Negotiations for a Synagogue in Kosovo

The Jewish Community is in Favour of the Construction of a Cultural Centre in Pristina and Prizren

June 13th, 2016

Jewish community representatives recently held discussions with the government and municipal authorities in Pristina, Kosovo’s capital and largest city, and in Prizren, the historical town where much of the country’s tiny Jewish community is concentrated.

The talks were held in Pristina and in Prizren, a city which historically houses much of the small Jewish community in Kosovo. Ines Demiri, an official from the Foreign Ministry, and daughter of Votim Demiri, President of the Jewish community, told the press that the Jewish community is conducive to the construction of a cultural center in Prizren, on the model of the Holocaust memorial in Skopje, in neighboring Macedonia.

The mayor of Pristina has now embraced the idea of a synagogue in his town. The memorial in Skopje represents an image of the destruction of the Macedonian Jewish community during the Holocaust. The memorial also acts as a reminder of the community when it was thriving. The building acts momentarily as a venue for community events. According to the ocal estimate, of the 551 Jews residing in the community prior to the outbreak of World War II, 210 died in battle. As well, the community’s synagogues and Jewish institutions were destroyed during Yugoslavia’s communist period.

Kosovo, formerly a region of Serbia, is a majority Muslim country that declared independence in 2008 with the backing of the United States. In the past few years, it has struggled to emphasize its pro-Western outlook. Each spring, government officials invite leaders of faith communities worldwide to discuss interreligious cooperation at a conference. Serbian-speaking Jews for the most part left during the 1999 conflict between Kosovo and Serbia. Most of the remaining community speaks Albanian, the language of the country’s Muslim majority.


Cultural Diplomacy News
Valentina De Gregorio, CD News