Salonica, City of Ghosts: Christians, Muslims and Jews 1430-1950
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Salonica, located in northern Greece, was long a fascinating crossroads metropolis of different religions and ethnicities, where Egyptian merchants, Spanish Jews, Orthodox Greeks, Sufi dervishes, and Albanian brigands all rubbed shoulders. Tensions sometimes flared, but tolerance largely prevailed until the twentieth century when the Greek army marched in, Muslims were forced out, and the Nazis deported and killed the Jews. As the acclaimed historian Mark Mazower follows the city’s inhabitants through plague, invasion, famine, and the disastrous twentieth century, he resurrects a fascinating and vanished world.
advertised Mallah Frères at number 78. Further along were military outfitters, boot-makers, confectioners, fur shops, Molho’s bookshop, stationers and money-changers. In 1907 the Fils de Mustafa Ibrahim opened Au Louvre, a large store which sold chandeliers, large brass and copper lamps and other adornments for the home. At its upper end, Rue Sabri Pasha was covered by a traditional wooden canopy but lower down this ended, the road opened out and one came to Salonica’s first department stores,
more fundamental social chasms opened up, between the rich and the poor, between factory-owners and workers. In the days of the old, walled city, rich and poor had lived as neighbours, sharing membership of congregations, and suffering Salonica’s misfortunes together. But after 1880, as it expanded, they grew further apart.37 12 The Macedonia Question, 1878–1908 CATEGORIES TRUSTING IN CAPITALISM and the prestige of the sultan to create common interests and allegiances, the leaders of
he called “the city of the wretched and the miserable” extended into the heart of the fire zone, where next to “the city of magnificent apartment buildings” more than 2000 people still shivered through icy winters in makeshift shacks—“piteous, ramshackle constructions made out of corrugated iron sheets, mud-bricks and cheap materials of any kind.” Out to the east, the suburb of Kalamaria, home to 20,000 refugees, was sandwiched between the middle-class villas which lined the shore and the “truly
century to house Ashkenazi refugees from Tsarist pogroms. Wooden fences went up around its perimeter and left it with only three tightly guarded exits—two onto adjacent roads and the third leading directly to the station. Without warning, its impoverished inhabitants were cut off from the world, and went two days without food before the community managed to organize a soup ration for them. Brunner’s idea was that once its original inhabitants had been deported, it would become the transit camp
changed in people’s minds. The age of mass migrations began, waves of refugees came and went, and the dead who stayed behind suddenly became just another target for the living whose political passions and enmities brought them humiliation, desecration and eviction. In Salonica, it was not only the Jewish dead who were treated as though they were less valuable than the land they occupied and the slabs that covered them. The city’s Muslim and Ma’min graveyards had already vanished under new roads