The Arty Semite

Surveying the Jewish Remains of Bosnia-Herzegovina

By Samuel D. Gruber

  • Print
  • Share Share

Courtesy of Samuel D. Gruber/US Commission for Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad

Crossposted from Samuel Gruber’s Jewish Art & Monuments

I am pleased to report the release by the U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad of a report on the survey of “Jewish Heritage Sites of Bosnia-Herzegovina.” The survey of over 60 sites was organized and sponsored by the Commission, and carried out by researcher Ivan Ceresnjes, a former leader of the Bosnian Jewish community who is now with the Center for Jewish Art in Jerusalem. I edited the report and contributed to some of the sections when serving as Research Director of the Commission. Ruth Ellen Gruber also provided important information.

I first got involved in Jewish heritage sites in Bosnia when the Commission helped raise funds and organize the restoration of the prayer and pre-burial house at the venerable Sephardic cemetery in Sarajevo. The cemetery had suffered greatly during the Siege of Sarajevo and the building had been heavily damaged by fire. A picture of the restored structure is on the cover of the report. Many other sites have not fared so well. Many sites are still in ruins, and cemeteries are overgrown. Some cemeteries may still have landmines from the civil war.

Most of the data and photos in the report were collected from the early to mid-2000s. Some additions and corrections were made as late 2008. For the most part the situation for Bosnian Jewish sites has gotten worse except in the major centers of Sarajevo and Mostar.

The report includes information on synagogues, Jewish cemeteries and Holocaust sites in about three dozen towns. Most of this materials has never been published. The survey focused on cemeteries and Holocaust-related sites. Synagogues and former synagogues are listed and briefly described, but photos of synagogues are not included.

The Commission has also recently posted edited versions of my reports on the surveys of Jewish sites in Romania and Moldova. In all, the Commission organized close to 20 countrywide surveys of Jewish and other religious and ethnic minority sites during the years I was involved as Research Director. We did this work on shoestring budgets, always collaborating with local experts and enthusiasts and making our findings available to local Jewish communities and government cultural authorities. You can read more here about the Commission’s work and consult some of the surveys.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Siege of Sarajevo, Sarajevo, Samuel Gruber's Jewish Art and Monuments, Samuel D. Gruber, Ruth Ellen Gruber, Commission for the Preservation of America's Heritage Abroad, Ivan Ceresnjes, Bosnia-Herzegovina

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.