RIJEKA (It. Fiume), Adriatic port in Croatia, until 1918 in Austro-Hungary; after World War I until 1945 in Italy. There were some Jews in Fiume during the 16th century under Austrian rule. Fiume was declared a free port in 1717 and attracted more Jews. When in 1776 it became attached to Hungary as its port, Jews from Hungary began to settle there, but until the mid-19th century the majority of Jews were Sephardim from *Split and *Dubrovnik, who followed the minhag Ispalatto (Spalato, "Split"). After 1848 with the influx of Hungarian, German, Bohemian, and Italian Jews, Italian and German rites were also used. A ḥevra kaddisha was founded in 1885; there were three cemeteries and a modern style synagogue was built in 1902. In 1900 there were 2,000 Jews in Rijeka. The congregation remained the only independent Orthodox one in Italy after the 1930 reforms. Children were sent to public schools – German, Hungarian, Italian, or Croatian ones – due to the heterogeneous composition of the population. The sermons were also delivered in German or Italian. In 1920 there were 1,300 Jews in Rijeka and in nearby Abbazia (Opatija), dropping to just 136 on the eve of the war.
In 1938 the racial laws of Fascist Italy were promulgated; Jews
When Rijeka became part of Yugoslavia in 1945, many Italian-speaking Jews left for Trieste and Italy; in 1947 there were some 170 Jews in Rijeka and the surrounding area. The community numbered 99 in 1969. Following the evacuation of Bosnian Jews from the war zone in 1992, around 60 families reconstituted the community, but many subsequently left for Zagreb and other localities in northern Croatia, leaving fewer than 100 Jews in 2004.
Roth, Italy, 133, 176. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: T. Morgani, Ebrei in Fiume ed in Abbazia 1441–1945 (1979).
Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.