Artifacts of the collection of the Jewish Museum of Greece

Sixty-eight items from the collection of the Jewish Museum of Greece were characterised as monuments by the Central Council of Recent Monuments.

They are items which witnessed the presence of one of Europe’s oldest Jewish communities in Greece.

The characterisation came following a request made by the Jewish Museum. The aim of the competent Directorate of Modern Cultural Heritage and Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Ministry of Culture is, as stated by the Head of the Directorate, Stavroula Fotopoulou, to introduce other items related to martyr areas of Greece for characterisation, such as exhibits from the Museum of the Kalavritan Holocaust.

It is a collection of historical evidence (documents, publications and photographs), religious and ritual items of household and synagogue use, traditional garments, as well as items and documents from the Second World War and the German occupation in Greece which tragically sealed the fate of the Greek Jews.

These include the Ehal and the Podium of Patra Synagogue, “Tikim” cases for the Torah, a 19th century Sephardic handwritten cylinder of the “Sefer Torah” from the Beth Shalom synagogue, handwritten notes from 1944 which were written by a Jew in the Haidari concentration camp, identity cards and yellow fabric stars from 1943 Thessaloniki Jews, a telegram from Rabbi Zvi Koretz, president of the community of Thessaloniki, to Moses Asser asking for help to collect the ransom demanded by the Germans, as well as a fake identity card under the name Ioannis Sorokos, which belonged to Rafael Besso and was used by him in order to escape the Nazis’ brutality.

The members of the Central Council of Recent Monuments unanimously decided that these items constitute historical evidence, exhibiting the presence and cultural expression of the Jews in Greece and their interaction with the Greek cultural traditions.