Articles and Historical Archives

 

Published research papers and articles gathered by Museum Director Marcia Haddad Ikonomopoulos on the history, culture, liturgy, and traditions of the Jewish Communities of Greece. 

Dehumanizing the Dead: The Destruction of Thessaloniki’s Jewish Cemetery

By Leon Saltiel

 

In December 1942, three months before the start of the deportations of the Jews of Thessaloniki in March 1943, a unique event in the history of Nazi-occupied Europe took place: the destruction of the vast and ancient Jewish cemetery of Thessaloniki. Even though the Germans played a key role in the actual flattening of the cemetery, they were merely fulfilling a decades-long wish of a part of the city’s Greek elite.

List of Jewish Children from Kavala who were deported to Treblinka in March 1943

School List of Jewish Children from Kavala who were deported to Treblinka in March 1943. Compiled by Vasileos Ritzaleos in 2013 for the 70th anniversary of the deportations from Kavala. 

Ester Skinios Angelidis - This is my story about the deportation of Ioannina, Greece 1944

My beloved children, this is my story about how the Germans caught and deported us from the city of Ioannina in Greece on the 25th of

March, 1944.

History of the Jewish Cemetery of Trikala

By Marcia Haddad Ikonomopoulos

 

Sources from the Byzantine period mention that there were Jews in Trikala and, along t with that, documentation of a Jewish cemetery, but it is not know where it was located. However, it is true that at the time Jews expelled from the Iberian Peninsula in 1492 settled in Trikala, there was already a Jewish cemetery at the present location with epitaphs engraved in stone (at that time there were not marble plaques). The earliest epitaphs found to date are from 1550. There were three synagogues functioning in Trikala: the Greek synagogue (Kal Kadosh Yavanim), the synagogue of the Sephardim and the synagogue of the Ashkenazim. 

The Jewish Community of Trikala

By Marcia Haddad Ikonomopoulos

 

A brief history of the Jews of Trikala, a diverse Greek Jewish community consisting of Romaniotes, Sephardim, and Ashkenazim dating back to the end to the Roman-Byzantine Empire. 

The Crying Woman

By Marcia Haddad Ikonomopoulos

 

It is often said that “a picture is worth a thousand words,” that thoughts, feelings, ideas can be captured in a single image, a process that otherwise may take countless words. A picture that we labeled “The Crying Woman” captured, in a solitary icon, the anguish, heartbreak and pain of the destruction of the Jewish Community of Ioannina and, by extension, that of the Jews of Greece during the Holocaust. 

August 18, 2011

Remembering August 18, 1917 - The Great Fire of Thessaloniki

By Marcia Haddad Ikonomopoulos

 

Thessaloniki (Salonika), known as the Jerusalem of the Balkans and "La Madre de Yisrael," represented one of the largest Jewish populations of Greece before the Second Word War. The city's vibrant Sephardic community, numbering nearly 50,000 Jews, was devastated by a great fire that ripped through the city and left many homeless as a result. 

May 12, 2010

In the Shadow of the Acropolis

By Marcia Haddad Ikonomopoulos as published in the Hellenic Voice

 

This excellent film dramatically tells the story of the Ackos family, Greek-speaking Romaniote Jews, who like many Jews from Ioannina had left the city of their birth at the beginning of the 20th century to pursue economic opportunities elsewhere in Greece. 

 

May 02, 2010

Geneology of the Jews of Ioannina

By Marcia Haddad Ikonomopoulos 

 

Ioannina, a small city in northwestern Greece near the Albanian border, was home to Jews for more than 1,300 years from the eighth century until the present.1 Due to its location west of the Pindos Mountain Range, the commu- nity was isolated geographically from the mainstream of Judaism, even that within Greece. Consequently, it devel- oped its own traditions, customs, and minhag, (prayer rites), and remained Greek-speaking even after most other Jewish communities on Greek soil were absorbed into the tradi- tional Sephardic world following the post-1492 influx of Spanish-speaking Jews. 

