Dubrovnik ebraica

"Free Ebrei", III, 2, luglio 2014



Dubrovnik ebraica


Abstract

Alessandra Cambatzu and Vincenzo Pinto discuss about their journey in Dubrovnik and the memory of the local Jewish community.

 

Il nostro viaggio estivo lunga la costa adriatica ci ha portato nella splendida Dubrovnik (Ragusa), città dalmata oggi croata, ricca di storia e di spunti interessanti per tutti coloro che vogliano condire una vacanza naturalistica e/o balneare con un po' di sano respiro culturale.

Il centro storico di Dubrovnik è indubbiamente bello, anche se troppo laccato e a uso del turismo di massa (negozi pressoché omologati con i medesimi prodotti in tutto il centro storico). Sventolano numerose bandiere croate, quasi a sottolineare la forte identità nazionalista della città, pesantemente bombardata durante la guerra civile di vent'anni fa e priva di un proprio entroterra (il confine con la Bosnia è a pochi chilometri).

Sorprende - ma fino a un certo punto - la quasi totale assenza di richiami alla cultura dalmata, veneta e italiana, che tanto hanno fatto per la prosperità di questa città. Purtroppo, gli ultimi ricordi degli italiani risalgono al fallito tentativo mussoliniano di annettere Ragusa al Regno d'Italia nel 1941. Per me, che sono pugliese (originario del Gargano), sorprende la quasi totale assenza di scambi commerciali e culturali fra le due sponde del Mare Adriatico, distanti nemmeno 200 chilometri. Sembra veramente di essere in un altro mondo.

Anche la cucina di Dubrovnik, tipicamente mediterranea, è assai differente da quella italiana. Pur essendo un porto di mare, i piatti di Dubrovnik sono tipicamente continentali ed etnicamente connotati: molta carne, un po’ di pesce e alcune verdure. È vero che l’entroterra di Dubrovnik è brullo e poco adatto alla coltivazione intensiva del Sud Italia (grano, olio e ortaggi), ma abbiamo notato la netta cesura fra mondo latino e mondo slavo anche dal punto di vista alimentare. Sarebbe interessante capire se la dieta ragusiana fosse lo stessa anche un secolo fa, quando la vicinanza con il mondo dalmata-italiano era indubbiamente maggiore.

Nei vicoli laterali dello "Stradun" si trova la vecchia sinagoga della città, oggi trasformata in un piccolo museo e talvolta utilizzata dalla sparuta comunità ebraica locale (circa 20-30 unità) per alcune funzioni religiose. La storia della comunità ebraica di Dubrovnik è simile a quella di altre repubbliche mercantili del Mediterraneo centrale in epoca medievale e moderna: insediamento intorno al X-XI secolo, fiorente attività commerciale e culturale nel tardo Medioevo, erezione del ghetto in epoca rinascimentale, ampliamento della comunità per il sopraggiungere di varie migrazioni, decadenza economica della città, persecuzione antisemita e timido tentativo di ricostruzione postbellica.


Anna Markovic, nella sua storia degli ebrei in Jugoslavia, ci dà questa vivida descrizione della comunità ebraica di Dubrovnik:


"The first written document mentioning a Jew, a doctor, without giving his name dates from 1326. Later on, Jews appeared in documents more frequently, as merchants temporarily resident in Dubrovnik. The first Jew with permanent residence was recorded in 1421. The arrival of exiles from Spain and Portugal, at the end of the 15 c. and early 16 c. increased the number of Jews in Dubrovnik and they created a community headed by a consul installed by the authorities of Dubrovnik to collect taxes.

The Dubrovnik authorities recognized in these exiles educated people trained in many skills, whom they employed to help promote their city, especially in transit overseas trade, but not without restrictions. As a consequence of deep-rooted prejudice against Jews, an eminent doctor, Mose Maralija and ten Dubrovnik Jews were slandered for having committed a “ritual murder” when an

old woman was killed on the outskirts of the city. They were tortured, burnt alive, Muralija himself was strangled, and only three were released. In 1662 Isak Jesurum was charged with the same crime but was later set free.

Anti-Jewish laws of Venice and the model of the Kingdom of Naples induced the Republic of Dubrovnik to expel the Jews in 1515, but as the overseas trade soon declined substantially, the authorities called Jewish merchants back offering them certain privileges.

