Old Cemetery

Old Cemetery

The land outside the eastern walls of Ottoman Thessaloniki was allocated for burial use. This was the location of the cemeteries of all religious communities that lived in Ottoman Thessaloniki. The Jewish cemetery was the largest, because the Jewish community made up the majority of the population and, furthermore, Jewish religion forbade exhumation. It is estimated that it included at least 300,000 graves, many of which belonged to children, due to high infant mortality rates. This cemetery was destroyed by the Germans and their collaborators (under the operational responsibility of the General Command of Macedonia). From December 1942 until April 1943 the graves were destroyed, the materials used for road and building construction, and the bones were scattered. After the Occupation the enormous plot of land was conceded to the University of Thessaloniki for the construction of its buildings. So that this heinous crime may not be forgotten, in 2014 Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki erected a commemorative monument.