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TRAVNIK, town in Bosnia. Under Ottoman rule until Austrian annexation in 1878; within Yugoslavia from 1918. After *Sarajevo, it had the second most important settlement of Sephardi Jews in the region; some of them originally lived in Sarajevo and transferred their residence to Travnik in the 18th century. A community was organized by the mid-18th century and a kal santo (synagogue) existed from 1768. The Jews themselves constructed it, working daily between the Minḥah and Ma'ariv prayers.

Trouble assailed the community when an apostate, Moses Habillo, who took the name of Derwish Aḥmed, incited a massacre of the Jews. Many Muslims rioted but disaster was prevented when Rabbi Raphael Pinto achieved a compromise. Ten Jewish hostages were taken into custody for inquiry. They were freed after a ransom was paid on the second day of Marḥeshvan (in 1807), which was celebrated for many years by the community as a feast of deliverance. In 1818 the local qāimaqam, the vizier's representative, accused the Jews of ritual murder. Some Jews were arrested, but were released when Muslim notables intervened on their behalf. Apart from such isolated incidents, and cases of extortions, Jewish communal life remained undisturbed and relations with the majority of the city's residents were good. The best known rabbi of Travnik was Abram Abinun. Jews were occupied as blacksmiths, joiners, saddlers, tailors, and shoemakers, dealers in medicinal plants and folk healers. Some of them were distillers and wheat merchants. In 1878, shortly after Travnik passed to Austria, a small Ashkenazi community was founded. A synagogue was erected in 1769. The community had a philanthropic association, Ezrat Dalim, and in the 20th century a "Jewish Club" existed there. Until the Holocaust, 375 Jews lived there peacefully.

In World War II the German-Croatian occupation violently and cruelly clamped down on the community. A concentration camp was established at nearby Kruščica (Krooshchitza); survivors were deported and murdered elsewhere in Croatia or Poland. The community was not renewed. The synagogue was used as a workshop.


V. Vinaver, in: Jevrejski Almanah (1955/56), 28–34. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: J. Konforti, Travnički Jevreji (1979).

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.