THE JEWISH COMMUNITY OF PREVEZA
The Israelite Community of Preveza was one of the newest Greek communities and was created by the settlement of Jews from the surrounding cities as well as from Thessaloniki, perhaps even before 1800. The first birth of a co-religionist mentioned in the registers of the Municipality is in 1842 and concerns Kofinas Simadov of Samuel.
In the February 1883 issue of the review published in Corfu "Moshe Andologia Israelitika" it is noted about Preveza: "A Committee was formed by Elias David, Chaim Hesi, David Zadik, David Yaakov and Elias Koulias, in order to organize the Community and make a Synagogue ".
In 1900, 3.700 Christians, 1.300 Turks, about 300 Jews and a few immigrants from Italy lived in this small town. The Jewish inhabitants of the city were Romaniotes. In 1903, the "Kaal Kados Tefilah Limose" Synagogue was built, which was dedicated to Rabbi Moshe Cohen of Ioannina, who donated the necessary amount for the purchase of the plot. (This Synagogue was demolished after 1944 and in its place there is the OTE building).
The school of the Alliance Israelite Universelle has been operating since 1908 following the great interest shown by the then director of the school in Thessaloniki, who mediated at the headquarters in Paris for the operation of a school in the Community of Preveza. Community actors also supported this initiative. The school had two classrooms for equal numbers of classes on the ground floor and an office - director's room on the first floor.
In 1911, the new professor Solomon Danon arrived from Paris in Preveza, who took over the teaching of French. The Community then numbered 85 families with approximately 160 members. The school, which was mixed over time, reached 106 students.
The Community supported the school financially by allocating from its total budget 3.000 francs, 1.500 for the school while the teacher was paid by the Alliance. It is noted that Professor Danon during the war (1912) developed a great charitable work in the Community and showed devotion, helping many Jews who were homeless and unemployed. Despite the great poverty, the work of the school continued. The school had four teachers teaching Hebrew, French and home studies.
On the eve of the Hitler persecution (1943) the Community numbered 250 members. On March 25, 1944, the Jews of the city were arrested and exterminated in the Nazi camps. Only 15 were saved, i.e. 94% of the Jewish population of Preveza was lost.
The Community ceased to exist after the war and in 1958 its formal dissolution took place. A building was erected on the site of the Jewish cemetery to house the services of the IKA. In 2001, by decision of the IKA administration, a votive marble inscription was hung at the entrance of the IKA building dedicated to the memory of the Jews who perished in the Holocaust.
In 2022, at the initiative of KISE and the cooperation of OTE Group, Cosmote and the Jewish Museum of Greece, a votive illuminated sign was placed in the building of OTE Preveza - where the Synagogue used to be - with information about the Synagogue and the history of its Jews city.