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History of Salonika Jews: Nehama J. Histoire des Israelites de Salonique
Thessaloniki: 1936-1978. 7 vols.
Introduction by Mathilde Tagger

The first 5 volumes of the monumental work "Histoire des Israelites de Salonique" by Joseph Nehama (1880-1971) were published between 1935 and 1939. They cover the period from the beginning of the Romaniote settlement in Salonika through the Sabbatean outbreak (1669). The manuscripts of the sixth and seventh volumes were ready in 1940, but were not yet proofread or revised. Because of the war, the author had to stop his writing. On the eve of the Nazi occupation of Salonika, Joseph Nehama fled to Athens but, unfortunately, was caught there in 1944 and sent to the death camp of Bergen-Belsen. Nehama survived the horror. After the extermination of more than 90% of the Ladino speaking community of Salonika, he had a unique concern: to publish a full dictionary of the Judeo-Spanish language. He succeeded. The dictionary was published in 1968. In the meantime, he continued to work on his historical manuscripts, completing and revising them. Joseph Nehama died in 1971. His family gave the authorization to publish the manuscripts of the 6th and 7th volumes to the Jewish Community of Salonika. They were published in 1978 in one book. Joseph Nehama studied at the Ecole Normale Orientale, the teacher training school, of the Alliance Israélite Universelle in Paris. He was the headmaster of the AIU School in Salonika and later on became the General Inspector of the Middle East AIU schools. Till his last day he was a member of the AIU Central Committee.

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These seven volumes include massive information on the Salonika Jews, on their history, literature, life, culture and folklore including hundreds of names of the outstanding among them: Rabbis, community leaders, commerce and industry dealers etc. Because of its comprehensiveness and the information it contains, the book became a rich source for genealogical research for Jews having their roots in Salonika. Nevertheless, an important tool was missing- a general name index.

The index is now ready. In order to give it more value, biographical notes have been added based on details found in the original text. The surnames are written as they were in the French text, while the notes are in English. Titles of the Hebrew books are now transliterated into English, whereas in the original they were transliterated into French. A major concern in preparing this special index was to include, when available, the affiliation on one, two and sometimes three generations in the surnames.

I would like to thank M. Mario Modiano from Greece who first gave me the idea to prepare this index and to the Jewish Community Committee of Salonika who allowed me to upload it on the Internet for all to use.

Abbreviations Used
Apr. = April
Aug. = August
b. (in notes) = born
b.(in "given names")
  = ben or bat
  = son/ daughter of
beg. = beginning
Blg. = Bulgaria
C'ple = Constantinople
Cent = century
cent (beg) = beginning of century
cent(mid) = middle of the century
cent (mid-end) = from middle to end of the cent.
Ch-Rab. = Chief- Rabbi
d. = died
(date- date) = (birth year - death year)
(date,place - date,place) = (birth year,place- death year,place)
Dec = December
E.Y. = Erets Yisrael
fam. = family
Feb. = February
Italics = title of a book
J'lem = Jerusalem
Jan. = January
msc = manuscript
mid = middle

Nov. = November
Oct. = October
Rab = Rabbi
Sal. = Saloniki
Sept. = September
Syn. = synagogue
y. = years

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Check for possible alternative spellings:
- preceding the surname: aben, ben, al, el are possible alternatives
- interchangeable letters:
o or u are possible alternatives
b or v are possible alternatives
c or k are possible alternatives
sh, ch, sci, sch, ?, are possible alternatives for the ?sh? sound
ch, h, kh (guttural) ? may be interchangeable
dj, g, tch, tsh, ç, ? may be interchangeable
g may or may not be followed by a u or h in possible alternative spellings
s or z are interchangeable alternatives at the end of names
- simple or double letters used in alternative spelling


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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The History of Salonika Jews can be searched by via the JewishGen Greece Database, the JewishGen Sephardic Collection, or the JewishGen Jeff Malka Collection

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