Jewish Heritage Europe

Museums, Memorials & Cultural Institutions

BANJA LUKA

Ariel Livne Jewish Culture Center

Ul. Gavre Vučkovića 2
78000, Banja Luka
Bosna i Hercegovina
Tel: +387 51 302 752
Email: jobl@blic.net

SARAJEVO

Old Synagogue/Jewish Museum

Il Kal Vjezu
Velika avlija bb
71000 Sarajevo
Tel: +387 033 535 688

The Old Synagogue (known locally as Il Kal Vjezu) was built in 1581, and damaged by fires of 1697 and 1788. The synagogue was abandoned following World War II; a Jewish Museum was established in the building in 1966, and most of the synagogue’s ornamentation was removed. An agreement with the Sarajevo City Museum to operate the museum remained in effect until 1992. However, the museum closed during the war of the 1990s and used the synagogue as an office and a warehouse for its holdings.

The synagogue was rededicated in 2004 and is now both a place of worship and a museum, cultural and educational center: The Museum of the Jews of Bosnia and Herzegovina, a branch of the Sarajevo Museum. A new Ark has been installed in the apsidal space designed for this use, and on special occasions the ground floor is used for services. The two upper floors, which consist of arched stone balconies surrounding the sanctuary area, house historical exhibits. These displays make clear the richness of pre-Holocaust Jewish life in Sarajevo and give an outline of the history of the Holocaust in Bosnia.

 Museum web site, with pictures from the permanent exhibition

TRAVNIK

Travnik city museum has a small collection of Jewish ritual objects. Silver artifacts include Megillah(Scroll of Esther) cases and a silver prayer book cover believed to have belonged to one of the city’s oldest Jewish families, the Konfortis. The objects were discovered in 1989 during the digging of foundations for a new house.

According to Ivan Ceresnjes, of the Center for Jewish Art:

One of the Esther Scrolls is engraved with Konforti’s name and the date 5650 (1890). There is also an engraved floral decoration and a hallmark indicating that this was made by the same artisan who made the prayer book cover.

The second Esther Scroll is silver, machine stamped and chased. A cartouche decorating the scroll has a decorative monogram with the letters JK, probably Jacob or Jeruham Konforti.

The silver book cover is engraved with an open work interlaced foliage motif. On the front cover there is an oval medallion inscribed with the family name and the date 5650. The back cover is identical to the front including the oval, but without the inscription. Both the engraving and the cutting for the open work are done by machine. 

The fourth item that was found in the cache is a silver belt made with a floral motif.

ZENICA

Municipal Museum in former Synagogue

Muzej Grada Zenice
Jevrejska 1
Tel: +387 (0) 32 02 020

The Moorish-style former synagogue was given by the local Jewish community to the municipality in the 1960s in exchange for two residential flats; today it is used as the Municipal Museum. The building is well-maintained, though no original interior features are visible. The sanctuary has been divided into two floors with an exhibition area downstairs and storage above. The small museum office occupies part of the former women’s gallery, above what was once the vestibule. The museum has a collection of Jewish ritual objects which include silver Torah finials from 1896, Hanukah menorot, and Torah staves with mother-of-pearl inlays.