This Greek island in the Ionian sea off the northwest coast of Greece and close to Albania had a Jewish population of about 2000 at the outbreak of Second World War. 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 Jewish matters and Jews on Corfu did not have to fear for their lives as long as they were under italian rule. This did not mean that they were not subject to anti-Jewish measures, but they did not risk being extradited to the Germans and the risk of being deported to extermiantion camps. When Italy withdrew from the war in September 1943, Germany occupied areas previously controlled by Italy, including Corfu, and Corfu’s Jews came under German control.

The Germans immediately introduced anti-Jewish laws depriving the Jews their legal, economic and political rights, but so far the germans didn’t plan 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 round-ups on 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 about the events in June 1944, and where the Jews were imprisoned, I do not know. The fort was also used to film scenes for the James Bond film, For Your Eyes Only (1981). In the old Jewish quarter below the new fort there is a monument commemorating the Jews of Corfu murdered during the war. There is also a synagogue (La Scuola Greca) in the area. What once was an active Jewish quarter, nothing remains and the Jews in Corfu in 2018 amounts 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).