The presence of Jews in Corfu was first documented in the 12th Century. These were known as Romaniote Jews. In 1492, some of the Sephardic Jews who were expelled from Spain settled in Corfu. In 1494 the expelled Jews from Apulia (Italy) also made their way to Corfu and in 1589, some former “Marranos” from Portugal joined them.
During World War II when Italy surrendered to the Allies, the island was occupied by the Germans on September 27, 1943. After a period of deceptive calm, on June 8, 1944, an ordinance was passed, according to which all the Jews were to remain in their homes.
About two hundred Jews managed to escape into hiding. On the dawn of the following day, the Germans arrested all the others and deported them to Auschwitz via Athens. Out of 1900 Jews of Corfu, about 180 survived the Holocaust.
Today there are around 40 members of the Jewish community living in Corfu.
Photos by Emmanuel Santos
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