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Corfu Jewish Private Tour
Your guide will introduce you to the history of the Jewish community of Corfu Island, take you through the Jewish Quarter and then to the Corfu Synagogue.
This tour includes:
- Professional English speaking licenced tour guide
- Hotel pick up and drop off (Transportation from your resort is included in the price for resorts that are in radius of 25 km from centre of Corfu town. If you are staying in remote resorts please contact us for additional transfer rates.)
- Visit to ‘Jewish Quarter’ and the Synagogue in Corfu Town
- Visit Kanoni and view of Mouse island
- Free time for shopping and/or dining in Corfu Town
A half day tour that was created for those interested in the history and culture of the Jewish community on Corfu. You will visit the Jewish Quarter, ‘Evraiki and the beautiful Scuola Greca Synagogue, considered one of the finest in Greece and the only one that remained after Allied bombing during WW2. At the end of the tour, you will have time to explore Corfu Town, to shop or to dine.
For more than 800 years the Jewish people have lived on the island and by the late 19th century the community was around 5000, living in and around Corfu Town.
Their presence was first documented in 1160 by Rabbi Benjamin Ben Yonah who wrote that during his visit to the island he had met a dyer named Joseph. During the following century, the community grew when Romaniote Jews from the Mainland or Anatolia settled, however, they were treated badly by the Corfiots. In 1272 the Island was conquered by the House of Anjou and was given to Philip 1 of Taranto. His policies were protective of the Jews; Shabbat, the Sabbath, was to be respected, Jews were no longer required to act a public executioners or forced to labour in the galley ships. These laws remained until the island was seized by the Venetians in 1368.
The Venetians were much harsher and by 1406 a ghetto had been established and Jews were required to wear a yellow badge.
By the end of the century persecuted Jews from Italy, Spain and Portugal arrived. By 1577, 400 Jews were living on Corfu, mostly in the ‘Ovreonvouni’ area. The community continued to grow and flourish under the French (1797 – 1815) and despite the draconian laws enforced by the British (1815 – 1863), by 1831 some 4000 Jews lived and worked on Corfu.
In 1941 Corfu was under Italian occupation once again, and the Greek Christians were treated no better than the Jews. By 1943 the Germans controlled Corfu and in June 1944 the Jews were arrested without warning. Of the 2000 strong community, only 200 were able to avoid arrest, by finding refuge with the Christians in the villages around Corfu Town. Those who were arrested were sent to Auschwitz; for the majority their lives ended there. The survivors who returned after liberation rebuilt their community. In their honour, a street was named for them, ‘Evarion Thymaton Nazismou’, Jewish Victims of Nazism. Today the community has around 65 people.