Who is Commemorated?
Jews of Kastoria
The white marble monument is located on the side of a major road that climbs the hill of the old town of Kastoria. The space widens out on the other side of Merarhias Street to create a small park with a fine view of the lake.
The form of the monument is abstract. The roughly carved stone is divided into two vertical parts which suggest the Tablets of the Law. The commemorative inscription is written in Greek and English on the right side.
Later, two little metal and glass boxes were attached to the top of the monument to contain memorial candles. One of these has fallen off and is kept in the studio of a sculptor who lives nearby.
To the right of the monument a separate inscribed marble plaque has been attached to the bedrock of the hillside, also after 1996. The words are taken from a letter by Regina Koen, a young Jewish girl of Kastoria, who left it for one of her Christian friends at the time of her deportation.
ΣΤΗ ΘΕΣΗ ΑΥΤΗ ΣΤΙΣ
24 ΜΑΡΤΙΟU 1944 ΟΙ ΝΑΖΙ
1000 ΕΒΡΑΙΟUΣ ΤΗΣ ΚΑΣΤΟΡΙΑΣ
ΤΟUΣ ΣΕΤΕΦΕΑΝ ΣΤΑ
IN THIS PLACE, ON THE 24TH OF
MARCH 1944, THE NAZIS
GATHERED THE 1000
JEWS OF KASTORIA
AND DEPORTED THEM TO THE
DEATH CAMPS IN AUSCHWITZ.
ONLY 35 SURVIVORS
On Regina Koen plaque, in Greek:
όταν διαβάσεις αυτά τα λόγια
δεν θα υπάρχω πια στην ζωή
θα μ’ έχει φάει η ξενιτιά
χύσε για μένα ένα δάκρυ
αν ζω ή αν πεθαίνω.
Translation: My Tasitsa, when you read these words, I will no longer be alive, I will have been eaten by foreign soil. Shed a tear for me, whether I live or die. Regina Cohen.
Municipality of Kastoria
213 cm high
25 cm thick
Regina Koen plaque (68 x 53 x 4 cm)
“There were 900 Jews in Kastoria in 1940. On March 25, 1944, 763 of them were rounded up for deportation, first to Thessaloniki and then to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Prior to their deportation, they were enclosed in an abandoned school for days, with no food or water, and the young girls were raped by German soldiers.”
[Kastoria, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum]
Thirty-five Jews survived the Holocaust in Kastoria.
The monument is set below the building of a former Jewish school where local Jews were confined and tortured before their deportation.
In 1996, the Holocaust memorial was dedicated in honor of the victims.
The monument has been desecrated several times, including in December 2018.
"Kastoria," United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, https://www.ushmm.org/information/exhibitions/online-exhibitions/special-focus/holocaust-in-greece/kastoria (accessed February 7, 2023)
"ΣΟΝΙΑΣ ΕΥΘΥΜΙΑΔΟΥ-ΠΑΠΑΣΤΑΥΡΟΥ: Ημέρα μνήμης Εφημερίδα της Καστοριάς," ODOS Newspaper of Kastoria, May 20, 2013, http://www.odos-kastoria.gr/2013/05/blog-post_20.html (accessed February 7, 2023)
Γιάννης Κορεντσίδης: «Η καρδιά μας δεν ξεχνά» [Yannis Korentsidis: "Our heart does not forget"], Fouit.gr, March 27, 2022, https://fouit.gr/2022/03/27/giannis-korentsidis-i-kardia-mas-den-xechna/ (accessed February 7, 2023)
“Jewish memorial in Kastoria desecrated,” Kathimerini, December 26, 2018, https://www.ekathimerini.com/news/236024/jewish-memorial-in-kastoria-desecrated/ (accessed February 7, 2023)