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FLORINA Print E-mail
Friday, 12 June 2009 11:03

THE JEWISH COMMUNITY OF FLORINA

    Florina was one of the places where Jews settled after their expulsion from Spain in 1492. They established their quarter called "Evreomahalas" ("Jewish Quarter") which was on the riverbank area called "Kokozia" and which expanded from modern day Epirou Street to Chrysostomou Smyrnis and Averof Street in the south. It included the narrow street on both banks of "Sakouleva" River. Today this area expands from the Courts to Plateia Iro'on (Heroes' Square).


Florina had a synagogue on Averof / Yenitson Street, by the bank of the river, covering about 320 meters. The synagogue was destroyed during the Occupation and half of its site was banked by the river. The cemetery was walled. It was at the foot of the mountain, opposite the zoo, near the public street that leads to Pisoderi. Most Jews were merchants, small tradesmen and artisans. Their shops dominated the main street called Megalou Alexandrou and Spyraki arcade.

 


   

View of the old Jewish cemetery, as it was
in 1977. Today no gravestones are left




   

Patriots executed by the Germans in August 1943, in
Florina, on Kladorahi spot. Two Jews are amongst them:
Nissim Batis from Ioannina and Aaron Levi from Trikala

 

Menahem Aaron, Menashe Iosif, I. Rahamis and T. Pitson were killed in the War of 1940 and their names are inscribed in the city's war memorial. On August 9th 1943, the Germans, in retaliation, executed nine Christians and two Jews on "Kladorahi" spot. The occupiers forced the Jews to wear the yellow badge, the Star of David on their lapel. Some of them, having foreseen the danger that threatened them, fled to the mountains or to other cities. The rest of them were arrested and exterminated in the Nazi death camps.



Before the War, the once flourishing Jewish community had 400 members. Only 64 survived, in other words the community lost 84% of its members in the Holocaust. The survivors settled in other cities or emigrated and as a result only 10 Jews remained in Florina. Later on they left too. The last chairman of the community was Iakovos Cohen. The Jewish Community of Florina was dissolved in 1970, after a significant presence of 500 years.

 


   

"Aristotelis", the Literary Association of Florina, built this
Monument on Kladorahi spot, dedicated to the Greek
patriots who were executed by the Germans in August 1943.
Their names are listed on the marble slab at the back


 

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