How Sarajevo's Muslims saved their Jewish neighbours 200 years ago

NEWS 01.11.2019 18:28
Source: AFP/Elvis Barukčić

Saturday marks 200 years since Sarajevo’s Muslims broke into a prison and freed the Hahambasha (Jewish religious leader) Moshe Danon and ten other prominent Jews from the Ottoman Vali (governor) Mehmed Ruzdi Pasha.

In 1819, Ruzdi Pasha imprisoned Jewish religious leader Moshe Danon and ten other prominent Jews and threatened to execute them if the Jewish community does not pay him 500 sacks of coins within two days.

Sarajevo’s Islamic leaders were outraged with the Vali's actions.

A day later, the city's Muslims organised themselves, broke into the prison and freed the captives.

“On Day 4 of the Marcheshvan Jewish Calendar, a small holiday (called Sarajevo Purim or Purim di Saray) is celebrated by the Jews of Sarajevo, as a remembrance of the miraculous salvation from the hands of the oppressor, Bosnian Vali Mehmed Ruzdi-Pasha,” explained the Advisor for Culture and Religion to the Jewish Community, Eli Tauber.