Daruvar New Jewish Cemetery
Daruvar is a small resort town located in the north of Croatia on the banks of the Toplica River. The lands surrounding the area were inhabited during the time of the Roman Empire, and Croatian tribes settled there in the 7th century. Daruvar was founded in 1771, and received the status of a free royal city by the decree of King Ferdinand I in 1837.
Daruvar has always had a diverse population, which has included Croats, Swabian Germans, Czechs, Italians, Serbs and many others. In the 18th century, Jews (mostly from Austria) settled in the town. The first Jewish settlers lived in the Ivanovo field (Staklane) area and worked in the construction of a glass factory. Jews mainly worked in trade, production of building materials, and banking. In 1921 there were 276 Jews among the 2,761 other residents of the town. By 1940 only 205 Jews lived in Daruvar. The synagogue was built in 1860, and the Jewish cemetery was built in 1862. The Jewish community of Daruvar did not experience any noteworthy anti-Semitism until the beginning of the World War II.
During the Holocaust, the Jews of Daruvar were attacked by Croatian nationalists, and a “contribution” of 2 million dinars was imposed on the community. More than 142 Jews were killed by Germans and the Ustasha (members of the Croatian fascist organization). 6 Jewish partisan detachment members died during the fighting. One of the most famous Jews from Daruvar was David Frankfurter (the son of a Daruvar rabbi), who, in 1936, killed the head of the Swiss branch of the NSDAP (Nazi Party/Foreign Organization), Wilhelm Gustloff. At the end of the World War II, the Jewish community was essentially decimated and no longer existed. By 1968 there were only 36 Jews living in Daruvar and, in 1991, there were merely 6 Jews left. The synagogue was nationalized in 1948 and rebuilt in 1951 as a theatre. In 1999 it became a Pentecostal church. There is a Memorial Room of Jewish Culture and Tradition in Castle Jankovic in memory of Daruvar’s Jews.
In 1945, the local authorities restored the Jewish cemetery on Vinogradska Street in the Roman Park Forest area. In 1952 a monument was erected in the cemetery in memory of those who perished in the Holocaust. Since 1973, this cemetery has been on the list of memorials for the victims of the Nazi terror. In 1978 restoration work took place at the cemetery. The cemetery is now fenced, and about 170 gravestones are preserved. The gravestones are made of stone and marble, inscriptions on which are written in Hebrew, German, and Croatian. The oldest burial and gravestone dates to 1868, and the most recent one dates to 2015. Ivan Ceresnjes reports that the cemetery is under the personal protection and care of Zlatko Bienenfeld, the head of the local Jewish community. According to Bienenfeld, the cemetery is, “wonderfully maintained … The whole plot is one of the best- preserved small cemeteries in the area.”