Exhibition presenting the service of Jewish soldiers in the Austro-Hungarian army, during the First World War battle on Slovenian soil

Event Details

Important Exhibit taking place at Zion Church on June 5, 2018 – 2:00pm to 8:00pm

Special presentation at 7:00pm by Ambassador Marjan Cencen.


The First World War involved 36 countries and the bloody battles at Isonzo between 1915 and 1917 were marked by the multinational and multi-faith character of the combatants. Among the soldiers of the Austro-Hungarian and Italian armies there were many who were Jewish. The Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria-Hungary regarded them as the most loyal of his troops and, due to the circumstances at that time, the Jews regarded the Emperor as the “Fortress of Tolerance.”


Until the beginning of the First World War only two Jews had reached the rank of General in the Austro-Hungarian army, but during the war another three soldiers were promoted to that rank. Among them was Major General Maximilian von MaendlBughardt at the Isonzo front.


According to historical estimates, around 300,000 Jewish soldiers fought in the Imperial army of Austro-Hungary in the years 1914-1918. More Jewish soldiers, about half a million, were conscripted into the Imperial Russian Army.


Due to heavy losses among officers in the first year of the war, there was a significant increase in the number of Jewish officers, because they had been enlisted in the reserves. The reserves had an above-average Jewish presence, primarily as a reflection of their higher levels of education, as intellectuals could serve in the Austro-Hungarian army as reserve officers.


According to military statistics it is estimated that around 40,000 Jewish soldiers fell during the First World War, of which about a thousand were officers. This exhibition is an attempt to present the service of Jewish soldiers in the Austro-Hungarian army, during the First World War battle on Slovenian soil.


The exhibit will include photographs and historical information concerning this famous battle and the many sacrifices made in the name of freedom. As an added bonus with this exhibition, the Ambassador to Canada from the Republic of Slovenia – Marjan Cencen, will be in attendance at 7:00pm at Zion Church and will present a brief presentation on the historical significance of this battle and the participation of Jewish soldiers at the time.


This is a unique opportunity to learn about some amazing history and meet the Slovenian Ambassador to Canada. Zion Church is honored to be hosting this event.

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