News in English | Autor: Hazim Aljović

A cemetery and a street last traces of presence of Jewish community in Visoko

FENA Photo/Alma Pašić Delić

VISOKO, January 19 (FENA) - There have been no Jews living in the town of Visoko for the past half a century. All that is left of the once-thriving Jewish community is a graveyard, a small street named Jevrejska ulica (the Jewish Street) and stories of their achievements as merchants, artisans and doctors.

Author: Hazim Aljović

The Jews in Visoko once had their own local synagogue, but the only thing left of the building is a drawing in the town's Native Museum.

Counselor for the Culture and Religion of the Jewish Community of BiH Eli Tauber told FENA that the Jews, with their dedication and knowledge, contributed to the development of the town of Visoko, their most prominent role being in leather products and industry.

“There are no Jews in Visoko anymore, the last ones died back in the 1970s. All that is left is a list of names on the tombstones in a small, beautiful graveyard under a hill, on the road from Visoko to Kiseljak,” Tauber explains.

Tauber also noted that the Jews who used to live in the area were mostly engaged in trade and various forms of craftsmanship, such as whitesmithing, leathercraft, shoemaking and pots repairing.

One of the more prominent local Jews was Elijas Kabiljo, who came there from Sarajevo and built a brickyard as well as houses which he would rent out.

Those houses are still there today, and they are known as ‘Kabiljo’s houses’.

Historian Mirna Malić explains that the Jews of Visoko mostly lived near the main street. None of them lived in the Jewish Street, which only got its name because the synagogue was located there.

Malić singled out the three prominent Jewish families in Visoko - Danon, Kabiljo and Demajo.

Kabiljo, among other things, donated bricks to build the Sokolski dom (Falcon House), in Visoko, better known as the 'Partizan'.

“Avram Demajo was one of the more prominent professors at the leathercrafting school,” said Malić, adding that the local Jews also owned a printing shop ‘Danon’.

The Jews arrived in Visoko in the 18th century and a total of 199 of them lived there until 1941. Only three of them remained there during the Nazi occupation - a pharmacist and two old ladies who could not travel because they were ill.

Only eighteen Jews of Visoko survived the war.

The name of the Jewish community in Visoko before WWII was the Jewish Godworshiping Municipality of Visoko.