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commemorating the jews of salonika

The World Jewish Congress held a special meeting of its Executive Committee in Thessaloniki in March 2013, to coincide with a series of events marking the 70th anniversary of the first deportation of Thessaloniki Jews to Auschwitz.

Prior to the Nazi occupation, 77,000 Jews lived in Greece, organized within 25 different communities. The largest of them was in Salonika, with its 56,000 Jews, most of them descendants of those expelled from Spain in 1492. Salonika, which knew occupation, epidemics, fires and famines, had been a veritable empire of rare cosmopolitan experience, with a lively culture of tolerance, and it had served as a Ladino-speaking Jewish center for 450 years.