According to the census of the Kingdom of SHS from the 1921 in its territory lived 64.159 Jews. When before the end of the World War I began to be perceived the contours of the dissolution and definitive disappearance of the Monarchy, among Jews, who until then were quite passive and apolitical, mostly appeared the awakening of national consciousness which was launched exclusively by the intellectual power of younger generations of Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jews. They promoted their advanced ideas and aspirations for the unification of Jews all over the world through Zionist organizations and associations in home Jewish communities. Their number, in striving to achieve reunification as soon as possible, in all major cities of Europe was rapidly growing. According the opinion of many eminent historians, the Zionist movement in regard of emancipation and prosperity, significantly contributed to reconciliation and rapprochement the views of two Jewish ethnic groups. This also occurred in Banjaluka.

After the First Jewish Conference of the Kingdom of SHS in 1919, in1920 comes to the First Foundation Congress and the establishment of the Federation of Jewish Communities the Kingdom of SHS, with strict rules and with headquarters in Belgrade. The Zionist Hugo Spicer from Osijek was elected for President of the Federation and Dr Pops was elected for the Chairman of the Executive Committee. Great merits in that had prominent and already distinguished the Supreme Rabbi Dr. Isaac Alkalaj and very active the Chief Rabbi Ignjat Slang.

New founded Kingdom recognized equality to all the citizens and to Jews as well, which they also previously had, and Judaism as a religion got the same treatment as larger and more numerous religious communities. After a while it contributed that the participation of Jews in public and cultural life of B&H and in Banja Luka finally moved upward.

When it comes to the economy in Banja Luka, Jews participated in almost all segments of current economical life. Increased number of Jews in Banja Luka after establishment of the Kingdom of SHS, because of migration of Ashkenazi families from Europe, brought more dynamism and vibrancy to the Jewish community and to economic trends of the city which was in constant progress.

Ulica fra Grge Marti?a (danas Srpska ulica). Lijevo je porodi?na ku?a Jovi?a, porušena nakon zemljotresa 1969. godine. Na desnoj strani ulice je dvospratna porodi?na ku?a trgovca Riste Bokonji?a, dogra?ena nakon izgradnje Banske uprave. U zgradi iza nje, odmah nakon Drugog svjetskog rata bila je smještena Narodna biblioteka, a zatim i ?uvena kafana “Zora”. Danas je na tom mjestu nova dvospratnica u ?ijem je prizemlju omiljeno sastajalište Banjalu?ana – “Snek bar”. Sljede?a u nizu je zgrada jevrejke Sarike Poljokan, a iza nje zgrada porodice Vlasi?-Kurtovi?, Župska katoli?ka crkva i Privatna pu?ka škola sestara sv. Vinka Paulskog. Snimak na?injen za vrijeme Drugog svjetskog rata. / Arhiv R . Srpske/

The presence of Jews in Banja Luka opened the possibility of business modernization and faster penetration of the world’s latest technical and technological achievements, the establishment of banks and brokerage and development of modern commodity-monetary sector.

A large number of new shops were opened and the older were renewed and modernised. Among the best known were the Chemist’s of Robert Brammer, the Watch Maker /Jewellery Store of Moritz Gottlieb, modern manufactures of Haim and Erna Poljokan, the Goldsmiths’ shops of Aron A. Salom, Commission and Agency Stores of Moritz Grünwald and Aleksandar Kastl, Ironmongery Store of A. Fischer, Mixed and Colonial Goods of Neumann & Weiss.

