Orahovica Jewish Cemetery
Orahovica is a town in Slavonia, located on the slopes of the Papuk mountain. Orahovica was first mentioned in 1228 in a document by King Andrew II. The town was under Turkish occupation from the summer of 1543 until 1687. During the years of Turkish rule, it was one of the richest cities in the Ottoman Empire. The ruler of Orahovica could have five thousand soldiers in his service if necessary. Later, the town became a centre for agricultural production and woodworking. In 1910 there were 2,795 inhabitants in the town, which included Croats, Serbs, Germans, and Hungarians. Jews settled in Orahovica the early 19th century. While it is difficult to determine the exact year the first Jews came to Orahovica, records show that since at least 1900 there was a Jewish community. The Jewish community of Orahovica was strong and had many influential members among whom included doctors, economists, lawyers, and merchants. The Croatian historian Miroslav Gozda estimates that at the beginning of the 20th century the Jewish population of the town was about 400 people. The community moreover built a synagogue and a cemetery in town. However, after World War I, there were only 53 Jews in Orahovica. During World War II, the remaining 35 Jews in the town were sent to the concentration camps where they were killed. In 1947, only 3 Jews remained in the town. The synagogue was totally destroyed on December 20, 1942 during the guerrilla Communist attack on Orahovica. It was burned to the ground, and, after the war, the remains of the building materials were stolen.
One of the most famous Jews of Orahovica was Robert Domany (1908 –1942) – a Sephardic Jew and a brave Croatian Partisan. In 1937 Domany became a member of the Communist Party and, in the same year, moved to Spain to join the International Brigades in the fight against Spanish Nationalists. During World War II, from August 1941 Domany organized guerrilla groups and soon he was appointed the commander of the partisan detachment which participated in many battles. He was killed in 1942 and later was given the title of People’s Hero of Yugoslavia.
After World War II, the Jewish cemetery was abandoned and demolished and the site was sold. The Croatian historian Miroslav Gozda believes that the cemetery had at least 50 stone obelisks on the graves of the Jews who were buried there.