Jewish people have been living on Croatian territory since the earliest datable records, most likely from medieval times. Many of famous people in Croatian history were of Jewish descent and had contributed to Croatia in many valuable ways. During the Croatian National Revival, many Jews were of help, like Eduard Breier Jewish people, stressing out the need for Croatian independence in Austro-Hungarian Empire.
Many of them stood beside ban Jelačić to show support for Croatia’s independence in the 19th century. In their honor, ban Jelačić declared a proclamation stating “…our brotherhood must be united no matter the religion we belong to”. Vid Morpurgo was a Jewish man from Split who financed the Croatian struggle for independence and also initiated the printing of a magazine supporting national pride.
During the mid 20th century many of Jews emigrated regarding the unfortunate events that took over Europe during World War 2. Of those living in the emigration, Dr.Ivo Korsky was one of the most famous people who contributed to the recognition of Croatian struggles during the Homeland war.
Even on the list of people recognized by Catholic Church are some people of Jewish ancestry. One of them was Ivan Merz, a young man proclaimed as “blessed” by Pope John Paul II. in 1994. Although leaving a huge mark in Croatian Catholic church, he was Jewish by his mother, Tereza.
During World War 2, a man who loudly fought for Croatia’s independence and pride was Andrija Hebrang Sr. who eventually died from the regime because of his patriotic beliefs. His son, Andrija Hebrang Jr. continued to support his father’s beliefs during the Homeland War and later became the Minister of Health in 2003. Slobodan Lang was also a doctor who helped a lot during the Homeland War in Croatia but also in Bosnia too by sending aid to the hospitals, refugees and the wounded in the areas that were deeply affected by the war. A Zagreb native, Dan Baram, also was the voice in Israel for Croatian people during the Homeland War by spreading the word of what was happening in Croatia. Today, Croatia has several Jewish centers around the country. The biggest ones are in Zagreb which also has a museum, kindergarten and sports teams. Other notable Jewish communities exist in Osijek and Rijeka too.