Jewish Community in Visegrad
Image: The Synagogue in Visegrad, converted after WWII into the Fire-station.
The first Jews arrived in Visegrad at the beginning of the XIX century. According to “Bosnian Glasnik”, in 1908 there were 177 Jews living in Visegrad while in 1940 that number was around 110. Many after finishing their education moved to other towns like Sarajevo, Belgrade or Zagreb in search for jobs.
During the First World War, Visegrad was the center of many battles between Austro-Hungaria and Serbia. Most of the population had to seek refuge in Central Bosnia.
In 1905 the Jewish community built a new synagogue in Visegrad because the old one was decrepit. During World War Two, when the Germans entered the town, the synagogue was ransacked and turned into a storage area and later a stable for horses.
The Germans did not stay long in the town and it was handed over to the Italians.
The Ustashas were not able to deport the Visegrad Jews since the Yugoslav Partizans disabled the railway tracks.
A large number of Visegrad Jews escaped from Visegrad towards Sandzak (Serbia) and Monte Negro while many joined the Partizans.
In October 1943, after the capitulation of Italy, Visegrad was overran by Serb Chetnik forces and the Bosniak population was massacred and forced to seek refuge in central Bosnia.
The town was retaken from the Chetniks by German forces in 1944 and the Gestapo arrested and deported the remaining Jews to Bergen-Belzen concentration camp. Altogether 46 Visegrad Jews were murdered in German concentration camps. 56 Visegrad Jews survived the war. These were survivors from the camps and Partizans. Most of them settled in Belgrade, Sarajevo, Zagreb as officers, officials and highly-qualified workers. Only the Romano family remained to live in Visegrad – the famous Avram Romano Mamic.
Source: Pinto, Avram. Jevreji Sarajeva i Bosne i Hercegovine, Veselin Maslesa, Sarajevo, 1987.