TRIESTE

TRIESTE, port in Friuli, N. Italy. Although Jews may have lived in Trieste before the end of the 14th century, there is no authoritative information. After the city's annexation to Austria in 1382 Jews from Germany settled there; some were subject to the dukes of Austria and some to the local rulers. Jews soon took the place of Tuscan moneylenders in the economic life of the city. The Jewish banker Moses and his brother Cazino, who lived in the Rione del Mercato, are mentioned in 1359. The Jews tended to live in the Riborgo neighborhood, then the civic and commercial center. The 15th century was a period of development for the small Jewish community. Two Jewish bankers dominated the period, Salomone D'Oro and Isacco da Trieste. In 1509 the Emperor Maximilian I granted to Isacco the position of Schutzjude, or protected Jew. It is important to stress the position of Jewish women, who sometimes directed the family's banking establishment. As in the other Imperial possessions, Jews were obliged to wear the yellow badge. In 1583 there was an abortive attempt to expel the Jews.   In 1620 Ventura Parente and the Grassin brothers received from the City of Trieste the concession of the title of public banker and moneylender. In 1624 Ventura Parente obtained from the Emperor Ferdinand II the title of Hoffaktor. During the 17th century Trieste's Patriciate took an unfavorable stand toward the Jews, asking the imperial authorities for their expulsion. The imperial authorities resisted the pressure and Jews were not expelled. However, in 1695 the 11 Jewish families in the city, around 70 people, were enclosed in the so-called Old Ghetto, or Trauner Ghetto. The Jews petitioned the authorities successfully for a healthier site, and in 1696 the Jewish ghetto was erected in the Riborgo neighborhood, near the harbor. From the beginning of the 18th century the Hapsburgs adopted a mercantilist policy, which led to the development of the port of Trieste. In 1746 the Università degli ebrei, or Jewish community, was constituted. In this period there were 120 Jews living in Trieste. The most important families were the Morpurgo, Parente, Levi, and Luzzatto. In the same year the first synagogue was erected, the so-called Scuola Piccola. Maria Theresa permitted the richest Jewish families to live outside the ghetto. Moreover, Marco Levi, head of the community, received the title of Hoffaktor in 1765. In 1771 Maria Theresa granted a series of privileges to the Nazione Ebrea of Trieste. In the 18th century Jews were traders and craftsmen and some of them were factors to the Austrian court (see above). One of the most distinguished scholars of the mid-18th century was Rabbi Isacco Formiggini. Emperor joseph ii 's Toleranzpatent of 1782 gave legal sanction to the gradually improving condition of the Jews in Trieste, and in 1785 the gates of the ghetto were destroyed. There were around 670 Jews in 1788. In 1775 the Scuola Grande or Great Synagogue was erected on the plan of the architect Francesco Balzano. The building included also a Sephardi synagogue. In 1796 the community inaugurated a Jewish school under the Chief Rabbi Raffael Nathan Tedesco. This school was in part inspired by the proposals of N.H. Wessely . The first Hebrew work printed in Trieste was Samuel Romanelli's Italian-Hebrew grammar, published in 1799. In 1796 the French under Napoleon arrived in Trieste. In 1800, 1,200 Jews lived in Trieste. From 1809 to 1813 Trieste was part of the Kingdom of Italy. Some Jews were supporters of the French Revolution and Napoleon, although Napoleon's economic blockade ruined the city's trade. Thus, when the Austrians returned in 1814, the Jewish community was relieved. Tedesco was followed by Abramo Eliezer Levi, who was the chief rabbi of Trieste between 1802 and 1825. The 19th century was the golden age of Trieste Jewry. In 1831 Giuseppe Lazzaro Morpurgo established the Assicurazioni Generali, which dominated the economic life of the city for more than a hundred years. During the 19th century some members of the community played an active part in the Risorgimento and the Irredentist struggle which culminated in Trieste's becoming part of Italy in 1919. Trieste Jews, such as the writer Italo svevo and the poet Umberto saba , were central in the creation of the Italian intellectual world. II Corriere Israelitico, a Jewish newspaper in Italian, was published in Trieste from 1862 to 1915. In 1862 S.D. Luzzatto issued there his dirge on Abraham Eliezer Levi. In the 1850s some Hebrew books were printed at the Marinigha press, including Ghirondi-Neppi's Toledot GedoleiYisrael (1853). The Jewish printer Jonah Cohen was active in the 1860s. His illustrated Passover Haggadah (by A.V. Morpurgo) with and without Italian translation (1864) was a memorable production. The number of Jews increased gradually in the 19th century. In 1848 there were around 3,000 Jews, in 1869 there were 4,421, and in 1910, 5,160 Jews lived in Trieste. Most of the chief rabbis of Trieste were Italian Jews, such as Marco Tedeschi, elected in 1858, and Sabato Raffaele Melli from 1870 to 