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PREVEZA Print E-mail
Friday, 12 June 2009 10:57

THE JEWISH COMMUNITY OF PREVEZA


    The Jewish Community of Preveza was one of the most recent Greek Jewish communities and was formed after the settlement of Jews from the surrounding cities and from Thessaloniki, maybe before 1800. According to the Municipality record the first Jew to be born in Preveza was Kofinas Simantov, son of Samuel, in 1842.

    In the February 1883 issue of the "Moshe Andologia Israelitika", review published in Corfu, the following is quoted on Preveza: "A Committee was formed by Elias David, Hayyim Issis, David Zadik, David Iakov and Elias Koulias, in order to organize the Community and build a Synagogue".

    In 1900 this small city was inhabited by 3,700 Christians, 1,300 Turks, about 300 Jews and a few immigrants from Italy. The Jewish residents were Romaniotes. In 1903 the "Kahal Kadosh Tefilah Moshe" Synagogue was built. It was dedicated to Rabbi Moshe Cohen from Ioannina, who donated the funds necessary to buy the site. (This synagogue was demolished after 1944 and the building of the telephone company stands in its place).

 


   

A commemorative plaque from the Synagogue
of Preveza, from the beginning of the 20th
century, in honour of the benefactors - donors.
Today it is kept in the Jewish Museum of Greece



    The Alliance Israelite Uneverselle School started functioning in Preveza in 1908 thanks to the great interest expressed by the headmaster of the school in Thessaloniki who mediated in the central offices in Paris. This initiative was also supported by Community factors. The school had two classrooms on the ground floor and the headmaster's office on the first floor.

    In 1911 the new French instructor, Solomon Danon, came from Paris. At that time the Community was composed of 85 families, about 160 members. The school was mixed and with the passing of time it had 106 pupils.

    The Community supported the school financially, donating 1,500 Francs, in other words half of its total budget. The instructor was paid by the Alliance. During the war (1912), professor Danon developed a great charity project for the Community and was very devoted. He assisted many Jews who were homeless and unemployed. In spite of the great poverty the school continued functioning normally. The school had four instructors who taught Hebrew, French and homemaking.

    On the eve of the Nazi persecution (1943) the Community had 250 members, who were arrested and exterminated in the Nazi death camps. Only 15 survived, in other words 94% of the Jewish population perished.


 

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