Jews in the Slovene Folk Song


  • Zmaga Kumer



In the Slovene folk song Palestinian Jews come up fairly frequently but only in legendary songs relying on the contents of the Bible, particularly on the Gospels, whereas mediaeval Jews are to be traced only in two narrative songs. It appears thus that our people did not have with Jews - who were expelled from Styria and Carinthia in 1496, and from Ljubljana in 1515 - enough such contacts that a memory of them could have left strong traces in the song tradition. Although in the 15th century also peasant subjects were said to get loans from Jews, this being the main reason for impatience with Jews, it does seem that among Slovenes the indisposition towards Jews had stronger religious motives. At least both the narrative songs speaking about the stealing of hosts and about selling them to Jews are evidence of that. The first one was written down by O.Caf and it was sung for him by the 70-years old Marinka Bobnica, from the village Morje near Fram. It may be assumed, with considerable probability, that this song originated in the Middle Ages, at the time of pilgrimages to Compostela and that its story reflects the accusations of the local people against Jews in Compostela, something that the pilgrims may well have heard. The second recorded text is by M. Ravnikar-Poženčan from before 1838. It is almost unquestionable that the song originated In the region of Kamnik, and not before the second half of the 16th century; but the direct cause for its origin was probably a concrete instance of robbery of valuable things in the church. In this case the song could be ranked among those proving that our narrative songs were still taking shape for centuries long, also as a reflection of event in the home country and are not only in their subject taken over from the European ballad tradition.


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How to Cite

Kumer, Z. (1997). Jews in the Slovene Folk Song. Musicological Annual, 33(1), 91–95.