Trikala Jewish Cemetery

Cemetery Information

Country
Greece
Region
Thessaly
District
Trikala
Settlement
Trikala
Site address
The cemetery is located on the crossroads of Chasion Street and Ethniki Odos Kalampakas-Trikalon Road (highway E92). The closest address is 2, Seferi Street.
GPS coordinates
39.56922, 21.76641
Perimeter length
600 metres
Is the cemetery demolished
no
Type and height of existing fence
The cemetery is surrounded by a masonry fence of 1.5 to 2.5 metres height.
Preservation condition
Fenced and protected Jewish cemetery
General site condition
The cemetery is in good condition and cared for by the local community. The cemetery is located on a steep slope outside the city. The cemetery’s older part is separated by a metal fence. The gravestones are numbered by small stone plates. Some tombstones show are visible signs of repair.
Number of existing gravestones
More than 900
Date of oldest tombstone
1896 (oldest tombstone found by ESJF expedition)
Date of newest tombstone
2015
Urgency of erecting a fence
Fence is not needed
Land ownership
Property of local community
Preserved construction on site
There is an unused beit-tahara in poor condition on the cemetery site.
Drone surveys
Yes

Historical overview

Jews probably lived in Trikala since antiquity. The Turks expelled the Jews to Istanbul in 1453. In 1506, there were some 90 Jews in Trikala. This small Romaniot community (dating from the Byzantine period) absorbed exiled Spanish, Portuguese, and Sicilian Jews in the early 16th century, as well as Hungarian Jews in 1526. The community became predominantly Sephardi and reached a peak population of around 1,000 towards the end of the 17th century. There were 3 congregations (Romaniot, Sephardi, and Sicilian), each with its own synagogue. Two of the synagogues were destroyed by fire in 1749; one was rebuilt. Trikala was annexed to Greece in 1881 and the community was granted religious freedom. In 1906, a Zionist organisation was founded, the first of a number of Zionist societies established in the following years. In the 1920s, the community maintained 2 synagogues, a school, 2 welfare organizations, and a theatre company. The Jewish population in 1940 was 520. By WWII, only one-quarter of the Jewish population remained. Many were deported to the death camps. The Germans withdrew from Trikala in 1944 and the Jews slowly returned, numbering 267 in 1945. A small community was reestablished.

The exact period of the cemetery’s establishment is unknown, but it can be assumed that it emerged in the 16th century.

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