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In Belgrade, there were four synagogues. Due to various historical circumstances, three synagogues were demolished, and only one has been preserved to this day. In Zemun, there were two synagogues, but none have been preserved.

The first synagogue was built in the 17th century and was known as El kal vijež0. It was located in today’s Visoki Stevan Street 5-7. It was a large single-nave building with a rectangular base (36m x 8m) with a semicircular apse on the southern side. It suffered damage from fires on several occasions, but it was always restored. A major reconstruction of this synagogue took place in 1819, and until its destruction, the synagogue retained its appearance. It was damaged during the bombing of Belgrade in 1941, and the remains were demolished in 1952.

Stara sinagoga El kal vijež

Današnji izgled lokaliteta, Ulica Visokog Stevana 5-7










The second Dorćol synagogue, known as the El kal nuevo, was built after Serbia gained independence at the Berlin Congress. El kal nuevo was a temple frequented by the poorer population. It was demolished during World War I, and in its place, the Jewish community constructed a warehouse that has survived to this day.

The next synagogue built for the needs of the Sephardic community was the Bet Izrael synagogue on  Cara Uroša Street. The design by architect Milan Kapetanović won the competition. The synagogue was built in the Neo-Moorish style and was completed in 1908. Unfortunately, it was set on fire during World War II. After the war, in 1949, the decision was made to remove the remains of the synagogue and build the Galerija freska on the same site.

Bet Izrael sinagogoga, Beograd (srušena)             Slika izgorele sinagoge                   Galerija freska na mestu današnje sinagoge

After the end of WW I, Belgrade began to attract an increasing number of Ashkenazi Jews who immigrated from the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. While there were already Jews in Belgrade, unlike the Sephardi who were settled in one part of the city, the Ashkenazi Jews were dispersed throughout the town. Hence, the central location of the new Ashkenazi synagogue, Sukat Šalom, was chosen at Kosmajska Street 51 (today’s Maršala Birjuzova Street). During World War II, German soldiers used it as a brothel with the aim of devaluing the Jewish temple. Sukat Šalom is the only synagogue that continued to serve its purpose after World War II.

Considering that after World War II, Zemun became part of Belgrade, it is important to mention that there were two synagogues in Zemun as well. The Zemun Sephardic synagogue was damaged in the Allied bombing in 1944, but it did not suffer major damage by the end of the war. Nevertheless, with a controversial decision by the authorities, the synagogue was demolished in 1947, and a residential block was built at Dubrovačka Street 23. The synagogue’s design was the work of architect Josef Marks from 1871.

The Ashkenazi Zemun synagogue was built in today’s Rabina Alkalaja Street 5 in the mid-19th century. Although it was preserved after World War II, in 1962, it was sold to the municipality of Zemun. The municipality started using the synagogue for the meetings of the local council and cultural and artistic programs, and at one point, it became a disco, restaurant, with its purpose remaining disputed to this day.”

Written by  Iva Pešić

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