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The Jews of Maribor were first mentioned in 1277 when they allegedly already lived in their own quarter of the city, but the first reliable source dates back to 1317. The Jewish ghetto was located in the south-eastern part of the city walls and it comprised, at its peak, several main streets in the city centre as well as part of the main city square. The ghetto boasted a synagogue, a Jewish cemetery and possibly also a Talmudic school. The synagogue in Maribor was a magnificent building, outstanding in its side and architectural features in comparison with other synagogues in Central Europe; it reflected the wealth and the power of the local Jewish community. The Jewish community of Maribor was numerically most significant around the year 1410. They were money lenders and merchants and some Jews from Maribor were also famous for their healing talents. The data on taxation of real estate of that time indicate that the real estate owned by Jews spread outside the ghetto towards the centre of the city as well as towards its suburbs. At these estates, Jews produced kosher food and supplied other Jewish communities in the area. After 1450, the circumstances changed dramatically: increasing competition that coincided with an economic crisis dealt a severe blow to economic activities that were crucial to their economic success. According to the decree issued by Emperor Maximilian I in 1496, Jews were forced to leave Maribor and were resettled in the vicinity of cities such as Wienner Neustadt and Neukirchen. Many left these places and moved to the coastal regions of Dalmatia and Istria or to the Italian region of Friuli-Venezia Giulia, as well as to Poland and the Czech lands. The typical Jewish family name Marburg (and its numerous variations such as Marpurg, Morpurck, Marburger, Morpurghi, Morpurgo) indicates their place of origin.

Martina Bofulin (martina_bofulin@yahoo.com)


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- Maribor Municipality
- Provincial Museum Maribor