June 17, 2009

Remembering and Naming the Greek-Jewish War Heros of the Holocaust

By Marcia Haddad Ikonomopoulos

 

On October 28, 1940, Benito Mussolini issued an ultimatum to the Greek people, announcing that he was planning to invade Greece across the border of Albania. Greek Prime Minister Metaxas answered back with a resounding ‘Oxi’ (No), throwing the Greek state into war. There were 76, 000 Jews living on the soil of Greece, 1% of the total Greek population of 7 1⁄2 million. By October of 1944, four years later—only 10,000 Greek Jews would remain; 87% would perish in Nazi concentration camps. 

July 28, 2008

Deportation of the Jews of Ioannina

By Alekos Raptis and Thumios Tzallas

Translated by Marcia Haddad Ikonomopoulos 

 

In the early morning hours [4:00 am] of the 25th of March 1944, German soldiers from the Wechrmacht, reinforced by Greek civil police, had surrounded the Jewish neighborhoods and had closed off the surrounding streets. Shortly before, a conference had taken place between the German administration of Ioannina and the administrator of the Greek civil police [the section responsible for security] on the way to carry out the operation. 

 

This small attachment of the Wechrmacht, and the Greek civil police, invaded the Jewish homes and, with austere orders, required the inhabitants to abandon their dwellings, taking only 40-50 kilos of the barest necessities with them. The Jewish community of Ioannina was living its most tragic moments. Within each house, each family was living its own drama: pregnant women, children, newly married couples, and heads of families, all prepared themselves for their last voyage. 

May 14, 2008

Greek and Jewish: The Yanniotes in New York

By Marcia Haddad-Ikonomopoulos Paper published in the Bulletin of Judeo-Greek Studies, Cambridge University, No. 42, Summer 2008

 

In the early part of the twentieth century and continuing through the 1960's, Greek Jews emigrated in large numbers, creating a Hellenistic Diaspora that reached from the Mediterranean to the far corners of the world. Often, it would appear that more Greeks lived outside of Greece than on Greek soil. Various factors have led to emigration, political instability and economic deprivations foremost. Whether it was a hoped-for short term stay to work in Europe, the United States, or Australia, or an actual transplanting of one’s family onto the soil of these respective locales, Greeks have always taken their culture, language and love for homeland with them. In doing so, they transformed their host countries, and on returning, greatly altered their motherland. 

July 18, 2007

Visit of the Greek-Jewish Community of New York to the city of Ioannina

By George Siobotis

The Article appeared originally in an August edition of the major morning newspaper of Ioannina

 

On the 20th and 21st of July, a group of Yanniote Jews from New York visited our city. The purpose of their visit was to acquaint themselves with the special motherland of their grandparents.  The leader of the delegation was Marcia Haddad Ikonomopoulos, the Director of the museum in the Yanniote Synagogue of New York (Kehila Kedosha Janina Synagogue and Museum).

 

On the occasion of this visit, the family of Chaim and Suzanne Kofinas (descendants of the large Kofinas family who used to live in Ioannina) celebrated the Bar Mitzvah of their son, Seth Kofinas, on Saturday, July 21st, in the synagogue in Ioannina.  

July 18, 2007

Jewish Cemetery of Trikala

This survey was done by Viktor Venouziou in September of 2004 and updated in June of 2001. Numerical Table of Tombs The graves are listed alphabetically and then the number of where they are located within the cemetery is given. 

July 18, 2007

Burials in the Jewish Cemetery of Zakynthos in Alphabetical Order

Burials in the Jewish Cemetery of Zakynthos in Alphabetical Order and Compiled in September of 2009 by Samuel Mordos 

June 01, 2006

The Jewish Presence in Thessaly and Larissa

By Esdras Moisis 

Translated by Marcia Haddad Ikonomopoulos 

 

Even before the arrival of Sephardim from Spain, significant numbers of Jews lived in both Macedonia and Thessaly, dating back to the 5th century B.C.E. For at least 1,900 years, Jews have continuously lived in the city. A letter [dated 150 C.E.] by a Christian Apostle to the Jews of the city is testimony of this long presence. However, there is the opinion that the Jewish presence in Thessaly, including Larissa, dates to the 5th century B.C.E.  

May 31, 2006

Historic Tombstones in Ioannina Cemetery

Documentation of the historic tombstones in the Jewish Cemetery in Ioannina dating back hundreds of years. 

