The Jewish population of Montenegro prior to World War II (WWII) numbered approximately 30 people, according to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM). The numbers rose during the war when Jews took refuge in Montenegro from the Nazi-controlled regions of Serbia and Croatia in the former Kingdom of Yugoslavia. For most of the war, Italian occupying forces ruled the territory. Generally, the Italians did not deport Jews or confiscate Jewish property, and they were lax in enforcing racial laws.
Nazi Germany occupied Montenegro after the capitulation of the Italian forces in September 1943. By February 1944, the Nazis had identified most of the remaining Jews in Montenegro and transferred them to several extermination camps in Europe, where 28 of the country’s 30 Jews and many others who had taken refuge in Montenegro perished. About 300 Jews who hid in the northern and coastal towns of Montenegro reportedly escaped deportation and survived. It is difficult to ascertain more specific numbers, as records tend to show data for the whole of Yugoslavia rather than specifically for Montenegro. The USHMM notes that in 1941, approximately 78,000 Jews lived in all of Yugoslavia, including at least 4,000 foreign or stateless Jews who had found refuge in the country during the 1930s.
Few Jews remained in Montenegro immediately after the war, although the population rose again with the return of some former residents who had hidden or survived the camps. According to the World Jewish Congress, approximately 400 to 500 Jews live in the country today, about 10 percent of whom are actively involved in the community. The Department is not aware of any Holocaust survivors currently living in Montenegro.
The main Jewish organization is the Jewish Community of Montenegro (Jevrejska Zajednica Crne Gore), which is affiliated with the World Jewish Congress. Judaism is considered an official religion in Montenegro.