Greece in the Centropa Archive

We conducted 15 interviews in Greece, all under the stewardship of Dr Rena Molho, one of the leading experts in the history of Salonica's Jews (the name Jews use for Thessaloniki).

More than 90,000 Jews lived in Salonica at the turn of the last century, and Salonica had remained an open port city as part of the Ottoman Empire until 1912. It had never before been a Greek city.

In this fascinating ethnically mixed city, Jews held the majority. Since Jewish porters and merchants dominated the harbor trade, foreigners were often shocked to find the harbor activities closed from Friday evening until Saturday evening.

Centropa's Greek interviewing team
Centropa's interview team in Greece

Almost wholly wiped out during the Holocaust, there are few Jews alive today who recall the time when Ladino, Turkish, Bulgarian and Greek were all spoken on the streets of this bustling port city, and neither the federal government nor the city government recognizes the contributions of Jews in Salonica.

Rena and her team conducted interviews in both Salonica and Athens (where they sought out Jews who had been born in Salonica).