Prior to World War II, Maribor boasted a vibrant Jewish community that significantly enriched the city’s cultural and economic landscape. Jews had established a presence in the region since medieval times, and by the early 20th century, they had become a crucial part of Maribor’s multicultural identity.

This, however, dramatically altered with the advent of the war. In April 1941, Nazi Germany occupied Maribor and the rest of Slovenia. The occupation marked the beginning of systematic persecution and eventual extermination of Maribor’s Jewish population, mirroring the horrific pattern that unfolded across Europe during the Holocaust.

In the aftermath of the German occupation, Maribor’s Jewish community faced severe anti-Jewish laws and actions. Their properties were seized, their employment terminated, and they were subsequently rounded up and deported. Most of Maribor’s Jews were dispatched to concentration and extermination camps, notably Auschwitz, and the vast majority did not survive.

By the end of the war, Maribor’s Jewish community had been almost completely obliterated. The city’s synagogue, once a bustling center of Jewish life, was appropriated by the Nazis and repurposed. Today, it stands as a cultural monument and a stark reminder of the dynamic Jewish community that once flourished in Maribor.

Although Maribor’s Jewish community hasn’t fully recuperated since the war, there have been concerted efforts to remember and honor the city’s Jewish heritage. These include restoring the synagogue and memorializing the victims of the Holocaust. These endeavors serve as poignant reminders of this tragic chapter in Maribor’s history.

People being deported