Jewish tombstones found in Thessaloniki

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In a find that local Jewish groups have described as highly significant, Greek police said Thursday that hundreds of marble headstones and other fragments from Jewish graves destroyed during the Nazi occupation in World War II have been recovered.

Jewish tombstones found in Thessaloniki
Headstones destroyed during the Nazi occupation of Greece during World War II and recovered after they were found buried in a plot of land are seen on the ground at a Jewish cemetery, in the northern port city of Thessaloniki [Credit: AP]

The 668 fragments were found buried in a plot of land in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city, following a 70-year search for the remains of graves smashed when the city’s main Jewish cemetery was destroyed.

The head of the city’s Jewish community, David Saltiel, said most of the gravestones found dated from the mid-1800s up until World War II.

“This is our history,” Saltiel, head of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, told The Associated Press.

“Apart from the names, the (gravestones) also include the person’s occupation. So this is a historic record.”

An estimated 60,000 Greek Jews, most of the country’s prewar Jewish population, were killed in the Holocaust. 

Source: Associated Press [December 20, 2012]

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