Chania Jewish Cemetery

Cemetery Information

Country
Greece
Region
Crete
District
Chania
Settlement
Chania
Site address
The cemetery was located between Akti Kanari Street, Gerasimou Pardali Street, Patriarchou Athanasiou Street and the north fence of Chania First High School. Today, a portion of the cemetery territory is used as a parking area and the land partially belongs to the ABEA olive oil company.
GPS coordinates
35.51737, 24.01121
Perimeter length
395 metres. Further research is required for an exact delineation.
Is the cemetery demolished
yes
Type and height of existing fence
No fence. Some of the old cemetery gate remains and is now part of the fence surrounding the olive oil company’s land.
Preservation condition
Demolished Jewish cemetery that has not been built over
General site condition
Part of the former cemetery territory is used as a school parking lot, and another portion, which now is a wasteland, belongs to the ABEA olive oil company. A building of the Chania First High School was also constructed on what was presumably former cemetery territory.
Number of existing gravestones
No tombstones preserved.
Date of oldest tombstone
Date of newest tombstone
Urgency of erecting a fence
Fence is not needed
Land ownership
Private
Preserved construction on site
Drone surveys
Yes

Historical overview

The Chania Jewish community existed under Venetian rule (1204-1645) and gained prominence under Turkish rule (from 1645). The community flourished between the 15th and 16th centuries. The Jewish population in 1571 was 300. There were two synagogues in Chania, one built in 1522 and a second in 1880. An Alliance Israelite committee, established in Chania in 1874, opened a school in 1876. The Jewish population in 1876 was 840. The Greek revolt, which began in 1896, undermined the Jews’ financial stability. Many left for other cities. In 1897, 200 refugees from Izmir reached Chania and were cared for by the community. Towards the end of the century, the community and its institutions were reestablished. During WWI, 547 Jews from the region found refuge in Chania. From the early 20th century, the Jewish population decreased due to emigration, numbering only 314 in 1941. In May 1941, a few families escaped to hide in Athens. On 20th May 1944, 265 Jews were imprisoned for a week and then boarded a ship at Herakleion. The few who survived in hiding left Chania after the war, primarily for Israel and the USA.

The exact period of the cemetery’s establishment is unknown, but it can be assumed that it emerged in the 13th century.

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