The Circle of Life

The Jewish identity is kept alive through specific customs pertaining to the three most important milestones in the lives of people in the community; marriage, birth and death. The Romaniote Jews of Ioannina maintained the demographic balance of their community by upholding strict customs regarding intermarriage which also applied to nearby communities like those of … Read more

Jewish Holidays

Shabbat Observance of the Sabbath day is one of the most fundamental requirements of Judaism. The Sabbath day is devoted to prayer, study of the Law and abstinence from any form of productive work. Every Friday afternoon the town crier walked through the Jewish neighbourhoods in Ioannina announcing the Time of the Sabbath. Jewish shops … Read more

Eye-witness account of Rosa Isaacs

Testimony of Rosa Isaacs  By Michal Udler  Foreword The testimony before you was given by Rosa, my mother, to her granddaughter, Michal, my daughter in 1993 when Michal was 15 years old. It has taken me another 15 years to translate it despite requests from family and friends. This past December, I summoned up what … Read more

The Holocaust in Ioannina

At the beginning of World War II, the Jewish community of Ioannina numbered about 2,000. Most were small business owners. Many were poor. Families were large and patriarchal: marriages were arranged. The community was conservative in nature and religiously observant. Their daily life revolved around their synagogues and the Jewish religion. There was little upward … Read more

Museum of National Resistance

The Museum of National Resistance showcases items and documents of the Greek Revolution and the fight against the German-Italian occupation. It is placed in an annex of the mosque and built in the end of the 18th century. Ioannina, Papandreou Square, open Monday to Friday from 9:30-12:30 am, Information under: (+30) 2651037644

Kahal Kadosh Yashan Synagogue

The Kahal Kadosh Yashan Synagogue on Justinianos Street is located inside the walled Castro, near the Big Gate. The original structure of the synagogue probably dates to the Byzantine period. It is not clear whether it was constructed on the site of an earlier synagogue or if it is the first official house of worship … Read more

Holocaust Memorial

The memorial remembering the deported Jews of Ioannina was built in 1994 and is placed opposite one of the gates of the castle. It is made of symbolic metallic torah rolls. The information board next to it remembers the “1.850 jewish Cohabitants” that were arrested on the 25th of march 1944 and murdered in concentration … Read more

Language and Education

While Hebrew remained the language of religious observation and was also a unifying factor for the Jews of the Diaspora, local communities used the language of the country they lived in, embellishing it with Hebrew words and phrases. Romaniote Jews had, for the greater part, been familiar with Greek since Hellenistic times and this helped … Read more

Community Institutions

As in all Jewish communities, the strict internal organisation of the Romaniote Community of Ioannina guaranteed its smooth running, especially when under the Ottoman Empire. The rabbi, who bore the title Marbitz Torah from the 16th century, was both the religious and administrative leader. He was chosen for his wisdom and sound judgement and there … Read more