Kastoria New Jewish Cemetery
Jewish settlement in Kastoria dates back to the 6th century C.E. In 1453, the Ottomans transferred most of the Romaniot community to Istanbul, where the Jews formed their own congregation. After the expulsions in the late 15th century from Portugal, Spain, Sicily, and Italy, Sephardi Jews arrived in Kastoria and constituted the majority of the community thereafter. In the mid-17th century, Nathan of Gaza settled there and spread the messianic faith of Shabbetai Zvi. Many leaders of the community were Shabbateans. In the early 18th century, there were 4 synagogues: Romaniot, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese. In 1719-20, three synagogues were destroyed in a fire and 62 Jews died in an epidemic. In 1750, a new synagogue was built but was destroyed in 1828; another was built in 1830. A Jewish school was established in 1873. The level of Jewish education was low but in 1903 funds from the Alliance Israelite helped raise the education level. The Jewish population in 1906 was 1,600. In the 1920s, the organised community maintained 2 synagogues, a school and kindergarten, 2 social welfare organisations, and a burial society. Zionist activity began in 1928 with the establishment of a highly motivated Zionist association that led to a group of youths settling in Palestine. Prior to WWII, there were 900 Jews in Kastoria. In 1944, all inhabitants of the Jewish quarter were arrested and transferred to the death camps. After the war, there was a small community (35 Jews in 1945) but it declined over the years.
The exact period of the cemetery’s establishment is unknown, but it can be assumed that it emerged between the late 15th and early 16th centuries. The new cemetery may have been established between the 18th and 19th centuries.