The museum’s building is itself a living memory as it is one of the very few Jewish-owned buildings to have survived the fire of 1917, and also once served as the offices of the Jewish newspaper L’Independent. The ground floor – divided between a gallery of stones, inscriptions and photographs from the city’s old Jewish necropolis, and a room of remembrance – sets a contemplative mood.
Upstairs, in the light and airy main gallery, there is an enormously informative narrative of the Jewish presence in Thessaloniki, from the 3rd century BC, through the great arrival of Sephardic Jews fleeing Spain in the 15th century and up until World War II. Texts are in both English and Greek, with audio guides available in English, Greek, Hebrew, French and German.
Artifacts of everyday life complement the exhibit. A separate gallery is devoted to the Holocaust and its impact on Thessaloniki’s Jewish community: the vast majority – some 49,000 – were deported and less than 5 percent survived, practically erasing a tremendous presence that had helped shape centuries of the city’s cultural, intellectual, and commercial life. There is an extensive library documenting both the secular and religious life of the community, with books dating as far back as the 16th century.
• 13 Aghiou Mina, Thessaloniki
• Tel: (+30) 2310.250.406-7
• OPEN: Tuesdays, Fridays & Sundays 11:00-14:00, Wednesdays & Thursdays 11:00-14:00 & 17:00-20:00
• ADMISSION: 3 euros