Florina Jewish Cemetery

Cemetery Information

Country
Greece
Region
Western Macedonia
District
Florina
Settlement
Florina
Site address
The cemetery site is located opposite the gate of the Florina Zoo at 65, Kontopoulou Street.
GPS coordinates
40.77834, 21.38350
Perimeter length
499 metres
Is the cemetery demolished
yes
Type and height of existing fence
No fence
Preservation condition
Demolished and overbuilt Jewish cemetery
General site condition
The site of the demolished cemetery is located opposite the zoo gate. The cemetery was demolished and a children’s autodrome was built on the site. Along the perimeter of the former cemetery there are old trees which may indicate the old cemetery’s borders. The cemetery site borders the river from the south, a church from the west, and a stadium from the east.
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
Municipality
Preserved construction on site
Drone surveys
Yes

Historical overview

A Sephardi community existed in Florina as far back as the 17th and 18th centuries. Jewish settlement was renewed during the Balkan wars and WWI by Jews from Bitola. The community, consisting of 100 families, was established in 1914. A Jewish school was established in 1917 and a Zionist organisation soon became active. In the 1920s, fearing increased antisemitism and compelled to work on the Sabbath or suffer poverty, many Jews left Florina, mostly for Bitola. By 1929, the community had dwindled to 293 members (of a total population of 10,585), rising to around 400 by 1940. During WWII, many joined the Greek forces against the Italian invaders. In early 1943, a number of Jews joined the partisans and 60-70 fled to the surrounding hills and villages. On 30th April 1943, 372 Jews were arrested and deported to the Birkenau (Auschwitz) death camp via Salonika. After the war, 64 Jews returned to Florina but by 1959 only 7 remained.

The exact period of the cemetery’s establishment is unknown, but it can be assumed that it emerged in the 20th century.

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