Project Lead: USCPAHA Commission Members
Location: Jewish Cemetery in Osijek, Croatia
The Jewish Cemetery in Osijek, Croatia has been active since 1850.
The first Jews were buried here in 1852 (the first was Marcus Pfeiffer, then the teacher Moritz Löbl and a child named Adolf Herbst), which is also considered as the year of establishing the Funeral Society of Chevra Kadisha. It has a chapel with a ceremonial hall (‘the little synagogue’).
The 500-600 tombs are reminders of the prosperity of the pre-World-War-II community. The gravestone architecture in the Jewish cemetery is marked by the inscriptions written in Hebrew, German, Hungarian and Croatian language, but designed with distinctive Jewish ornamental motifs linked to the traditional Jewish iconography. One of the unusual elements of the cemetery is that all the graves face north, in the rows directed from east to west.
This is a cemetery without a single wooden tombstone. In the multitude of monuments, from plain stone, over marble obelisks to marble rectangular memorial panels, the most famous is the Adler family tombstone. It was styled in the form of an open book made by Osijek native and world famous sculptor Oscar Nemon for his mother’s forefathers.
It is the only old cemetery, out of about ten in total in Osijek, with many available burial places, and the only one where there are no buried members of other religions. Many eminent Osijek citizens, especially doctors, lawyers, merchants and craftsmen, were buried in the cemetery.
In cooperation with the City of Osijek, the Commission intends to support the reconstruction and renovation of the cemetery house referred to as the “Little Synagogue” by the former Osijek Jewish Community.
The total cost of the project is $110,000 USD. However, the first phase of the renovation is to reconstruct and strengthen the cemetery house by removing degraded façade, roof and wall elements; erecting the scaffolding; removing and transporting the construction waste, reinforce the foundation, floors and roof for an estimated cost of $25,000 USD.
The bulk of the renovation will take place in Phase II and include the masonry, plaster, and façade works and will be done in cooperation with and following the guidance of the Osijek Conservation Department in the Ministry of Culture. The estimated cost for Phase II is $50,000 USD.
The final phases of this project include the final touches with the plumbing installations, roof and tin-smithing, painting, window, door and decorative fixtures and the landscaping around the renovated building.