Kos


Kos is a Greek island in the eastern Mediterranean that belongs to the Dodecanese island group. Until 1912, the group of islands belonged to Turkey, but after the Italian-Turkish war (1911–1912), Kos (and the entire group of islands) came under Italian rule. During the second world war, Italy was initially on the side of Germany. But in line with German military adversity, Italy surrendered in September 1943. Areas that had previously been under Italian control risked being handed over to the allies. This was unacceptable from the German side and the Dodecanese islands were occupied in the autumn of 1943. Under Italian rule, the Jews of Kos (and Rhodes) did not risk being deported, but after the occupation the noose was pulled.

There were no more than 140 Jews on Kos, but they were looted and deported by sea to Athens in July 1944 along with just under 1700 Jews from Rhodes. A journey that took over a week to complete and under inhumane conditions. Kos Jews had just before the deportation was arrested and imprisoned in the courthouse down by the port of Kos town. In Athens, they were put in the Chaidari concentration camp before being deported by train to Auschwitz in early August. A trip that took about two weeks and where the majority were murdered shortly after arrival. Only one Jew from Kos survived the war.

Current status: Preserved (2017).

Location: 36° 53'41" N 27° 17'30" E

Get there: Walk from central Kos town

My comment:

The court is still there and there is also the police authority, but a memorial plaque is known to me not set. However, there is a memorial plaque at the synagogue in memory of the Jewish community that existed on Kos from the 1500s to 1944 when the last Jews were deported. The synagogue is now only used for cultural purposes. About two kilometers west of Kos town there is a Jewish cemetery that dates back to the 1700s. The cemetery is a bit dilapidated and locked, but inside there is a memorial dedicated to the Jews from Kos who died in the Holocaust.

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