The Jewish Community of Zakynthos always lived in the shadow of the nearby larger Community of Corfu. Ever since the Venetian occupation, the Jews of the city lived in a separate neighbourhood called the zudeccha or the yetto in the local dialect. This was not in any way separated by the rest of the city, but it was different in that the large majority of its residents were Jewish. Before the war, the community had 275 members, most of whom were merchants and craftsmen, and maintained two Synagogues.
Two events, each in its own way, marked this small community. The first was that during the war all the members of the community were saved from arrest and deportation with the help of their Christian fellow citizens and the island’s authorities. This is a unique occurence in the history of Occupied Greece.
The second and equally crucial landmark for the community was the devastating earthquakes of 1953, which literally flattened the city and the villages of Zakynthos. Combined with the emigration of many of the community’s members to Palestine in 1947, this disaster spelled the end of the community, as, having lost their homes and property to the earthquake, practically all of the island’s Jews moved to Athens.
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