70 Jews in Sarajevo, JTA Correspondent Finds, There Were 13,000 in 1940
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70 Jews in Sarajevo, JTA Correspondent Finds, There Were 13,000 in 1940

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The ancient Jewish community of Sarajevo, which numbered 13,000 in 1940, now consists of 70 men, women and children.

A correspondent of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency who arrived here today, a few days after the Germans had been driven from this city, which was the site of the assassination of the Austrian Arch-Duke Franz Ferdinand, which touched off World war 1, found the remaining Jews dazed by their long suffering and the joy of liberation.

The Sephardic Temple on Kralja Petra Street, which was one of the most beautiful synagogues in Europe, is littered with straw, manure and gasoline. The Germans had used half of it as a stable, and the other half as a garage. A large gaping hole in the roof marks the former location of the huge copper dome which was stolen by the Germans. The delicate Moorish columns and arches still stand, and the walls are sound. Without too much labor, it could be restored to its pre-war beauty.

That any Jews survived here is a miracele. A few, like Gahilie Kampi, a former reilroad inspector, hid inside the city for four years. The Solomon brothers, David and Raphael, who are expert auto mechanics, were kept alive in a prison here to work for the Germans. Others escaped to join the partisans. But the great majority of the Jews were shipped to Creation concentration camps and systemationlly slaughtered.

Immediately after the Jews were sent away, in 1941, truck loads of their personal belongings were taken to the various synagogues in the city where they were picked over by enemy officers who had first choice. Then came German non-coms and after them Ustashi officers.

The surviving Jews have no plans as yet for rebuilding the shattered Jewish community here, but some day, somehow, they hope that such plans can be made. With traditionally friendly treatment, the community flourished from its founding in the 15th century until the coming of the Uitler terror. The remnant left expects to make a slow come-back in the generations to come.

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