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Visiting Info
Opening Hours:

Sunday to Thursday: ‬09:00-17:00

Fridays and Holiday eves: ‬09:00-14:00

Yad Vashem is closed on Saturdays and all Jewish Holidays.

Entrance to the Holocaust History Museum is not permitted for children under the age of 10. Babies in strollers or carriers will not be permitted to enter.

Drive to Yad Vashem:
For more Visiting Information click here

The History of the Ioannina Jewish Community

The Jewish community of Ioannina, one of the oldest Jewish communities in Greece, was the largest Jewish community where the Jews spoke Greek and not Ladino. This community expanded under both Ottoman and Greek rule. On the eve of World War II, the community numbered some 5,000 Jews. Most of the Jews in Ioannina were religious, and the community included Zionists, merchants, philanthropists, scholars, intellectuals and public activists.

Many of the city’s Jews emigrated immediately before the Holocaust, primarily to Eretz Israel (Mandatory Palestine) and the United States. The Jewish community was severely affected when the Nazi occupation began in September 1943, and thousands of Jews escaped to the south of Greece. In March 1944, the rest of the Jews in Ioannina, some two thousand people, were deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Nearly all of them were murdered. After the Holocaust only some 160 Jews returned to Ioannina.

This is the story of the Jewish community of Ioannina.

The market square in Ioannina, Greece, prewar

The Jewish Community of Ioannina before the Holocaust

Ioannina was the capital of the administrative region Epirus in northwestern Greece, and one of the country's oldest cities. The Jewish community comprised Romaniote Jews and was Greek-speaking – as opposed to the Jews of Thessaloniki and Larissa, who spoke Ladino. Legend has it that the first Jews settled in Ioannina as early as the reign of Alexander the Great in the fourth century BC, or after the destruction of the Second Temple in the first century AD. However, the first written sources documenting the presence of Jews in the city date back to the 14th century.
The Salomoni extended family in June 1943, prior to the deportation of Ioannina's Jews to the extermination camps.

The Italian Occupation of Ioannina during World War II

In October 1940, on the eve of the war between Greece and Italy, Jews from Ioannina were recruited into the Greek Army. The Jewish recruits from Ioannina were among the first Greek soldiers on the Albanian front, which had been taken by Italy a year and a half earlier. Five Jews from Ioannina were killed in action, and many others were wounded. A number of Jewish soldiers from Ioannina reached high-ranking positions in the Greek Army.
Jews of Ioannina during the Holocaust: Occupation, Deportation and Destruction of the Community

Jews of Ioannina during the Holocaust: Occupation, Deportation and Destruction of the Community

On 8 September 1943, Italy surrendered to the Allies and control of Ioannina passed into German hands. On 22 September General Jürgen Stroop, the commander of the SS division that had suppressed the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, was appointed Head of the Greek police. Jews were ordered to register or face execution. A curfew was declared in Ioannina between 5:00 PM and 7:00 AM each day, and Jews were forced to provide the Germans with food and equipment.