Continuity and Memory in Rijeka

In Croatia, out of a total of 41 synagogues built before the Second World War only eleven have been preserved; of these, only three are still places of worship today (Dubrovnik, Split, and the Orthodox synagogue in Rijeka). In the early post war period, most of them were dismantled, sold and transformed into either industrial sites (Varaždin), Catholic churches (Osijek-Donji grad, Daruvar), cinemas (Koprivnica), factories (Podravska Slatina) or music schools (Sisak). The last one was heavily damaged by the December 2020 earthquake.


RI_Orthodox_Synagogue_exterior      RI_Orthodox_Synagogue_Aron_now
Exterior of the Orthodox synagogue of Rijeka today
Interior of the Orthodox synagogue of Rijeka today

The Rijeka Orthodox synagogue was made into national possession in 1959. In 2002, a conservation study was carried out (by Gordana Grčić-Petrović, Professor of Sociology and History of Art) analyzing its state of conservation and proposing guidelines for its enhancement. The same year, the Croatian Ministry of Culture also commissioned the studio A.G.A. Ltd to plan an architectural renovation of the building, due to its historical and cultural importance. Today it is a national monument. The proposed project took into consideration the liturgical use of the synagogue and its other social purposes for the local Jewish community as well as the national cultural importance of the building. The restoration and modernization of the synagogue started in 2002 and ended in 2008.

In 2002 a marble memorial plaque with a stylized Menorah was positioned at the synagogue entrance to honor the 258 Jewish Rijeka locals who perished during the Second World War. Teodoro Morgani also supported the building of a Holocaust memorial in 1981 in the Jewish area of the Kozala cemetery in Rijeka.


Piccolo     Arena di Pola
Marina Rossi, "Stories of Jewish people of Rijeka and Opatija, before the storm"
Source: "Il Piccolo", 23 August 2005
"Monument organized by Teodoro Morgani. In memory of the 275 deported Jewish people of Rijeka"
Source: "Arena di Pola", n. 2209, 3 October 1981, p. 2