August 15, 2006

Romaniote Jews of Ioannina Greece

A Lecture presented on August 15, 2006 at the International Jewish Genealogical Conference by Marcia Haddad Ikonomopoulos 

 

While the terms “Ashkenazim” and “Sephardim” are geographical terms designating Jews whose ancestry originated in “German Lands” or Spain, the term “Romaniote” is an historical term, denoting Jews who date their ancestry back to the Roman Empire. These Greek-Romaniote Jews represent a distinct and unique Jewish community, one with a rich history, culture, and heritage. 

September 13, 2006

The Romaniote Jewish Community of New York

By Marcia Haddad Ikonomopoulos 

Published in The Journal of Modern Hellenism, Numbers 23-24/Winter 2006-2007

 

Romaniote Jews, the indigenous Jews of Greece, have lived on Greek soil for over 2,300 years. The first documented evidence of their presence dates to the establishment of the city of Thessaloniki, when Jews from Alexandria were invited by Kassandros, the brother-in-law of Alexander the Great, to settle. Wanting to establish Thessaloniki, with its natural outlet to the Northern Aegean, as a center of maritime trade, Jews were invited because of their growing expertise and connections throughout the Mediterranean. These Jews, Hellenized Jews, Greek-speaking Jews, would become what we refer to as "Romaniotes."

January 31, 2005

The Jews of Preveza

By George Moustaki

Translated by Marcia Haddad Ikonomopoulos 

 

It is difficult for anyone to speak regarding the Jewish community of Preveza. After more than 57 years, the memories are limited and detached. Nothing has been written by those who lived in the past. 

October 28, 2005

The Participation of Yanniote Jews in World War II

By Alekos Raptis
Translated by Marcia Haddad Ikonomopoulos 

 

Research on the events relating to the Greek-Italian War of 1940-1941 has been extensive and has revealed many meaningful and shocking things of which we could speak. There are still many aspects of this conflict that need investigation. One of these that would deserve our attention is the participation of Greek Jews who served their country in the Greek Army. The sacrifice and the blood shed by the Jewish community for their country were heavy. Yet their valor in defending the Greek Nation is critical to acknowledge and it is important that we tell their untold story.

July 15, 2004

The Mourtzoukou Factory of Volos Greece

By Raphael Frezis
Chronica: issue 192 [July-August 2004]
Translation by Marcia Haddad Ikonomopoulos

 

One of the largest factories in Greece, which was located in Volos, was “Leviathan” which provided first quality men and women’s garments. The steam-powered factory, originally small in size, was built on a piece of land about 100 square meters in size on Anapavseos Street, next to the Krausidon River. It began to operate under the name “Leviathan-Mourtzoukos-Sigaras-Levis and Sia” in 1908 with the participation of the entrepreneur Kalamara. 

August 01, 2004

The Jews of Arta

By Constantinos A. Tsiliyianni 

Translated by Marcia Haddad Ikonomopoulos 

 

The first Jews in Arta, a city located in the northwestern region of Greece, were Romaniotes. The Jewish community is believed to be one of the oldest on Greek soil, going back over 1000 years and came mainly from the Peloponnesiancities of Corinthos and Patras during the 10th century. The reasons for leaving were local persecutions and, in the case of the populace city of Nikopoli, Barbarian invasions and acts of destruction. When Benjamin of Tudela visited the Jewish Community of Arta in 1173, they had already been living in the city for many centuries. Later many Romaniotes from Corfu would flee to the city in 1246 during a war between Robert of Sicily and the Byzantine Empire.

 

August 16, 2000

The Jewish Community of Agrinion

By  Michael Matsas
Translated by Marcia Haddad Ikonomopoulos

 

On the New Year, the families of Eliezer, Yiossoula, Reví, Elia Mizan Savva Mizan, Leon Matsas and Isaak Matsas families would gather in Nisim Mionis’ home to read the book of prayers. The only one who did not take part in the religious service was Nisim’s brother, Yonas, the teacher and member of the Communist Party who was one of the five leaders of EAM [left- wing resistance movement] in the area of Agrinion. The Eliezer family, who were also members of EAM, had a dog who was much beloved by the andartes [resistance fighters]. His name was Hitler. 

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Kehila Kedosha Janina | Synagogue and Museum

 

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