Jewish People in Belle Epoque Opatija

In the last decades of the 19th century, prominent Jewish families from the Austro-Hungarian Empire settled in Opatija to set up trading businesses. The picturesque Adriatic seaside town soon became a fashionable health and spa resort destination, visited by European aristocrats and bourgeois including a large number of Jewish guests.


Poster of Opatija, 1911
Source: Grosser Bahnhof. Wien und die weite Welt, ed. by von W. Kos and G. Dinhobl, Wien 2006

Although the Jewish population increased considerably, there was still no independent Jewish community; according to Austrian law, the Jews of Opatija were under the jurisdiction of Trieste. However, municipal authorities did authorize a cemetery and it was built between 1908 and 1912. Rites and ceremonies continued to be celebrated in the halls of hotels, such as the Breiner (later Kristal), the Stephanie (later the Regina Elena and today the Imperial) and the Stern (later Quitta).