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Durazzo

DURAZZO

DURAZZO (Durrësi, Durrës), chief port of Albania. There may have been Jews in Durazzo during the Roman period. The community, referred to as Durachi (um), is mentioned however for the first time in 1204 in a responsum of R. *Isaiah b. Mali di Trani. An English traveler found a group of Jews in Durazzo in 1322. Documents of 1368 mention the community leader (magister Yudayce) David, his business associates, and the communal scribe. The Jewish merchants traded with Italy, Serbia, and Dubrovnik exporting salt and importing textiles. In 1401 the representatives of the Jews appealed to the Senate of Venice, which then ruled over Durazzo, to exempt or partly exempt them from the obligation of presenting to the civic authorities annually 16 cubits of finest velvet, in addition to a sum of money in cash. During the 16th century a few Spanish refugees settled in Durazzo, but they do not seem to have had a communal organization. In 1939, refugee families from Vienna settled in Durazzo.

bibliography:

H. Bernstein, in: Jewish Daily Bulletin (April 17–18, 1934); J. Starr, Romania… (Eng., 1949), 81–83; A. Milano, Storia degli ebrei italiani nel Levante (1949), 64–65.

[Simon Marcus]

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