Reuven Emanuel's site
Commemorating the heritage of the
Jewish community of Veria in Greece
I decided on creating this commemorative site after several years of fruitless searching for 'My Lost Veria'. The site is the result of collecting mountains of information and material and hearing countless stories during innumerable visits to Veria. Every visit to the abandoned and crumbling old Jewish quarter makes me feel like the responsibility of preserving the memories rests on my shoulders alone …. as there is nobody else.
Very soon I concluded that the story of the Jewish community of Veria must be preserved and honoured in some way. I chose to do it through this site.
In my quest for any and every possible source of information about Veria, I discovered that Veria was seldom mentioned in official documents and even then, just in passing, and this reinforced my feeling that there is no one left to tell the story.
I set out to look for those few individuals who remain and survived that terrible war.
As I delved deeper into the project, I became more and more convinced that the situation must change before it is too late.
In publications and studies about the Holocaust and especially about the termination of the Jews of Greece, Veria is mentioned only in a few words or sometimes with a few lines. In contrast, my search revealed a rich history and an illustrious past.
My frequent visits to this very special Jewish quarter were exiting but also sad. With every recurring visit the feeling became stronger and I felt that I had to do something before everything was lost and disappeared forever from the pages of history. And so, after my already numerous visits to Veria I embarked on a new mission of searches, meetings and interviews.
The first layer was my own family history. The second layer encompasses the histories of other people and families that I managed to find and meet with and hear how they had succeeded to survive the holocaust. ( You can find all the stories in the Memories section of the site).
The recollections of the life in the community before, during and after the war, the encounter with the people and the extraordinary events, revealed to me a fascinating story of the life of a small community which is no longer.
My meetings with the people connected to the story of Veria intensified my feeling that one must do something before the last chance to document the history of this community is lost. Therefore I have decided to spend a significant part of my available time on the important work of collecting data, documents and pictures and compile the stories and memories of those who were there and prevailed through the terrible war and are thus able to tell the story of the community and raise a monument to their memory.