A large number of new shops was opened – specialised for craftsmen and trade services : (1) Cadik Alkalaj, Commission Business ( agency), (2) Kalma Altarac, Banker – Money Changers, (3) Salom Altarac, son of Kalma, the Watchmaker’s Shop, (4) Jakov Baruch, the Shop in Textile Goods, (5) Isaac Baruch, the Foreign Goods Store , (6) Moritz Herzog, the Glass and Porcelain Store , (7) Bernard Bruckner, the Dentist , (8) Robert Brammer, the Optician, (9) Helena Sorger, the Laundry, (10) Leopoldina Krebs and Johanna Singer, the Fashion /Tailor Shop, (11) Haim Nachmias, Factory for Production of Wooden Pipes and Combs, (12) Salomon Poljokan, Commission Store (13) Isak Poljokan, the Groceries and Fashionable Goods, (14) Leon Poljokan, Textile / the Grocery Store , (15) Heinrich Singer, Sewing Machine Store, (16) Todoros Levi, the Shop for Production of the Peasant Shoes (opanak), Banking and Wholesale, (17) Laura Levi, the Textile Shop, (18) Mayer Levi, the Men’s Clothes, (19) Jakov Levi, the Second Hand Shop (20) Dr Haim -Bukus Levi, the first X – Ray apparatus in Banja Luka, (21) Moritz Jelinek, The Glass, Porcelain, Lamps and Chandeliers Store (22) Julius Schnitzler and Georg Kohn, the Grocery Shop and Library, (23)Aron Salom, the Watchmaker &Goldsmith Shop, and from 1926 the Shop in Electro Equipment and Bulbs , (24) Moritz Gottlieb, the Watchmaker& Jeweller Shop , (25) Isak Lichtenstein, the Store of Men’s and Women’s Clothes , (26) David Nachmias, the Tinsmith’s Shop, (27) Julius Schnitzler, the Haberdasher’s Shop, (28) Fischer, the Ironmongery, (29) Salomon Altarac, the Rope Maker Shop, (30) Samuela Levi, wife of Jakov, the Leather – Goods Store, (31) Joakim Steinlauf, the Knitwear Store, (32) Avram Altarac, the Company for Installing of Telephones and Electric Bells, founded in 1920, (33) Rozalija Steinlauf, the Sundries Shop, (34) David Izrael, the Butcher’s Shop (35) Salomon Levi, the Tinsmith’s Shop (36) Leon S. Levi, Second Hand Shop in Old Men’s Suits, (37) Mošo Levi, Second Hand Shop, (38) Sara S. Levi, Old Suits Shop, (39) Irena Levi, the Haberdasher’s Store, (40) Salomon Sarafi?, Money-Changer, (41) David, Jahmija and Jozef Sarafi?, Factory for Production of Paper Bags, (42) Abraham Altarac, the Shoemaker’s, (43) Moritz Gottlieb, the Photographer , (44) Samuel Nachmias, the Shoemaker’s Shop , (45) Abraham Altarac, from 1908 – the Shoemaker’s Shop, (46) Helena Sorger, the Loundry , (47) Jozef D. Nachmias, the Haberdasher & Wholesale Store, (48) Albert Giusto, the Men’s Suits Store, (49) Joseph Schindler, the Tailor’s Shop.

Listed trade and handicraft shops the ownership of the Banjaluka Jews was just some of previously established or renewed in Banja Luka.

Hotel “Palas”, ulaz i bašta. U pozadini se vidi zgrada najpoznatije banjalu?ke jevrejske porodice Isaka Salomona Poljokana i sinova.

The Jews were meritorious for the development of a modern banking sector, shareholder companies with domestic and foreign capital, and management of financial enterprises in Banja Luka. Among the founders of the First Banjaluka Savings Bank d.d. (stock company) which started to operate in 1894 is Ashkenazi Jew Robert Brammer, the Pharmacist. Majority of founders of the Bosnian Bank (in 1927) were Jews. The Bank for Trade and Crafts founded in 1911 became an integral part of this Bank in Banjaluka. Among the founders of this Bank were also two of the most prominent Jews of that time, Arnold Fischer and Salomon Poljokan, who were the first directors. In the Bosnian joint stock Company for the Exploitation of Wood in Banja Luka, of nine members of the Management – three were Jews.

Share capital of 30 million dinars was invested in the exploitation of the Bosnian forests with concession to 1942. In the Bosnian joint stock company for the exploitation of timber and steam sawmill, with headquarters in Banja Luka – Jews were also present. The Company was founded before the First World War in 1914 by fusion of industrial enterprises of that time “Vrbanja” a.d. and “Gec”. It had its own forest railway tracks in a length of 100 km. “Babi?” Wood Industry d.d. Banja Luka, with joint Jewish capital was founded in 1914 and was derived from the Company of Spasoje Babi?.

Ku?a bogatog jevrejskog trgovca Giuseppe Vitta Saloma, desno Hotel Bosna.

Stambeno-poslovna zgrada jevrejskog trgovca Isaka Salomona Poljokana, izgra?ena prije 1880. godine. U prizemlju i na galeriji nalazila se trgova?ka radnja mješovitom robom, a na spratu stambeni prostor. Zgrada je sanirana i adaptirana 1936. godine. U toku Drugog svjetskog rata porušen je prednji dio zgrade sa kupolom i Davidovom zvijezdom na vrhu. Poslije Drugog svjetskog rata u zgradi je bila smještena Robna ku?a “NA-MA”. Zgrada se nalazila se u glavnoj ulici, pored Hotela “Palas” (danas parking prostor). Zgrada je porušena poslije zemljotresa 1969. godine. Lijevo je džamija Sijamija (Sehova džamija), porušena 1931. godine radi izgradnje Hotela “Palas”.


[1] Od prva tri telefona 1912 g. u Banjoj Luci, dva su bila u vlasništvu Jevreja, i to Isaka Poljokana i Morica Grinvalda.
[2] Kastlov ?ošak i danas je glavni gradski orijentir.
[3] Sva imena su izdvojena iz originalnih spiskova Privredne komore Banja Luka iz 1929. g., koje ?uva Arhiv Republike Srpske u Banjoj Luci.