ISRAELI COMMUNITIES OF NEAS ORESTIADS & SOUFLIOU
The Community of Nea Orestiada was established in 1923 and at that time was the smallest in Greece. The Israelite Community was founded in this then new Greek city - formerly "Karagats" - which was created after the Lausanne agreement. The city is located near the Greek-Turkish border. At that time, about 20 Jewish families settled in the area and formed the Jewish Community with their own Synagogue and rabbi.
The presence of the Jews in the sensitive area of the border provoked the reactions of the residents, as a result of which the prominent people of the area made continuous reports to the Greek authorities requesting the removal of the Jews. The main reason for the residents' reactions was commercial competition. On 7.8.1925 the Prefect sent a relevant document to the Governor of Macedonia in which, among other things, he states that:
"The Israelis, as having greater financial capital, managed to concentrate in their hands, the greater part of the commercial movement, removing a very important resource of life from the expatriate refugee bio-wrestlers".
But the Jews had been settled for decades in the old town of "Karagats" where they lived peacefully with their fellow residents.
In 1925 the Community consisted of 28 families, 59 men and 41 women, fifteen of these families lived in private houses, and were engaged in handicrafts and trade.
Rabbi Abraham Yosef Farin officiated at the Synagogue.
In 1943 the Community numbered 197 members. On the night of March 3, 1943, the Germans arrested them all and via Thessaloniki sent them to the death camps where they were exterminated. Only three were saved. After the total destruction of the Community, today there are no Jews there.
The neighboring town of Soufli was created in the middle of the Turkish occupation (1600-1700) under the name "Sufulu". In the 19th century the city evolved into an urban center thanks to the railway transport. The Jews who settled there engaged in trade and the silk industry. Their names were the factories of the Tsivre brothers and Pepo-Azaria. Because of their small numbers, the Jews did not constitute a Community. During the Nazi persecution, 32 were arrested and exterminated in the Nazi camps. Since then there has been no Jew there.