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Recovered fragment of a desecrated tombstone honoring a Greek Jewish mother and infant

Object | Accession Number: 2011.109.1

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    Brief Narrative
    Partial offwhite tombstone recovered from the Jewish cemetery in Thessaloniki, Greece, desecrated in December 1942 during the German occupation by Greek authorities and collaborators. This marker has a Judeo-Spanish inscription in Rashi script dedicated to a young woman, Hana Gatiniyo, and her newborn infant, who both died during the birth, November 4, 1942. This cemetery was the largest Jewish cemetery in the world, in a city that had one of the longest continuous Jewish communities in existence. By 1940, it had around 400,000-500,000 tombs. On April 6, 1941, Germany and Italy invaded and Greece was divided; Germany controlled Thessaloniki in west Macedonia. In July 1942, most Jewish male residents were taken for forced labor. The Jewish Community paid an enormous ransom to free the men and to prevent the destruction of the cemetery. On December 6, 1942, workers were sent by the Municipality of Thessaloniki to destroy the cemetery. No graves were left undisturbed. The tombstones were destroyed, the graves looted, and the bones of the dead scattered. Tombstones were taken and used as road fill and for construction by the government and local populace. It was the only major Jewish cemetery in Europe to be completely destroyed during the war.
    commemoration:  1942 November 04
    use:  1942 December
    use: Jewish cemetery; Thessalonike (Greece)
    recovery: Thessalonike (Greece)
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki

    Physical Details

    Jewish Art and Symbolism
    Physical Description
    Large, uneven, rectangular, polished section of offwhite stone with a partial inscription of 8 lines in Judeo-Spanish (Ladino) in Rashi script carved on the front. The sides are straight and smooth with a carved, beveled front edge with raised line borders. The back is unfinished and flat. The top edge is broken off with an angled, but nearly straight, edge that slants downward on the right. The bottom edge is roughly broken with an irregular horizontal edge, with an uneven, unfinished surface.
    overall: Height: 39.000 inches (99.06 cm) | Width: 32.750 inches (83.185 cm) | Depth: 5.125 inches (13.018 cm)
    overall : stone
    front, carved : Ladino text [Hana / muzer di Aharon Gatiniyo / muriyo eyn orah disu parimyento / kon su kriatura mizmo / di 24 aniyos / 27 heshvan 5703 [Hana / wife of Aharon Gatiniyo [Gutinio] / died in the hour of labor (childbirth) / with her child, a gentle creature 24 years of age / November 4, 1942]

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    No restrictions on access
    Conditions on Use
    No restrictions on use

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The tombstone fragment was donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2011 by the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki.
    Funding Note
    The cataloging of this artifact has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2023-03-10 07:36:22
    This page:

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