A bilateral Slovenian-Israeli research project to digitize Jewish heritage in Slovenia is underway, conducted by the Center for Jewish Art (CJA) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and France Stele
Institute of Art History at the Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Ljubljana.
Funded by Israel’s Ministry of Science and Technology and the Slovenian Research Agency, the project aims at researching, documenting, and digitizing the Jewish architectural, cultural, and other heritage in Slovenia and integrating it in the Bezalel Narkiss Index of Jewish Art with its own web portal.
A statement notes that the project follows on from the earlier work of the Israeli researcher Zusya Efron (1966); Jewish Heritage Europe Director Ruth Ellen Gruber and Samuel D. Gruber (1996); CJA and the Department of Art History at the University of Ljubljana (2000‐2); and Janez Premk and Mihaela Hudelja (2014).
In the framework of the new project,
the Israeli and Slovenian researchers will deal with synagogues, medieval Jewish quarters, tombstones and their fragments in Jewish and military cemeteries and in museums, cemetery chapels, Holocaust memorials, ritual and cultural items, Hebrew manuscripts and books, old photographs and archival documents in public and private collections et al., testifying to Slovenia’s Jewish culture.
Jewish heritage within the borders of today’s Republic of Slovenia includes material remnants of medieval communities, as well as vestiges of Austrian, Hungarian, and Italian communities of the modern era.
The CJA described the project as follows:
The “Digitization of the Jewish heritage of Slovenia” aims to present a complete overview of the Jewish tangible and correlated intangible heritage within the borders of the Republic of Slovenia, using one of the most sophisticated and up-to-date documentation and digitization methods. The aim is to establish an English web portal named the “Jewish Heritage of Slovenia,” which will provide digital preservation of and access to Slovenian Jewish heritage and will contribute to the recognition of the Jewish civilization in Slovenia. We wish to make the digitized material known, accessible, and user-friendly to all audiences. The project deals with the Jewish heritage of Slovenia as a significant part of Slovenian and European cultural heritage and as part of the broader Jewish cultural heritage of the world.
The project is to achieve two major objectives: the documentation and digitization will permanently conserve and safeguard endangered material, and its integration into a special portal within the Bezalel Narkiss Index of Jewish Art will make it accessible to the users everywhere. The project will facilitate the popularization of the remarkably diverse Slovenian Jewish heritage not only in Slovenia, but also far beyond its borders.
Outline of the Research Program:
The following sites and collections will be researched, documented and digitized:
Ljubljana: the medieval Jewish quarter, the Jewish cemetery (ca. 30 tombstones), the Holocaust memorial, the contemporary synagogue and its ritual objects, objects in the National Museum of Slovenia, fragments of Hebrew manuscripts in the National Library and the University Library, and books in Hebrew type in the National Library and in the University Library;
Maribor: the medieval synagogue, the medieval Jewish quarter, the ritual objects and tombstones held in the Maribor Regional Museum and the synagogue, Jewish documents at the Maribor archive; the fragments of Hebrew manuscripts in the Archives of Theological Seminary; the Stolpersteine project;
Slovenj Gradec: the location of the Jewish cemetery;
Novo Mesto: fragments of Hebrew manuscripts in the Franciscan Monastery; historic material about an improvised military synagogue during the First World War;
Ptuj: the medieval Jewish quarter, tombstones in the local museum; the location of the Jewish cemetery
Kidričevo: Jewish tombstones at the Austro-Hungarian military cemetery of the First World War;
Štanjel: Jewish tombstones at the Austro-Hungarian military cemetery of the First World War;
Nova Gorica: the Jewish cemetery (ca. 900 tombstones), the cemetery chapel, the synagogue in Gorizia (Italy);
Koper: the medieval Jewish Quarter;
Piran: the medieval Jewish Quarter;
Izola: the medieval Jewish Quarter; testimonies for Asher Lemlein and his Messianic movement;
Lendava: the synagogue, the Jewish cemetery (176 tombstones), the cemetery chapel, ritual objects in the synagogue;
Murska Sobota: the Jewish memorial park (made of 8 Jewish tombstones), ritual objects in the city museum; the Holocaust memorial at the railway station;
Jewish tombstones in additional Austro-Hungarian military cemeteries of the First World War.
The following archival collections will be searched for historical materials:
Archives of the Republic of Slovenia, Ljubljana;
Center of Jewish Cultural Heritage Synagogue Maribor;
Regional Archives Maribor;
Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, Ljubljana;
Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia, Regional Unit Maribor;
Jewish Cultural Centre Ljubljana;
Maribor Regional Museum;
Murska Sobota Regional Museum;
Research and Documentation Center JAS, Ljubljana;
France Stele Institute of Art History, Ljubljana;
The Central Archives for the History of the Jewish People, Jerusalem: The Eventov Archives of the Association of Immigrants from the former Yugoslavia in Israel