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The Jeff Malka Sephardic Collection

The Jewish Community of Salonika, 1943
from the book: Recanati, Aure. The Jewish Community of Salonika, 1943. Jerusalem, Erez, 2003.

Of Salonician origin, Aure Recanati was born in France. She survived WW II hidden in villages in France but she was unable to forget these years of deep fear and vital danger as well as the surrounding anti-Semitic hatred. She was devastated and inconsolable by the nearly total extermination of Greek Jewry and angry since the tragedy that occurred in Greece seemed to be ignored by all. By chance, she happened to participate in the July 1997 International Genealogical Conference held in Paris. At the Conference Serge Klarsfeld delivered a lecture on the deportation of the Jews of France. After the lecture during the question period , she asked him: “Is there a similar memorial book for the Jews of Greece?” No! he replied. Are there plans to prepare such a memorial book? She asked. No! was his answer. Recanati immediately decide "I'll prepare that memorial". Not finding any archival material neither in Paris nor in Saloniki, she decided to try the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. While trying to be understood, an archivist gave her microfilm rolls. They included a part of the Saloniki Community Archives taken by the Germans in Oct.1944 and seized by the Russians who kept them secret till the fall of the Berlin wall in 1989. These documents were in fact forms fulfilled by Saloniki Jews about their possession on March 1, 1943. A few days later they were sent to their death in Auschwitz. Recanati's compilation includes nearly 4,100 forms that covers some 13,500 persons. A third of the Saloniki population at the eve of the extermination. The index includes all the surnames together with their various spellings as well the number of applications for each surname and its variations.


We acknowledge the tremendous contributions and lifelong dedication of Mathilde Tagger, z"l who made this index available. For many years, and right until her untimely death, Mathilde Tagger was a very close friend and collaborator with Jeff Malka. Together they worked to promote Sephardic genealogy research and educate the public about its enormous potential. Mathilde compiled this information based upon the original source material: Klarsfeld, Serge. Mémorial de la Déportation des Juifs de France. Paris, 1978.

In addition, we express our grateful appreciation to Dr. Jeff Malka for his monumental ongoing effort to collect and make accessible Sephardic genealogical information, and for his generosity in contributing his extraordinarily valuable collection to JewishGen.

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