Larissa Old Jewish Cemetery

Cemetery Information

Country
Greece
Region
Thessaly
District
Larissa
Settlement
Larissa
Site address
The cemetery was presumably located between Agias Triadas Street, Agchialou Street, Pentelikou Street and Giagkou Street.
GPS coordinates
39.62826, 22.39617
Perimeter length
Perimeter presumably around 1,000 metres. Further research is required for an exact delineation.
Is the cemetery demolished
yes
Type and height of existing fence
No fence
Preservation condition
Demolished and overbuilt Jewish cemetery
General site condition
The cemetery was demolished in 1900 and the site was later built up. Today, there is a gymnasium as well as low- and high-rise residential buildings on the former cemetery site. Part of the territory which is not built up is used as a car park.
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

Jews first settled in Larissa in the 5th century.

This small Romaniot community flourished under Ottoman rule (from the late 14th century). In the 16th and 17th centuries, a small Sephardi congregation also existed. From the 17th -19th centuries., a number of emissaries from Eretz Israel visited and became involved in settling community disputes. The Jewish population in 1848 was 1,500 (of a total population of 6,000). In 1857, a severe fire destroyed two synagogues and left 250 Jewish families without means. The Alliance Israelite ran a Jewish school from 1868 to 1874, alongside the existing school for religious studies. The Jewish population in 1880 was around 2,000. The Jewish population dropped to 1,069 in 1907. Zionist organisations were established in the early 20th century, the Alliance Israelite school was reopened, and various cultural movements were founded. In the 1920s, there were 7 synagogues, serving a population of 1,175 by 1940. In spring 1941, bombing and an earthquake forced the inhabitants of Larissa to escape to neighboring villages. Some Jews remained and in March 1944, 235 were arrested by the Germans. 225 Jews were deported to the Auschwitz death camp, only six of whom survived. After the war, survivors returned to Larissa and the community was revived. It grew to be one of the largest in Greece, after Athens and Salonika.

The exact period of the cemetery’s establishment is unknown, but it can be assumed that it emerged at some point between the 15th and 17th centuries.

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