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Obj. ID: 44839
Jewish Architecture
  Holocaust memorial plaque in Serres, Greece, 2000

© Samuel D. Gruber, Photographer: Gruber, Samuel D., 2022

Who is Commemorated?

476 members of the Jewish community of Serres killed in the Holocaust

Description

Through a gate from the street and across a courtyard, one can see a plaque affixed to the right of the door to the school. The marble plaque is inscribed, and the seal of the town (the river-god Strymon) is attached to the left of the inscription.

Inscriptions 

ΔΗΜΟΣ ΣΕΡΡΩΝ
Ο ΔΗΜΑΡΧΟΣ ΣΕΡΡΑΙΩΝ             Κ. ΖΗΣΗΣ ΜΗΤΛΙΑΓΚΑΣ
ΚΑΙ ΤΟ ΔΗΜΟΤΙΚΟ ΣΥΜΒΟΥΛΙΟ ΤΟΥ
ΔΗΜΟΥ ΣΕΡΡΩΝ
ΜΕ ΑΥΤΗ ΤΗΝ ΕΠΙΓΡΑΦΗ ΠΑΡΑΔΙΔΟΥΝ
ΣΤΗΝ ΠΑΓΚΟΣΜΙΑ ΜΝΗΜΗ
ΤΗΝ ΑΔΙΚΗ ΚΑΙ ΑΠΑΝΘΡΩΠΗ ΕΞΟΝΤΩΣΗ
ΣΤΙΣ 3 – 4 ΜΑΡΤΙΟΥ ΤΟΥ 1943
ΤΗΣ ΑΚΜΑΙΑ ΚΟΙΝΟΤΗΤΑΣ ΤΩΝ
ΕΛΛΗΝΟΕΒΡΑΙΩΝ ΣΕΡΡΑΙΩΝ ΔΗΜΟΤΩΝ
ΑΠΟ ΤΑ ΦΑΣΙΣΤΙΚΑ ΒΟΥΛΓΑΡΙΚΑ ΣΤΡΑΤΕΥΜΑΤΑ ΚΑΤΟΧΗΣ
ΣΕΡΡΕΣ   5 -3- 2000

Translation: The Municipality of Serres, the mayor of Serres, Mr. Zissis Mitliagkas, and its municipal council [of the] Municipality of Serres, deliver with this inscription, in the world's memory, the unjust and inhuman extermination on 3rd and 4th March 1943, of the prosperous Greek-Jewish community of Serres by the fascist Bulgarian occupation troops.

 On a roundel is relief carving of a Greek head with the inscription:

 ΣΤΡΥΜΩΝ

Translation: Strymon [name of ancient Thracian river-god and river, also called Struma or Strymónas River]

Commissioned by

Municipality of Serres

Summary and Remarks

16 image(s)

sub-set tree:

Name/Title
Holocaust memorial in Serres | Unknown
Object Detail
on the wall of the former Jewish school
Monument Setting
Date
2000
Synagogue active dates
Reconstruction dates
Artist/ Maker
Origin
Historical Origin
Unknown
Community type
Unknown |
Congregation
Unknown
Location
Greece | Central Macedonia Region | Serres (Σέρρες)
| 15th Kindergarten of Serres (15ο Νηπιαγωγείο Σερρών) 45 Ath. Argyrou (Αθανασίου Αργυρού 45)
Site
Unknown
School/Style
Unknown|
Period
Unknown
Period Detail
Collection
Unknown |
Documentation / Research project
Unknown
Iconographical Subject
H | Human Figure | Human head
| river-god Strymon
Textual Content
Languages of inscription
Type of grave
Unknown
Material/Technique
marble
Material Stucture
Material Decoration
Material Bonding
Material Inscription
Material Additions
Material Cloth
Material Lining
Tesserae Arrangement
Density
Colors
Construction material
Measurements
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Length
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Weight
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Condition
Extant
Documented by CJA
Surveyed by CJA
Present Usage
Present Usage Details
Condition of Building Fabric
Architectural Significance type
Historical significance: Event/Period
Historical significance: Collective Memory/Folklore
Historical significance: Person
Architectural Significance: Style
Architectural Significance: Artistic Decoration
Urban significance
Significance Rating
0
Ornamentation
Custom
Contents
Codicology
Scribes
Script
Number of Lines
Ruling
Pricking
Quires
Catchwords
Hebrew Numeration
Blank Leaves
Direction/Location
Façade (main)
Endivances
Location of Torah Ark
Location of Apse
Location of Niche
Location of Reader's Desk
Location of Platform
Temp: Architecture Axis
Arrangement of Seats
Location of Women's Section
Direction Prayer
Direction Toward Jerusalem
Coin
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Signature
Colophon
Scribal Notes
Watermark
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Group
Group
Group
Group
Trade Mark
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Suggested Reconsdivuction
History/Provenance

The Jewish community of Serres dates at least from the Middle Ages. Benjamin of Tudela noted in the 12th century the existence of a Greek-speaking Romaniote community. By the late 15th century Sephardic Jews settled in Serres and eventually absorbed the old Romaniote community. The Jewish population reached about 1800 by the turn of the 20th century and Jews had built the Great Synagogue (Kahal Gadol), a rabbinical library, a religious school, and a primary school. The synagogue was destroyed along with much of the town during the Balkan Wards (1912-13). But Jews were saved by Jews serving in the Bulgarian army.  Before the Second World War, The Jewish population of Serres had fallen to about 600 people. They were mostly tobacco workers, shop owners, tobacco merchants, businessmen, and their families.

In 1941, Bulgarian occupying forces pressured the Jewish community to collaborate against the Greeks and to sign statements about the advantages of Bulgarian rule over Greek rule, but the Jews refused. In February 1942, the Bulgarians issued anti-Jewish regulations forbidding Jews to work in commerce, and compelling Jews to designate their homes and businesses as Jewish-owned. Jews began to flee the city, until on March 3, 1943, the Bulgarian occupying army arrested the town’s Jews and imprisoned them in a tobacco warehouse. A few days later, Serres’s Jewish community was deported to Bulgaria, and then to their deaths at Treblinka. Only 3 Jews survived the Holocaust.

The Jewish quarter of Serres was in the area around today’s Argyrou University. At its center were the synagogue and the Jewish school. Today, the only physical reminder of the Jewish community is the school, which shared a courtyard with the synagogue. The surviving building is owned by the Jewish Community of Greece which has granted it to be used as a primary school for the Municipality of Serres. It now serves as the 15th, 25th & 26th Kindergarten of Serres, but it is still sometimes referred to as “The Jewish School.”

The plaque was unveiled on March 5, 2000, by the Municipality of Serres.  The Municipality also passed a resolution declaring March 4th as an Annual Memorial Day for the Jews of Serres.

Main Surveys & Excavations
Sources

Kone, Loise and Roula Kone, Jewish-Greek Communities: little Beloved Homes (Volos: The Ladies of the Jewish Community of Volos, 2006)

"Serrai," Encyclopaedia Judaica, https://www.encyclopedia.com (accessed November 29, 2022)

“Serres,” Jewish Museum of Greece webpage , https://www.jewishmuseum.gr/en/serres/ (accessed November 29, 2022)

“Η ΙΣΤΟΡΙΑ ΤΟΥ ΣΧΟΛΕΙΟΥ ΜΑΣ,” (https://15nip-serron.ser.sch.gr/)

Type
Documenter
Samuel D. Gruber | May 24, 2022
Author of description
Samuel D. Gruber | 2022
Architectural Drawings
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Computer Reconstruction
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Section Head
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Language Editor
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Donor
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Negative/Photo. No.
The following information on this monument will be completed: