The Purchase of Villa Zora

At the beginning of 1928, the City of Opatija offered to sell a building named Villa Zora, located in the city centre, to its Jewish community. Since its construction in 1889, this villa had been the seat of the Croatian cultural institution by the same name (Zorin dom) and other associations, hosting meetings and performances to promote Croatian language and culture in the face of the Italianization and Germanization of the area. The villa had a large hall suitable for worship and many other adjoining rooms that could be used for community activities.


Villa Zora, seat of the synagogue of Opatija
© Courtesy of The Center for Jewish Art

The Jewish community of Opatija on its own did not have sufficient funds to purchase this property, but it was able to secure the support of several industrialists based in Trieste: Ignazio Weiss (1859-1936) of Bohemian origin, founder of the Oleificio Adriatico Luzzatti e Co. and owner of the Società Industriale dell’Olio - Ditta Ignazio Weiss SA, and the Stock family.

The Stocks were Dalmatian who had moved from Split to Trieste in the late 19th century; brothers Emilio (1868-1951) and Lionel Stock (1866–1948), well-known entrepreneurs and philanthropists, donated a total of 34,000 Italian Lire to obtain a mortgage for Villa Zora.