Bjelovar Jewish Cemetery
Bjelovar is a city in central Croatia and is the administrative centre of Bjelovar-Bilogora County. Bjelovar was first mentioned in 1413, though it only gained importance when a new fort was built there in 1756. The area was known for cattle breeding, wine production, as well as enterprises for producing metal products and building materials. The population was predominantly Croatian. The Jewish community in Bjelovar was established in 1877, most of its Jews coming from Hungary, Slovakia, and small local communities. The first synagogue was built in 1882 and the second one in 1917. Jews initially worked in wheat and livestock trade, though later most of the Jewish population worked in free professions and as artisans. In 1881, Jews accounted for about 80 families of the total population of 5,609. In 1931, there were 555 Jews living among 10,252 other residents and, by 1940, only 429 Jews lived in the city. During the Holocaust, nearly all of Bjelovar’s Jewish population were exterminated in concentration camps in Croatia. In 1945 the community was re-established, but by 1968 only 12 Jews lived in the city. The synagogue building was confiscated by the authorities in 1947 and converted into a concert hall.
The Jewish section of the cemetery was established in 1876 within the municipal cemetery of the city. In 1958 the cemetery was expropriated. While the Jewish section of the cemetery is not demolished, it is not fenced. There are 81 gravestones in the cemetery, few of which are broken, and the oldest of which dates to 1871 (while this is the date of the burial, but the stone itself is comparatively new). The most recent tombstone dates to 2006. There is an old mortuary (possibly a beit-tahara), but after World War II, it was used for the local community.