Saturday, 2 June 2018

Telling the stories and
recounting the tragedies
of the Jews of Thessaloniki

A two-page centrefold spread in the ‘Diocesan Magazine’

Patrick Comerford

My monthly column in this month’s edition of two diocesan magazines – the Church Review (Dublin and Glendalough) and the Diocesan Magazine (Cashel, Ferns and Ossory) – tells the story of the Jewish Community in Thessaloniki.

This was once a prosperous community that was centuries old and that gave Thessaloniki its reputation as the ‘Mother of Israel.’ But it was almost annihilated by the Nazis during their occupation of Greece in World War II.

I visited the Jewish community in Thessaloniki during Easter this year, including synagogues, museums, monuments and former homes and businesses, as well as the train tracks that marked the beginning of the journey from Thessaloniki to Auschwitz.

My feature and photographs are spread across seven pages in this month’s edition (June 2018) of the Church Review.

In addition, the editor has provided a two-page colour centre spread of four photographs to highlight this feature.

Introducing the feature, the editor, the Revd Patrick Burke, writes:

‘Patrick Comerford brings us the story of the Jewish community of Thessaloniki in Greece, a community that once was thriving but is now sadly reduced to a mere remnant. Patrick has brought us several such stories in recent years … and it is important that he does so. We must never forget the atrocities that were inflicted upon these people … not only because it is necessary to remember out of respect for those who suffered and died, but also so that we may always keep in mind how easy it can be for a stronger group in society to do terrible things to one that is weaker.’

But more about the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki and its interesting history and tragic stories tomorrow afternoon.

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