A new wave of Jews from Greece and Albania began in 1532. They revived transit trade between the Balkans and the Apenine Peninsula, and served as mediators in a specific form of “trade diplomacy” which had developed between the Ottoman Empire and its opponent Christian states. They began to be considered as citizens in the 18 c., albeit protected, but still as second-class citizens with restrictions and prohibitions, special orders and taxes. They were not allowed in the streets at night, to visit Christian homes (with the exception of doctors and merchants), or employ Christian maid-servants under 50 years of age. Permission to settle was granted only to those who had at least 1,000 gold ducats. The Jewish Community was instituted in Dubrovnik in 1538. It is recorded in documents as UNIVERSITAS HAEBREORUM, UNIVERSITA DEGLI EBREI, SCUOLA DEGLI EBREI and sometimes as SINAGOGA DEGLI EBREI. The Ghetto was established in 1546. It was jammed in one street, closed by gates at both ends, and called Zudioska ulica (Jewish street) until today. The ghetto consisted of 11 houses and a synagogue, now at no. 3. According to the census of 1756 there were 78 persons in the ghetto, with 20 families in 19 houses and 103 persons outside the ghetto.

Apart from permanent residents, the ghetto accommodated temporary settlers, so the houses were overcrowded and in bad condition. The houses were owned by the state, and under the term “lease for the ghetto” Jews had to pay poll-taxes even for children from birth onwards. The school Talmud Torah offered religious instruction for children and a yeshivah gave higher religious education. A Hevra Kadisha is assumed to have existed since the establishment of the Community to take care of the sick and the dying, and of burials for those who passed away according to the religious rites. The old Jewish graveyard was near the northern city walls, with a street called Na grebe Zudijoske (To Jewish Graves) leading to it. With cultural life flourishing in the Dubrovnik Republic, the small Jewish community also thrived producing several notable writers and scholars.

Didacus Pyrrhus (1517-1599), an immigrant from Portugal was a prominent poet (in Latin), knowledgeable in Greek and Latin literature and culture, a teacher of classical languages who imbued many young men of Dubrovnik with a love of literature and cultural values. His older friend Amatus Lusitanus (1511-1568) was one of the best known doctors of the 16 c. He wrote seven books describing 700 diseases he had treated. His sixth book depicts the diseases he cured during his stay in Dubrovnik. Several notable rabbis of Dubrovnik in the 16 c. and 17 c. wrote commentaries on the books of the Old Testament, discussed new interpretations and promoted Judaic tradition among the Jewish community of Dubrovnik (Salomon Cef, his grandson Aron Lunelli Koen and others). 

The French army occupied Dubrovnik in 1808 and stayed there until January 1814. French General Marmont abolished all previous laws against Jews on 22 June, 1808. By the end of January 1814 Dubrovnik was occupied by the Austrian army and Jews again lost their rights. According to a census of 1799 Dubrovnik had 171 Jews. According to a French census of 1808, 227 Jews lived there. The highest number of Jews - 260 - was recorded in the 1831 census after which the number began to decrease as many started to emigrate.

An Austrian census of 1815 gives the number of Jews as 205. Of 57 able to work, 18 were craftsmen, 13 retail merchants, 12 whole-sale merchants, 5 stock-brokers, 2 rabbis, 2 teachers (1 man and 1 woman), 1 “maestro di scuola”, 1 middleman and 2 man-servants. In 1940 the Jewish community of Dubrovnik numbered 87 members. They included 61 Jews from Trebinje, Bileca, Herceg Novi, Kotor, Budva, Tivat and Cetinje. During World War II, 27 members of the community lost their lives. Thanks to two brothers and a sister Tolentino, Abramino, Emilio and Regina - the valuable collections of synagogue objects being hidden in time were rescued".



Qui di seguito alcuni documenti che abbiamo immortalato (speriamo in modo leggibile):


1) Decreto senatoriale di costituzione del ghetto (1515)








2) L'accusa di omicidio rituale contro Isak Jesurum (1622)






Un utile lavoro sugli ebrei di Dubrovnik è quello di Vesna Miović del 2012, edito in inglese: The Jews of Dubrovnik. A Walk through Space and Time from the Early Days to the Present, Dubrovnik, Alfa-2, 2012.





Casella di testo

Citazione:

A. Cambatzu, V. Pinto, Dubrovnik ebraica, "Free Ebrei. Rivista online di identità ebraica contemporanea", III, 2, luglio 2014

url: http://www.freeebrei.com/anno-iii-numero-2-luglio-dicembre-2014/dubrovnik-ebraica





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