1907. The monumental new synagogue in Via Donizzetti opened in 1912 and it was inaugurated by Chief Rabbi Zvi Perez Chajes. It followed the Ashkenazi rite. After World War I Trieste was the main port for Jews from Central and Eastern Europe who immigrated to Ereẓ Israel. (Shlomo Simonsohn / Samuele Rocca (2nd ed.) -Holocaust Period According to the census of 1931, the Jewish community of Trieste had 4,671 members, including 3,234 Italians and 1,437 foreigners. Census data for 1938 recorded 5,381 Jews in Trieste, belonging for the most part to the lower and middle sectors of the middle class. The racial laws at the end of 1938 caused an initial period of disorientation, including many conversions, the withdrawal of membership of many Community leaders and members, and the emigration of most foreign Jews. By 1939, however, the elected council had been replaced by one appointed by the Italian government. In October 1941, the first visible acts of real intimidation occurred. The facade of the central temple of the German rite and the headquarters of the community in Via del Monte were defaced with antisemitic slogans and red ink. Vandalism and violence recurred in July 1942, when several Fascist squads devastated the temple and assaulted defenseless passers-by. Similar incidents occurred in May 1943, when Jewish and Slavic businesses and shops were sacked. By then, the Jewish community of Trieste had no more than 2,500 members. After the Italian armistice with the Allies on September 8, 1943, and the German occupation of Italy, Trieste and the surrounding area were incorporated into the Adriatisches Kustenland and formally annexed as an integral part of the Reich, with dire consequences for the Jews. Not all Jews were able to go into hiding before a German Einsatzkommando initiated the first roundup of Jews on October 9. A second roundup occurred on October 29, and a third on January 20, 1944. During the latter event, Dr. Carlo Morpurgo, secretary of the community, remained at work in order not to abandon the elderly patients at the Jewish Pia Casa Gentilomo hospice. He was arrested and deported with them to Auschwitz, where he was murdered on November 4, 1944.   In March 1944, other Jews recovering in various hospitals throughout the city, including the Regina Elena, the psychiatric hospital, and the hospital for the chronically ill, were seized. After being arrested, the Jews were taken to the Coroneo prison and, after February or March 1944, also to the Risiera di San Sabba, the only concentration camp with a crematorium in Italy. Some Jews arrested in Fiume, Venice, Padua, and Arbe were also sent to the Risiera. From October 1943 to February 1945, about 60 convoys left Trieste, all headed for the concentration camps of Central and Eastern Europe. According to estimates, Jews deported from the Adriatisches Kustenland numbered 1,235, of whom 708 were from Trieste. Of the latter, only 23 returned. Some Jews from Trieste joined the partisans and died in combat. Sergio Forti was killed in battle near Perugia on June 16, 1944; Rita Rosana died near Verona on September 17, 1944, at the age of 22; and Eugenio Curiel, a university teacher, was killed by Fascists in Milan on February 24, 1945, just a few weeks before the liberation. (Adonella Cedarmas (2nd ed.) After the war about 1,500 Jews remained in Trieste; by 1965 their number had fallen to 1,052, out of a total of 280,000 inhabitants, partly because of the excess of deaths over births. In 1969 the community, numbering about 1,000, operated a synagogue and a prayer house of the Ashkenazi rite, a school, and a home for the aged. In the early 21st century the Jewish population of Trieste was around 600. (Shlomo Simonsohn / Samuele Rocca (2nd ed.) -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Roth, Italy, index; Milano, Italia, index; Milano, Bibliotheca, index; Bachi, in: Israel (Aug. 11–18, 1927); Colbi, ibid. (March 22, 1928); idem, in: RMI 17 (1951), 122–9; Curiel, ibid., 6 (1931/32), 446–72; Volli, ibid., 24 (1958), 206–14; Botteri and Carmiel, in: Trieste …, 6 (1959), May-June issue, 6–16; L. Buda, Vicende e notizie della comunità ebraica triestina nel Settecento (1969); H.D. Friedberg, Ha-Defus ha-Ivri be Italyah (19562), 90. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: T. Catalan, La comunità ebraica di Trieste (17811914), Politica, società e cultura, Quaderni del dipartimento di storia, Università degli studi di Trieste (2000); S.G. Cusin, and P.C. Ioly Zorattini, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Itinerari ebraici, I luoghi, la storia, l'arte (1998), 108–71; L.C., Dubin, The Port Jews of Habsburg Trieste, Absolutist Politics and Enlightenment Culture (1999); M., Stock, Nel segno di Geremia, Storia della comunità israelitica di Trieste dal 1200 (1979); S. Bon, Gli Ebrei a Trieste 19301945. Identità, persecuzione, risposte (2000); S.G. Cusin and P.C.I. Zorattini, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Itinerari ebraici (1998).

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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