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Recovered fragment of a desecrated tombstone honoring a Greek Jewish soldier

Object | Accession Number: 2011.109.2

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    Brief Narrative
    Partial white 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 Liaos (Elihau) Mevorah, one of the 513 Greek Jews who were killed in combat from 1940-1941 during the war to resist the invasion of Greece by Germany and Italy. 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:  1941 March 11
    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
    Rectangular, offwhite, polished tombstone of offwhite stone with an arched top. The arch curves outward at the base to form a rectangle with straight, fairly smooth side edges, with gouged cut marks. Carved on the front are 8 lines of Judeo-Spanish text (Ladino) in Rashi script, with yellow discoloration. A circular bolt hole is cut near the shoulders of the arch. The back is flat, rough, and unfinished. There are concrete remnants along the bottom edge.
    overall: Height: 28.375 inches (72.073 cm) | Width: 20.375 inches (51.753 cm) | Depth: 0.750 inches (1.905 cm)
    overall : stone
    front, carved : Ladino text [In the holy memory [erected] / by Lion Mevorach / in memory of his brother / Eliahu Moshe Mevorach / heroically fallen in battle 5701 .... 12 / March 11 1941

    Rights & Restrictions

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

    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    The tombstone 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:
    2022-07-28 21:51:30
    This page:

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