Mahmut Mumci

Pristina | Date: December 8, 2018 | Duration: 77 minutes

In the Old Bazaar, right where you would enter the street of ropemakers, there was a synagogue. At the Bazaar, other than the Turkish and Albanian Pristina folk, the Jewish people had shops as well. From back then, I remember personally two quilt making shops, a watchmaker, and I know two tailors as well. Karakušević Nasko, Jewish, he was a watchmaker. From the Prličević family, they are a family of Jewish descendants as well, they were tailors. These are some of the old craftsmen in that bazaar. 

Where exactly was the synagogue?

Eh, now the synagogue, you know the Parliament Building today, the back entrance or the largest entrance of it is there, right in front of it. The synagogue was not there when they demolished that area, the synagogue was relocated, and it still stands to this day relocated like that. House of Emincik, the current Ethnological Museum, right in front of that museum, the synagogue has been moved there. 

And the Jewish families, they have left?

The Jewish families, based on what I know, there were many families here during the Second World War, and they were hidden by the old families here in the city during those times, protected. Some of them were captured by the German occupiers and sent to camps. And later, I think after 1947, when Israel was established, they slowly moved there. I remember right above Taukbahçe, the place called the Jewish Cemetery. Since it was not very far away from my neighborhood, we would go there often. There were maybe, I do not know the exact number, but around twelve large tombs, sarcophaguses. We would go climb above them, sunbathe lying there, on top of the stones. There were Jewish symbols and Hebrew writings on them. I do not know if that place is still there, I had heard that two to four tombs were left, and they had put it under protection. But I haven’t seen it since.

Ebru Süleyman (Interviewer), Donjeta Berisha (Camera)

Mahmut Mumci was born on September 10, 1947 in Pristina. Born into a mercantile family, he did not pursue that path, but rather studied Medicine at the University of Belgrade and University of Prishtina. At first, he was a Teaching Assistant for the Histology course at the University of Prishtina, and later having specialized in Pulmonology in Zagreb, he worked as a pulmonologist his entire life. Today, Mr. Mumci is retired and lives with his family in Pristina.