The Jewish community of Croatia dates back to at least the 2nd – 3rd century, although little is known of the community until the 10th century. During the excavations of the Roman city of Salona, near which the city of Split subsequently arose, Jewish gravestones were found, as well as ceramic lamps with the image of the Menorah.
By the outbreak of World War II, the community numbered approximately 20,000 members, most of whom were killed during the Holocaust that took place on the territory of the Nazi puppet state called the Independent State of Croatia. After World War II, half of the survivors chose to settle in Israel, while an estimated 2,500 members continued to live in Croatia.
According to Israeli demographers, in 2004 there were 1,700 Jews in Croatia; three quarters of them live in Zagreb. The Jews of Croatia are organized into nine communities throughout the country. Jews are officially recognized as an autonomous national minority, and as such, Jewish institutions get financial support from the government. Such institutions in Zagreb include kindergarten, nursing home, various Jewish cultural projects. The community opened a summer camp on the Adriatic coast.
In the early 2000s, the Holocaust Research Center was opened in Zagreb.
In 2006, the 200th anniversary of the founding of the Jewish community of Zagreb was solemnly celebrated in Croatia.
Today, Croatia is home to eight synagogues and associated organizations, located in Zagreb, Rijeka, Osijek, Split, Dubrovnik, Čakovec, Daruvar, Slavonski Brod. Of these, the Zagreb community is the largest and most active; it organizes events to promote Jewish culture and identity, such as the annual Zagreb Jewish Film Festival. The Sunday Jewish school began its work in Zagreb.