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NEA ORESTIADA Print E-mail
Friday, 12 June 2009 10:56

THE JEWISH COMMUNITIES OF NEA ORESTIADA AND SOUFLI

    The Community of Nea Orestiada was formed in 1923 and at that time it was the smallest one in Greece. The Jewish Community was established in the new Greek city, formerly called "Karagats", founded after the Treaty of Lausanne. The city is located near the Greek border to Turkey. At that time 20 Jewish families settled in the region and formed a Community with its own Synagogue and rabbi.

    The presence of Jews in the disputed frontier region caused the reaction of the residents, and as a result, the notables constantly reported to the Greek Authorities requesting the evacuation of the Jews. The main reason for these reactions was commercial competition. On August 7, 1925, the Prefect sent a relevant document to the Administrator of Macedonia, reporting, among other things that:
"
The Jews, holders of the largest capital, succeeded to control the greatest part of commerce, thus depriving the Greek bread-winners a significant means of earning a livelihood".

    However, Jews had been living in the old city of "Karagats" for several decades and had peaceful relations with their fellow citizens.

    In 1925 the Community was comprised of 28 families, 59 men and 41 women. Fifteen of these families owned their homes and were involved in industries and commerce.

    Rabbi Abraham Iosif Farin led services at the Synagogue.

    In 1943 the community had 197 members. On the night of March 3, 1944 the Germans arrested all of them and via Thessaloniki deported them to the death camps where they were exterminated. Only three of them survived. After the total destruction of the Community there are no more Jews there.

    The neighbouring city of Soufli was founded in the middle of the Turkish rule (1600-1700) and was originally called "Soufoulou". In the 19th century the city developed into an urban center thanks to the railway transportation system. The Jews who settled there were involved in silk industry and commerce. The factories of the Gibre brothers and Pepo-Azarias were well known. Since they were very few in numbers, the Jews did not make up a community. During the Nazi persecution 32 Jews were arrested and exterminated in the Nazi camps. No Jews live there ever since.


 

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