Murska Sobota is the capital the region of Prekmuje, situated near the Ledava stream and the very centre of the region, halfway between the Austrian and the Hungarian border. Murska Sobota became a city in 1366 and 1431. As early as in High Middle Ages, Murska Sobota was already an important economic and religious centre, benefiting from a developed network of communications and the right to hold fairs. The latter were mentioned in 1479 and in 1697, but the actually documents establishing the city's right to hold fairs have not been preserved. The city and its surrounding areas were plundered several times during Turkish invasions. The castle, such as it is today, dates back to the first half of the 18th century. Cadastral inscriptions of 1860 indicate that Murska Sobota was then an agricultural settlement.
The first Jewish prayer room was established in the house known as Küčan's. Before the Second World War, the Jews in Murska Sobota had a strong community and a majestic synagogue, which was solemnly inaugurated on 31 August 1908 and demolished in 1954 by the municipal authorities after purchasing the building from a decimated Jewish community.
The last rabbi in Murska Sobota was Dr. Lazar Roth, born in Jalšva in the Czech lands. He was much admired among the people and known for his erudite knowledge and philosophical debates. He lived behind the synagogue in the rabbi's house, famous for his rich personal library where he held religious classes for children. He was murdered in Auschwitz.
Many Jewish families lived in today's Slovenska street, the main commercial street in Murska Sobota. Jews were among the leading wholesale merchants in the city.
On 26 April 1944 all Jews were ordered to gather in the synagogue, with personal luggage alone. There, they were locked up over night without food or water and the next morning, all Jews of Murska Sobota were transferred to Čakovec and then to Nagykaniza, the main concentration camp before their final destination - Auschwitz-Birkenau. Only a handful survived and returned to Murska Sobota after the war. The majority of survivors left for Israel after 1948. Several bourgeois houses that used to belong to Jews are still there today, many of which had been confiscated by the municipality or bought below under duress from the heirs. An apartment block is standing on the site of the old synagogue. It is partially built from the stone of the synagogue and known as 'the Jewish block.'
Bojan Zadravec (email@example.com