Corfu


This Greek island in the Ionian sea off the northwest coast of Greece and a stone’s throw from Albania had when the second world war broke a Jewish population of about 2000. The Jews originated from Greece, Italy and the Iberian peninsula, so-called sephardic jews. When Germany invaded Greece in April 1941, Corfu fell under Italian rule. Italy did not cooperate with the Germans in the so-called Jewish question, so therefore the Jews in Corfu did not have to fear for their lives. This did not mean that they were not subject to anti-Jewish measures, but they did not risk being extradited to the Germans and with all that would entail. When Italy withdrew from the war in September 1943, the Germans occupied areas previously controlled by Italy. The Jews of Corfu were placed under German control.

The Germans immediately introduced anti-Jewish laws that deprived the Jews of their legal, economic and political rights, but so far it was not necessary to deport them. This changed in early June 1944 when the germans decided to deport jews from the greek archipelago to eastern europe. German and Greek police conducted raids around Corfu and arrested a total of about 1,800 Jews. These Jews were taken to the old fort in Corfu town and imprisoned. About 200 Jews escaped arrest because they found shelter in Christian families. On June 10, 1944, the Jews were first deported by sea to Athens and then by train to Auschwitz, where they arrived at the end of June. Almost all Jews were murdered in the gas chamber.

Current status: Preserved with monument (2018).

Location: 39°37'31.13"N 19°55'06.38"E (monument).

Get there: Walk from central Corfu town.

My comment:

The old fort remains and is one of Corfu’s most visited tourist destinations but nothing is mentioned in the events of June 1944 and where the Jews were imprisoned I do not know. The fort was also used to record scenes for the James Bond film From a Mortal Point of View (1981). In the old Jewish quarter below the new fort there is a memorial memorial in memory of Corfu’s jews who were murdered during the war. There is also a synagogue (La Scuola Greca) left in the neighborhood. But of what was once an active Jewish quarter, nothing remains and the Jews in Corfu in 2018 amounts to no more than about 80.

Follow up in books: Gilberg, Martin: Holocaust: A History of the Jews of Europe During the Second World War (1987).