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JEWISH Osijek

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The City of Osijek is located in the eastern, continental part of Croatia, in the plains, on the right bank of the Drava River. It is the largest city in Slavonia, at the same time the seat of Osijek-Baranja County. The city's geographical position is favourable and it is accessible in relation to major European corridors and that it is located near major cities and capitals: Zagreb (278 km), Novi Sad (112 km), Belgrade (186 km) and Budapest (257 km).  [caption id="attachment_30658" align="alignnone" width="750"]birds eye view of city with red roofs, trees, and a river Credit: Agencija za obnovu osječke Tvrđe - https://aoot.hr/[/caption] The city is located on the route of the Vc Pan-European transport corridor towards Budapest and at a distance of about 70 km from the Zagreb - Belgrade highway. In the immediate vicinity of the city there are two airports: Osijek airport of international importance (category 4D) and Osijek - Čepin airport (category 2C). The RH3 railway corridor, significant for international traffic, crosses over this area. At a distance of about 45 km there is the corridor of the international railway in Vinkovci. Pursuant to the European Agreement on Main Inland Waterways of International Importance (AGN), the Drava River was included in the Inland Waterways of International Importance among other rivers (E 80–08 River Drava up to Osijek).  The Danube waterway extends from the border with Hungary all the way to the border with Serbia, and the Drava River from the mouth of the Danube to Osijek is of the greatest importance in Osijek-Baranja County. Public bus and tram transportation is provided in the city. A total of 25 bicycle trails with a total length of almost 41 km stretch over the city of Osijek territory, especially in the center and the wider center of the city, which makes it easier to navigate and explore the sights of Osijek.  [caption id="attachment_30656" align="alignnone" width="640"] Grad Osijek / City of Osijek - www.osijek.hr[/caption] The City of Osijek bike route is also a part of the Pecs - Osijek - Antunovac cycling route established within a tourism project linking Croatia and Hungary. Osijek is located on the international cycling route along the Danube, passing from Germany via Austria and Hungary to Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria. The European Bike Route Euro Velo 6 runs through the city of Osijek, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Black Sea. There is also a Euro Velo 13 cycling route near the city, the so-called Iron Curtain route, and the cycling route along the Drava River. According to the 2011 census, the total population of Osijek-Baranja County was 305,032, out of whom 108,048 lived in the City of Osijek, while according to estimates by the Central Bureau of Statistics for 2017   In Osijek - Baranja County, there were 283 035 inhabitants, which indicates a downward trend in population. [caption id="attachment_30657" align="alignnone" width="750"] Credit: Agencija za obnovu osječke Tvrđe - https://aoot.hr/[/caption] The specialty of the City of Osijek are valuable urban areas, areas of historical cultural value, as well as a long tradition of landscaped public green areas. Two protected parks in the area of the city of Osijek, King Tomislav Park and King Peter Krešimir IV Park, should be emphasised as park architecture monuments. According to the Cultural Heritage Register of the Ministry of Culture, there are 126 protected cultural goods in the territory of the City of Osijek, out of which 6 are movable cultural goods - museum material and 117 immovable cultural goods. Till World War II Osijek had the 2nd largest Jewish community in Croatia after Zagreb and we owe much of our cultural heritage to this prosperous community which significantly contributed to the city development and progress from the 2nd part of the 19th ct. till World War II. [caption id="attachment_30655" align="alignnone" width="800"] Credit: "Visit Osijek - Turistička zajednica grada Osijeka" - www.tzosijek.hr[/caption] Osijek and its surroundings are also regionally well-known for great gastronomy and enology offers, so there are many (boutique) hotels, hostels and interesting restaurants to visit. The climate in the City of Osijek is moderate continental. The City and County Tourist Boards (https://www.tzosijek.hr/; https://visitslavoniabaranja.com/) operate in the Osijek-Baranja County. Also, there are tourist information centers and local offices of tourist boards in the area covered.  The trend of increasing the number of arrivals and overnight stays in recent years speaks of the increasing attractiveness of eastern Croatia. Eastern Croatia is a potential eco, gastronomic and recreational destination, which can contribute to the growing demand for cultural and entertainment facilities. Currently, the offer of travel agencies operating in the area of eastern Croatia is based on sightseeing of urban centers (Osijek, Đakovo, Vukovar, Vinkovci, Slavonski Brod), historical and natural landscapes (Kopački rit Nature Park, river flows, etc.) and sacral objects (Đakovo Cathedral, Aljmaš Shrine). It is expected that in the near future, more diverse cultural programmes will be included in the tourist packages that will meet the wishes of the visitors of the destination.  

