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Vinkovci

VINKOVCI, town in Croatia, capital of Srijem Province. Jews are known to have lived there only from the second half of the 19th century. Ignatz Gross opened a retail store in 1866. A kehillah was formed in 1870 and Jacob Schlesinger installed a flour mill at that time. Jews were tanners, tailors and merchants. Leaders of the community were L. Stein, Dr. Armin Lederer, and Dr. Ignatz Lang. Zionist activists were Max Lederer, Adolf Beck, and Vilim Orenstein. The first rabbi was Solomon Neumann, followed by R. Schoenfeld and Dr. Mavro Frankfurter, who was horrendously tortured by the Ustashe and died in the Jasenovac death camp. His son, David *Frankfurter, killed the Swiss Nazi leader Wilhelm Gustloff in Davos on February 2, 1936, in an effort to call the world's attention to the dangers of Nazism.

During World War I, Jews were molested and robbed by deserters from the Austro-Hungarian army, but they organized self-defense and successfully resisted the assaults. In 1923 a national conference of Yugoslavia's rabbis took place in Vinkovci. In 1931 about 1,000 Jews lived there; their number dwindled, however, in later years due to emigration, mostly to Zagreb. On the eve of the Holocaust, only 630 Jews remained there. Nevertheless, it was a thriving community.

During the Holocaust most Jews perished and the synagogue was demolished.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Jevrejski Almanajh (Vrsac, 5690 (1929/30)); PK (1988).