Ludbreg Jewish Section within Municipal Cemetery
Ludbreg is a town located halfway between Varaždin and Koprivnica near the River Drava. It is one of the oldest cities in Croatia with a history that goes back to the 6-9 centuries AD when the Roman Empire established a city called Iovia in the area. During this time, serviced soldiers of the Roman legions were stationed there. In the 6th century AD, Slavic tribes took over the territory. In the 13th and 14th centuries, Ludbreg was built and was considered an important center for Christian pilgrimages during the Middle Ages. The population mostly worked in the production of ceramics and on windmills. Ludbreg was not destroyed during later Ottoman rule.
The first Jews came to Ludbreg in the 18th century from Burgenland. They were a small Ashkenazi community that built both a synagogue and cemetery. The Jews (growing group) organized a formal Jewish community in 1881, built a cemetery as part of the local cemetery in 1890, and constructed a little synagogue in 1895. At the end of the 19th century, there were 265 Jews, the peak population in the history of the Jewish community in Ludbreg.
By 1921, the population had decreased to only 105 Jews. Before the Second World War, only 82 Jews lived in Ludbreg, who were all deported to concentration camps and perished. After the war, the synagogue, known for its unique painted walls, was sold in 1948 and is now an apartment building.
The Jewish cemetery exists today with about 30 monuments remaining. There is also one family mausoleum that was expropriated (by the state?) in 1983. Some gravestones have the date of birth marked with the Star of David but the date of death marked with a cross. Names on the tombs are all from Ashkenazi Jews with German, Hebrew, and Croatian inscriptions. The oldest tombstone dates back to 1886, the last to 2009. Due to the poor condition of the cemetery, however, many toppled stones lie on the ground, unmaintained.