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TOURS OF Osijek

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Osijek Jewish Cemeteries Tour

From the late 19th ct. till 1941 Osijek had 2 very prosperous Jewish Communities – the Upper Town and the Lower Town community (Osijek lies on the Drava river coast, streched 9 km in length so these city parts are far away). Therefore there were 2 cemeteries and 2 synagogues. Unfortunately, the Upper Town synagogue was burnt down in 1941 and the remains removed by the communist authorities in early 1950es. The Lower Town synagogue remained but, due to the lack of money and very few surviving comunity members, it was sold to the Pentacostal church and turned into the Church of Joyful News, maintaining all the Jewish symbols inside and outside. Luckily, not even the Nazis dared to destroy the cemeteries. JEWISH CEMETERY, ST. LEOPOLD BOGDAN MANDIĆ STREET – UPPER TOWN JEWISH CEMETERY The Jewish cemetery in the Upper Town has existed since 1850, and a smaller Jewish cemetery also exists in the Lower Town. The Jewish cemetery in the Upper Town, near the city centre, is still in use. 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 historicist-styled chapel with ceremonial hall ('the little synagogue'). Its 500-600 tombs are reminders of the prosperity of the pre-war 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. The curiosity 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 made 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. there is the grave of the Adler family, the prominent Osijek industrialists, pioneers of Osijek chemical industry. The grave was created by a world-famous artist Oscar Nemon, born as Oskar Neuman in Osijek, who later moved to Vienna and Belgium, finally having settled in the United Kingdom, where he created his famous series of Winston Churchill bustes and sculptures and also of the entire British royal family. The Adlers were his mothers' family so he sculpted the gravestone in the form of a book for his grandfather Leopold (Lavoslav) Adler, whose greatest passion was reading. Later, Oscar's sister Bella was buried here. Almost his entire family, both the Adlers and the Neumanns, were killed in the Holocaust, which was, tragically, the typical fate of almost all Osijek Jews. The Lower Town Jewish cemetery in Osijek was founded in 1888 and is still in use. It is located in the south-eastern outskirts of the city. The base of its ground plan is a rectangle of elongated shape. There is a wire fence with a gate around the cemetery. The main entrance, located on the northern part of the plot, makes access to the main longitudinal communication line - an earthy and grassy path, surrounded by a cypress alley ending on the south side in front of the ceremonial hall building dating from 1927. Behind the ceremonial hall, on the south side, there is a cemetery. The positioning pattern of individual graves reflects the planning approach of the space organisation. The small cemetery chapel was slightly damaged during the 1990s war, but it has been repaired. The cemetery contains around 150 mostly well-preserved and around 30 hardly readable remains of graves, with the inscriptions in Hebrew, German, Hungarian and Croatian. It is, unfortunately, also in rather bad condition and hard to access because it is not open for visitors. There is only 1 active grave there, the one of once very prominent Osijek Jewish family – the Herman(n)s.

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World Jewish Travel
World Jewish Travel Official November 16, 2021

