Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki
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Jewish customs form a critical aspect of the culture of Thessaloniki. Inside the remarkable building of the Jewish Museum, one can find everything related to a large population and become familiar with their practices, culture, and characteristics through a thrilling exhibition.

History of the Museum

The jewish community has been in Thessaloniki since the 15th century. Subsequently, sephardic jews, who were expelled from Spain, arrived in a safer city, carrying beneficial capabilities for the ottomans in the areas of cartography, printing, medical sciences, and weapons. The Jewish Museum in Thessaloniki was launched in 2001. The grand opening happened in the presence of the minister of culture of Greece. The objective of the museum is to gather possessions that were not ruined during the Holocaust, to save the memory of its victims, and to examine the centuries-old presence of jews in Thessaloniki. The concept of creating the display emerged in 1994 with Andreas Sefich, president of the city’s jewish community.

Building of the Museum

This neoclassical edifice, constructed in 1904 and designed by the italian architect Vitaliano Poselli, was one of the numerous retail galleries in the city center. Within the building from 1906 to 1925 were housed the Bank of Athens and the publishing office of a french newspaper, which lasted until 1941. The building was one of the few constructions in Thessaloniki that survived the fire of 1917. From 1998 to 2003, the renovation of the historic building continued, and today it is owned by the jewish community.


Thousands of artifacts from various periods constitute the permanent exhibit. It is arranged in thematic sections:

  • «jewish necropolis» presents grand gravestones and inscriptions unearthed in a grand jewish necropolis outside the city’s boundaries. The display is supplemented with a series of images that portray the burial ground in the year 1914. During the ottoman reign, the Thessaloniki jewish cemetery was the biggest. Unfortunately, the nazis demolished it during the war.
  • This display of photographs presents a pictorial record of jewish life in Thessaloniki from the city’s founding up until WWII. Here, you can observe pictures of roman, byzantine, and ottoman times, pictures from the 1912 liberation, and wartime photographs.
  • A whole hall is devoted to the darkest moment of jewish history, the Holocaust. During these tragic years, 50,000 jews were transported from Thessaloniki to concentration camps in Germany and Poland, the majority of whom perished. The exhibition also features personal items of the holocaust victims and accompanying pictures.
  • "Every day existence" is one of the most fascinating display of the gallery. Here you can become familiar with the lifestyle of the normal members of the jewish people: about the rituals of wedlock, sacred celebrations, and a conventional jewish home. Apparel, domestic objects, and dishes are presented;
  • «Jewish lifestyle and celebrations» is a presentation where you can find out more about rabbis, Hanukkah, and Purim. Among the displays are items of sacred veneration;
  • This exhibition, «economic life», is devoted to artisans, the textile industry, vendors, and the affluent of the town.
  • The show, «social life», provides insight into the evolving role of women in the community, their potential to work alongside men with no distinction, the political engagements of jews, and the charitable agencies that stepped in to give aid subsequent to the fire of 1917.
  • The «personalities» display showcases the accomplishments and lives of the most renowned jews from Thessaloniki.

In the jewish museum, there is an extensive library with significant texts printed and published in Thessaloniki from the 16th to the 20th century, which cover almost all facets of both sacred and secular life. This library is also a depository for books about the history, practices and language of sephardic jews. Alongside it is an audiovisual centre where visitors can view documentaries on jewish cultural and historical heritage.

The museum, situated close to some renowned spots like Aristotle square (700 m), st. Sophia church (1.5 km), Museum of Photography (800 m), can be accessed on foot in five minutes from the Thessaloniki embankment.


 Aside from the permanent exhibition, it is worth visiting for its cultural events, such as book presentations and temporary exhibitions.