emigrated to Israel in 1948.

Only 509 Jews remain in all of Croatia, according to the 2011 census.

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