The Jewish Story of Osijek

The City of Osijek is located in the eastern, continental part of Croatia, in the plains, on the right bank of the Drava River. It is the largest city in Slavonia, at the same time the seat of Osijek-Baranja County. The city's geographical position is favourable and it is accessible in relation to major European corridors and that it is located near major cities and capitals: Zagreb (278 km), Novi Sad (112 km), Belgrade (186 km) and Budapest (257 km).  [caption id="attachment_30658" align="alignnone" width="750"] Credit: Agencija za obnovu osječke Tvrđe - https://aoot.hr/[/caption] The city is located on the route of the Vc Pan-European transport corridor towards Budapest and at a distance of about 70 km from the Zagreb - Belgrade highway. In the immediate vicinity of the city there are two airports: Osijek airport of international importance (category 4D) and Osijek - Čepin airport (category 2C). The RH3 railway corridor, significant for international traffic, crosses over this area. At a distance of about 45 km there is the corridor of the international railway in Vinkovci. Pursuant to the European Agreement on Main Inland Waterways of International Importance (AGN), the Drava River was included in the Inland Waterways of International Importance among other rivers (E 80–08 River Drava up to Osijek).  The Danube waterway extends from the border with Hungary all the way to the border with Serbia, and the Drava River from the mouth of the Danube to Osijek is of the greatest importance in Osijek-Baranja County. Public bus and tram transportation is provided in the city. A total of 25 bicycle trails with a total length of almost 41 km stretch over the city of Osijek territory, especially in the center and the wider center of the city, which makes it easier to navigate and explore the sights of Osijek.  [caption id="attachment_30656" align="alignnone" width="640"] Grad Osijek / City of Osijek - www.osijek.hr[/caption] The City of Osijek bike route is also a part of the Pecs - Osijek - Antunovac cycling route established within a tourism project linking Croatia and Hungary. Osijek is located on the international cycling route along the Danube, passing from Germany via Austria and Hungary to Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria. The European Bike Route Euro Velo 6 runs through the city of Osijek, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Black Sea. There is also a Euro Velo 13 cycling route near the city, the so-called Iron Curtain route, and the cycling route along the Drava River. According to the 2011 census, the total population of Osijek-Baranja County was 305,032, out of whom 108,048 lived in the City of Osijek, while according to estimates by the Central Bureau of Statistics for 2017   In Osijek - Baranja County, there were 283 035 inhabitants, which indicates a downward trend in population. [caption id="attachment_30657" align="alignnone" width="750"] Credit: Agencija za obnovu osječke Tvrđe - https://aoot.hr/[/caption] The specialty of the City of Osijek are valuable urban areas, areas of historical cultural value, as well as a long tradition of landscaped public green areas. Two protected parks in the area of the city of Osijek, King Tomislav Park and King Peter Krešimir IV Park, should be emphasised as park architecture monuments. According to the Cultural Heritage Register of the Ministry of Culture, there are 126 protected cultural goods in the territory of the City of Osijek, out of which 6 are movable cultural goods - museum material and 117 immovable cultural goods. Till World War II Osijek had the 2nd largest Jewish community in Croatia after Zagreb and we owe much of our cultural heritage to this prosperous community which significantly contributed to the city development and progress from the 2nd part of the 19th ct. till World War II. [caption id="attachment_30655" align="alignnone" width="800"] Credit: "Visit Osijek - Turistička zajednica grada Osijeka" - www.tzosijek.hr[/caption] Osijek and its surroundings are also regionally well-known for great gastronomy and enology offers, so there are many (boutique) hotels, hostels and interesting restaurants to visit. The climate in the City of Osijek is moderate continental. The City and County Tourist Boards (https://www.tzosijek.hr/; https://visitslavoniabaranja.com/) operate in the Osijek-Baranja County. Also, there are tourist information centers and local offices of tourist boards in the area covered.  The trend of increasing the number of arrivals and overnight stays in recent years speaks of the increasing attractiveness of eastern Croatia. Eastern Croatia is a potential eco, gastronomic and recreational destination, which can contribute to the growing demand for cultural and entertainment facilities. Currently, the offer of travel agencies operating in the area of eastern Croatia is based on sightseeing of urban centers (Osijek, Đakovo, Vukovar, Vinkovci, Slavonski Brod), historical and natural landscapes (Kopački rit Nature Park, river flows, etc.) and sacral objects (Đakovo Cathedral, Aljmaš Shrine). It is expected that in the near future, more diverse cultural programmes will be included in the tourist packages that will meet the wishes of the visitors of the destination.  

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HOTELS IN Osijek

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Photo credit: Barcelona History Museum

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