THE JEWISH COMMUNITY OF ALEXANDROUPOLIS
Alexandroupolis is one of the newest cities in the region. Its original name was Dedeagats. It was founded in 1850 after the construction of the railway line connecting Europe to Anatolia and served as a junction. Shortly afterwards a large number of people settled around the railway station. This number increased due to the advantageous position of the new city.
People from different religious and ethnic groups of the Ottoman Empire came to live in the settlement. This is why the city, until today, has an Armenian church and community. It also has the only Roman Catholic community (nowadays dying out) in the entire region. Naturally, the Jews who emigrated to the city, being amongst the most hard-working groups in the modern Greek state, developed a significant enterprising activity.
So, a small Jewish Community was formed, but dwindled after the Asia Minor War of 1922. A Synagogue was located on modern day Mazaraki Street. Later on, after the annulment of the Community the building was used as a Christian Home.
The members of the Community were involved in trade (especially in the traditional branches of textiles and glass) and some were money-changers. Jewish names such as Reitan, Mois, Matalon, Geron, Hatem, Baloul were amongst the old families of Alexandroupolis.
In the early and tragic 1940's Alexandroupolis had about 150 Jews.
On the night of March 3, 1943, the Jews of Alexandroupolis and their fellow-Jews from all regions of Thrace and Eastern Macedonia were arrested by the German and Bulgarian Occupation Authorities and were deported to the Nazi death camps, where they were exterminated. Only 4 Jews of Alexandroupolis survived the Holocaust.