Kos New Jewish Cemetery

Cemetery Information

Country
Greece
Region
South Aegean
District
Kos
Settlement
Kos
Site address
15, Asklipioy Street (the houses on the opposite side of the street are numbers 20 and 22, Asklipioy Street).
GPS coordinates
36.88682, 27.27504
Perimeter length
194 metres
Is the cemetery demolished
no
Type and height of existing fence
The cemetery has a masonry fence of up to 1.5 metres height.
Preservation condition
Fenced and protected Jewish cemetery
General site condition
The cemetery is in good condition. It is cleaned annually and repaired by the Rhodes Jewish community.
Number of existing gravestones
36. The cemetery includes two tombstones from 1772 and 1802, which were most likely brought to this site from another cemetery.
Date of oldest tombstone
1914
Date of newest tombstone
1995
Urgency of erecting a fence
Fence is not needed
Land ownership
Property of local community
Preserved construction on site
The ruins of a building with graves inside, possibly an ohel, can be found in the cemetery’s northern part.
Drone surveys
Yes

Historical overview

Jews are mentioned as residing in Kos as early as the second century B.C.E. In the 14th century, Romaniot Jews lived there, but were expelled in 1502. A small Jewish community existed from the beginning of Ottoman rule (1522). A synagogue was built in 1747. In 1850, there were around 40 Jewish families, but their number dwindled thereafter. At the beginning of the 20th century, there were only 4 Jewish families in Kos. However, following WWI, Jews returned to the island and in 1934 the community built a new synagogue after an earthquake destroyed the old one. The Jews numbered 166 in 1938, dropping to 85-100 in 1943. In July 1944, the Jews were transported by ship, along with the Jews of Rhodes (2,000 in all) to Piraeus. They were held under brutal conditions at an SS prison camp outside Athens prior to deportation to Auschwitz-Birkenau and other death camps. None of the 12 Jews of Kos who survived the Holocaust returned there.

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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