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The Jewish community of Thessalnoniki, the second largest city in Greece, was founded more than 2,000 years ago. After the Expulsion from Spain in 1492, a large percentage of Spanish-speaking Sephardic Jews moved to Thessaloniki. The Nazis, during World War II, occupied Thessaloniki, confined the Jewish population to a ghetto, and sent 96% of the Jewish population to the Nazi concentration camps in Poland.

Meir Gover has compiled the .pdf attached to this page that compiles information from the 2012 Jews of Thessaloniki Exhibition at the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki and annotated photographs that he took on his trip to Thessaloniki in 2017.

This Jewish headstone writes:

English Translation:         Hebrew:
Tomb mark                              ציון קבר
for a brave man                        של איש חיל
most active                               רב פעלים                        
Reb Shmuel Avitzoor                 ר' שמואל אביצור            
rests in Garden of Eden. Died    נ'ע' נפטר לבית
on the month                            עולמו בחודש 
of Nisan, the year                      ניסן שנת
5284 [March 1516]                    ה'ר'ע"ד
May His Soul be Bundled            ת'נ'צ'ב'ה'
with the Living

This rare 1516 headstone was erected for a Jewish man who died in Saloniki a mere few years after the Sephardic deportees arrived in town, then under the rule of the Ottoman Sultan.

This early 16th Century matzeva writing is almost identical to present day Jewish headstone style, including the prefix of the deceased ("Reb."), the suffix "ת.נ.צ.ב.ה," the "נ'ע" (may his soul rest in the Garden of Eden) and the upper niches intended for Yahrzeit candles.

The Hebrew on this stone is hidden in the back of a prior used Roman Era stone.

Photo 2017 by Meir Gover in the Saloniki Archaeological Museum open garden exhibition.

©2017 Meir G. Gover

Apr 15, 2017, 10:38 AM