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Freiberger, Miroslav/ Šalom

FREIBERGER, MIROSLAV/ ŠALOM

FREIBERGER, MIROSLAV/ ŠALOM (1903–1943), last rabbi of Zagreb, Yugoslavia, before the Holocaust. Born in Osijek (Croatia). During his youth he lived in Zagreb, actively participated in Zionist groups, and was a founding member of Aḥdut ha-Olim and the Federation of Jewish Youth Organizations. He studied at the Hochschule fuer Juedische Wissenschaften in Berlin, acquiring a Ph.D. in philosophy, and was ordained a rabbi.

On his return to Yugoslavia, he was appointed assistant rabbi in Osijek, then rabbi in Zagreb. He was the first locally born rabbi of the latter city. He published a new prayer book with Croatian translations and published various articles in the Jewish press, particularly in the Zionist weekly Zidov.

During the Holocaust, he refused to flee, not leaving his post as deportations and persecutions continued; he kept in touch with the Catholic archbishop, Stepinac (later cardinal), who promised to protect him. He was, however, deported on May 5, 1943, to Auschwitz, together with his wife and the last president of the community, Dr. Hugo Kon, all of them dying there. According to some testimonies, the archbishop tried to intervene, making telephone calls to the Croatian Ustashe police, but to no avail. In the reestablished Zagreb community the cultural association has been named after him.

bibliography:

"Povijest Židova u Dubrovniku do izgona 1515," in: Omanut (Zagreb), no. 1 (1936/7), 30–37.

[Zvi Loker (2nd ed.)]

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