Serbia has issued a set of commemorative stamps honoring three iconic synagogues — those in Subotica, Novi Sad, and Belgrade.
The set, issued on October 19, is titled “Sacral Jewish Architecture in Serbia.”
Each stamp is a multi-colored painting of the synagogue, by an artist identified as M. Nikolić. They are sold in nine-stamp sheets, with the individual stamps arranged in three-stamp rows.
Many countries have issued commemorative stamps showing synagogues over the past few decades — Hungary, Romania, Italy, the United States, Barbados, India, Austria, Germany, to name a few.
The new Serbian stamps show:
Belgrade’s Synagogue Sukkat Shalom
Before World War II, Belgrade had three synagogues; only one remains, at ulica Marsala Birjuzova 19. It is an imposing but simple Ashkenazic synagogue, designed by Milan Schlang and dedicated in 1925 behind a gated wall in a good-sized yard. It was used as a military brothel by the Nazis. Today it is well maintained and used for regular services.
The Synagogue in Novi Sad:
11 Jevrejska ulica/Trg slobode 1
The synagogue in Novi Sad was designed by the Budapest architect Lipot Baumhorn (1860-1932), Europe’s most prolific twentieth-century designer of synagogues. Built between 1906 and 1909, it is part of a complex that includes both private flats and the offices and function rooms of the city’s Jewish community. The eclectic design combines medieval elements with those borrowed from Hungarian folk culture. The three-aisled main sanctuary space is topped by a 130-foot high Renaissance-inspired dome with stained glass in its cupola. Two fanciful towers flank the grandiose entrance façade, which features a large rose window under an arch. In the 1940s Jews from Novi Sad were imprisoned in the synagogue before their deportation to Nazi death camps. The building was also used as a storehouse for furniture and other possessions left behind by the city’s Jews. The synagogue underwent renovation in the early 1990s and is currently used for concerts and performances as well as for the celebration of major Jewish holidays.
The Synagogue in Subotica is one of the most impressive Art Nouveau synagogues in central Europe and forms part of the Art Nouveau complex of the town center and outlying Palic park. Built in 1902, it was designed by the Budapest-based architects Marcel Komor and Dezso Jakab who originally submitted a similar design as their entry in the competition for the Great Synagogue in nearby Szeged, Hungary (the competition was won by Lipot Baumhorn). The synagogue underwent fitful restoration beginning in the 1970s — and after many setbacks was finally rededicated in March 2018.