Niš, Serbia

Ниш, Србиjа

Nisch [German], Niş [Turkish], Naissos [Greek]

Lat: 43° 19´ N, Long: 21° 54´ E


This kehilalink is dedicated to the flourishing and vibrant Jewish community of Niš whose residents, with few survivors, perished during the Holocaust.

Niš is the town of my father-in-law, Naftaly Bata Gedalja, a military reserve Serb officer (in captivity in Nurenberg Germany), a journalist, and a Zionist activist. Niš is the town of his forefathers, going back to the first local Chief Rabbi in 1756 – Rachamim Naftaly Gedalia.

The first recorded mention of the Sephardic Jewish community in Niš is from 1651; the document records Jews being given land of their own. The Hebrew word "Nachala" appears in old documents; this word derives from "Machlessi", which means "neighborhood" in Turkish.

After 241 years of Turkish rule, Niš was captured from the Turks by the Serbian Army in 1878 during the Ottoman-Serbian War (1876 - 78).

According to Yad Vashem's Pinkas Hakehilot, Niš was a typical, homogeneous Sephardic community of Jews who were expelled from the Iberian Peninsula and later, in the seventeenth century, migrated to Niš from the Balkan regions of the Ottoman Empire.

You can help us remember and commemorate your Niš families by sending me additional information, documents, and photos for this kehilalink.

Leah Haber Gedalia

I would like to thank the following people for their contributions of photos, stories, and information:

Jasna Ciric, Emil Lewinger, Dorit Mandil, and Zeni Lebl z"l

Please contact
Leah Haber Gedalia
with your
additions, questions, corrections, or comments!

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