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40 years of active presence

Saturday, September 30, 2023


    There is evidence of Jewish presence in Athens since the antiquity. Travellers of various periods confirm the presence of Jewish families, whose number varied; in the 1840’s there were about thirty families, in 1878 sixty and in 1887 three hundred families.

    Athens did not have a Jewish neighbourhood, as many Jews lived scattered in various areas of the city. Nevertheless, many were to be found in the areas of Thission and Petralona. It was in Thission, in Melidoni Street, that the first cootemporary Synagogue of Athens was built, in 1903.

    As the population rose in the first half of the 20th century, it became necessary to build a new Synagogue, which was built on the eve of the World War II, across the street from the first one.

    The fact that the Jew lived scattered all over the city did not facilitate their segregation from the rest of the population. This, together with other factors, contributed enormously to their escaping the Nazi persecution during the Geran Occupation. The community of Athensi is the only one in the country that saw its numbers rise after the war, as many Jews from other destroyed Greek communities chose to move to the capital.

    Today, in those two neighbourhoods there is almost no trace left that would remind one of the Jewish presence in the area. The approximately 3.000 Jews of post-war Athens live scattered around the city and totally assimilated to the rest of the population.

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