Jewish Families on the Brink of War

Suddenly the Skies Darkened

Wedding in Thessaloniki

On 15 February 1939, Lazar-Eliezer Kasorla and Karolina Daniel got married in Thessaloniki, surrounded by family members. Less than five years later, the bride, groom and most of the wedding guests were murdered at Auschwitz.

Avraham Kasorla and his wife Rachel née Išah, lived in Thessaloniki, having moved there with their three children, Yehoshua, Lazar and Luna from Monastir (Bitola) due to financial difficulties.  In 1915, their son Shlomo was born.  Avraham was a textile tradesman who travelled around Greece selling his wares.  He died two years after Shlomo's birth, and Rachel was left to support the family and bring up the four children.

Luna married Chaim Mattia in Thessaloniki, and they immigrated to Eretz Israel (Mandatory Palestine) in 1935. Lazar and Karolina got married in 1939, and they had two sons, Betti-Avraham and Josef.  Lazar had a shoestore in town.  Yehoshua Kasorla got married and then divorced, and he had one son. He was a shoemaker, and helped his mother to support the family.  In 1939, Shlomo enlisted to the Greek Army.  He was engaged at the time, but his fiancée, whose name is unknown, was later murdered in Auschwitz.

In spring 1941, Italian forces commissioned by Nazi Germany invaded Greece.  Fighting in the ranks of the Greek Army, Shlomo was taken captive by the Italians.  After more than a year in prison, he was released and joined the partisans.

Karolina's father Josef Daniel was a mechanic in Thessaloniki.  He and his wife Miriam née Attas had nine children.  Their eldest, Esteria, was born in 1903, followed by Liza, Bella, Anna-Chana, Karolina, Rivka, Jana, Leon and Jacques.

Esteria married Vital Uziel, an electrician.  They lived in Thessaloniki and they had five children: Tamar, Suzanne, Sammy, Lola and Yitzhak.  Liza married Shmuel Peis, and the couple moved to Paris, where they had two daughters.  In 1929, Bella married Shaul Joshfat (Yehoshafat) in Thessaloniki and they had two children, Rafi and Pnina.  Shaul had a winery and owned a tavern.  Anna married Binyamin Joshfat, a mechanic and Shaul's brother, and they had two children: Miriam and Polina.  Rivka married Josef Malach, a wagon driver.  Jana married Jakob (family name unknown) from Thessaloniki. Leon married Perla, and Jacques was single. 

On 9 April 1941, Thessaloniki was occupied by the Germans, and the city's Jews were subjected to anti-Jewish decrees, forced labor, humiliation and abuse. In the spring of 1943, the deportations from Thessaloniki to Auschwitz began.  The deportees included members of the Kasorla and Daniel families.  Yehoshua Kasorla and his brother Lazar were taken to forced labor camps in Greece.  Lazar's wife Karolina and her young children Betti-Avraham and Josef were deported to their deaths in Auschwitz in late April.  Some three months later, it would appear that Lazar was deported too.

After fighting in the ranks of the partisans, Shlomo Kasorla was caught with several comrades and imprisoned in a German labor camp.  After the liberation, he returned to Thessaloniki to search for his family and fiancée.  No one had returned.  He met Lora Manoah, an Auschwitz survivor who had lost her entire family.  They got married in December 1945 in Thessaloniki and decided to immigrate to Eretz Israel to be reunited with their sole relative, Shlomo's sister Luna.  In 1946, Shlomo and Lora reached Eretz Israel on the "Haviva Reik" ship, and settled in Ashdod.

Bella and Shaul Joshfat and their children escaped from Thessaloniki and wandered from place to place.  They reached Italy, returned to Greece, moved to Bulgaria, and in 1944 they reached an immigrants' camp in Haifa via Turkey.

In 1957, Bella Joshfat submitted Pages of Testimony to Yad Vashem in memory of her sister Karolina Kasorla, her brother-in-law Lazar Kasorla, her parents, her siblings, her nieces and nephews, and other relatives.  In 1997, Bella's daughter Pnina Stein submitted pages of Testimony in memory of her cousins Betti-Avraham and Josef, Lazar and Karolina's children, and other relatives. In 2009 Chana Aizik, daughter of Lora and Shlomo, donated family photographs to Yad Vashem, including the wedding photo displayed here.