Εβραϊκό Μουσείο Θεσσαλονίκης
- Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki
- Evraiko Mouseio Thessalonikis
The Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki was founded in 2001 with the aim to collect documents and heirlooms that had not been destroyed during the Holocaust. The main mission of the Museum is to preserve the memory of the victims of the Holocaust, as well as to encourage the research on the Jewish presence in Thessaloniki for more than 2000 years. The main collections include tombstones from the destroyed Jewish Cemetery, building members from destroyed synagogues and family heirlooms that were donated to the Museum and cover all the aspects of everyday and religious life, before, during and after the Holocaust. Since 2001, the Museum has evolved as an archival institution, holding a significant amount of paper and digital records concerning the economic, social and family life of Salonican Jews.
The Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki was founded to honour the rich and creative Sephardic heritage as it evolved in the city after the 15th century. Consequent to the horrible expulsion from Spain by Ferdinand and Isabella in 1492, Jews began to arrive in the safe haven of the city in big numbers bringing with them an awareness of Renaissance culture and languages of the Western Mediterranean.
The Museum is housed in one of the rare Jewish buildings in the city centre that survived the fire of 1917. The building belongs to the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki since it was erected, in 1904. It was originally built to house business activities and has housed the Bank of Athens and the Jewish newspaper "L' Independent". The building was renovated between 1997-2000 and 2016-2019. Today the Museum occupies approximately 1.000 square meters instead of the 500 sq. m. it used to occupy since its opening, in 2001.That means that the space available for exhibitions has doubled and that the permanent exhibits have been updated up to 80%.
The archival holdings of the Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki cover the 20th century, mainly. The holdings are divided into five main categories. The following division was created empirically, regarding that the Museum evolved gradually over time as an archival institution.
- Paper records: All paper records are catalogued. Someone can find communal archives (Thessaloniki, Kavala), archives of business activities, archives of maps and plans and private collections.
- Photo Archive: The photo archive was created from donations by Jewish families and covers multiple aspects of Jewish life in Thessaloniki. It consists of two main units: the pre-war and the after-war archive. The archive is catalogued and can be accessed digitally in the JMTH Library.
- Music Archive: The creation of a music archive is the main aim of JMTH during 2020-2022. It consists of interviews, recordings and professional performances of some selected songs.
- Digital Archives: The digital archives of JMTH include databases accessible through the JMTH library, as well as databases with open access to the public.
- Newspapers and Library: JMTH holds a collection of Jewish newspapers, as well as some copies of collaborationist press during the Occupation in Thessaloniki. The Library holds a collection of books regarding the history of Thessaloniki, of Jews, of Israel and of Judaism. Also, the Library provides access to the Visual History Archive University of Southern California Shoah Foundation Institute, a collection of interviews of Holocaust survivors.
Monday-Friday: 09:00-14:00, Wednesday: 09:00-14:00 & 17:00-20:00, Sunday: 10:00-14:00. The Museum is closed on Saturdays and on public and religious holidays
A research and documentation center operates within the premises, which aims to document and digitize archival documents from the Museum's own collection as well as archival material from other sources, thus creating a database accessible to visitors. The library houses important texts that were printed in Thessaloniki from the 16th to the 20th century, covering almost every aspect of Jewish life, religious and secular. The library acts also as a repository for books on the history, customs and language of the Sephardi Jews. Adjacent to it is an audio-visual centre, in which visitors will be able to watch and research tapes and films documenting Jewish history -especially on the Holocaust.
There are charges for photocopying/digital output. Services free of charge: entry to the reading room; use of finding aids/catalogues/computers; assistance from staff. Some archival holdings have been digitized and are available for viewing and printing. Any copies that a researcher purchases are for personal use only. Copyright permission must be sought for further reproduction or publication.
Information provided by Evanghelos Chekimoglou