The Jewish cemetery of Thessaloniki – part 3
Posted by Abravanel, the Blog στο 05/05/2007
-> Part 1 – The Destruction can be found here.
-> Part 2 – After the War can be found here.
Part 3 – Photos after the Holocaust
Here I included some photos concerning the Jewish cemetery of Thessaloniki and its fate today. The ones deriving from books I kindly ask not to have them reproduced elsewhere since I’m not certain about the copyright. For all pictures you may click on them to get better resolutions. I also included a small bibliography for those interested reading more, plus a couple of interesting links.
- This is a screenshot I took with GoogleMaps. I used the maps I already had to draw a line of where the cemetery stood and what lies above it today. The drawing is approximative of course but I plan on improving it in the future. The names you see are in greek and 80% of them are the names of the university schools which lay there. Among them is the AHEPA hospital, the Medical School, the Dental School and others.
It’s borders today according to the site of the Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki are:
The vast proportions of this necropolis can still be traced. The western limit extended along the flank of the PAOK soccer stadium and the eastern limit followed approximately Pavlos Melas Street. The northern limit lay within the entire campus of the present day University of Thessaloniki, including an orphanage and a number of adjacent buildings and military barracks. The southern limit ended in the neighborhood known as Saranda Ekklisies (Forty Churches) and a collection of private dwellings. Along its entire length it was divided by a fairly wide path that had been created by Ottoman soldiers in the 19th century
- A map of the cemetery before the war, with the buildings that the University planned on building if the land was to be confiscated. One can see that the exact size of the cemetery was total 357.796 square meters.
- Broken tombstones and bones to the mercy of dogs after the War. Unfortunately only a few gravestones survived and one can see them in the Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki and in the new jewish cemetery.
- Various gravestones deriving from the Jewish Cemetery, in the courtyard of St.Demetrious Church; the main church of Thessaloniki dedicated to its patron saint. Some of these were used for reconstruction works of the temple.
- A map of the prewar Thessaloniki Jewish Community. With yellow one can see the cemetery while the map below is portraying the Thessaloniki of 1960’s. Using this map one can pinpoint exactly the borders of the Jewish Cemetery, in relation to Thessaloniki today.
A thick red line indicates the christian cemetery of Evangelistrias, immediatelly adjacent to the jewish one. This cemetery was founded in the ’20s and its removal was never asked by the University or the City itself. It still survives today surrounded amidst the town and with the University a few meters away.
- M.Mazower – Salonica,City of Ghosts/Θεσσαλονίκη,Πολη των φαντασματων – (exists both in greek and english)
An excelent book which covers briefly how the cemetery was destroyed and has some valuable information on its fate after WW2.
- Γιομτωβ Γιακοελ, (επιμελεια Φ.Αμπατζοπουλου) – Απομνημονευματα 1941/1943 – εκδ.Παρατηρητης 1993
A prominent member of the Jewish Community who took part in the negotiations with the greeks and the germans and comments the events. The book is extremely interesting because it was written in 1943 and contains the thoughts and climate of the period untouched by later knowledge of the events, since Y.Yacoel died in Auschwitz in 1944. As he said: “The hurried manner and the excessive zeal shown by the Greek authorities make it obvious that it wasn’t only out of motives aimed at the city’s beautification that they were moved to dismantle the Jewish monuments so quickly.”
- In Memoriam – J.Nehama,M.Molho – 1974
A monumental work dedicated to the extermination of the Community of Salonica; its third volume is dedicated to the fate of the cemetary. In addition to giving us its history thoughout the centuries, it also gives us a detailed account of how and who destroyed the cemetary. M.Molho was also a prominent member of the Community and had participated first hand in the talks. The pictures in black and white derive from there.
- Π. Ενεπεκίδη – Οι διωγμοί των Εβραίων εν Ελλάδι 1941/1944 – Εκδ.Παπαζήση 1969
A book which tries, very approximately, to describe the Holocaust of the greek jews. It isn’t by all complete and completely ignores the matter of the jewish necropolis while it over emphasizes greek achievements. Still, even by such an enthusiast, the conduct of the greek authorities of Thessaloniki leaves a bitter aftertaste.
- Haggadah – JCT 1970
The traditional book for Passover contains also some interesting information about the Community before the war. That is the source for the last picture.
The Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki. It houses a small collection of gravestones that survived, plus it has some valuable information material. Click on The Jews of Thessaloniki -> Necropolis to get a brief story of the cemetery plus some more photos. [English-Greek]
Gravestones everywhere. A post in the AgitProp blog which tells us of the author’s experiences with tombstones in modern Salonica. The first one was in the Aristotle University campus, near the Biology Department and the second one was near the suburb of Panorama. There you can also see a photo that the author took of a gravestone incorporated in a modern building today. Take the time to visit the rest of his blog since it often houses articles of ladino interest. [Greek]
Invisible Revisited. A series of posts by DeviousDiva that host the academic paper by Laquer and Hesse «Bodies Visible and Invisible». A major source of information which deals extensively with the historical context of the destruction and the german policy towards the cemeteries throughout Europe. A must-read for anyone wishing to learn more about the subject.