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Greece » Dodecanese islands » Kos island » Kos Sightseeing » The building of the Synagogue and the Jewish Community of Kos
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The building of the Synagogue and the Jewish Community of Kos

According to the writer Josephus, a flourishing Jewish community existed in Kos, since the period of the Second Temple. Relative evidence is also found in the book of Maccabees (142 b.C.). When the Knights of St. John conquered Kos, they dispersed the Jewish community and kicked them out, but the Jews came back to the island a few centuries later, in 1522 when Kos was conquered by the Ottomans. The Jewish community flourished in Kos and the Jews of Kos were occupied with the trade of cloths and exports of grapes and raisin.

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In 1747 they constructed a beautiful synagogue which collapsed during the strong earthquake of 1933. After the earthquake, the synagogue was soon rebuilt, as a great number of the Jews came to the island as refugees from Asia Minor. Today no Jews exist in Kos; most of them were captured by the Nazis, sent to Germany and died in the Auschwitz concentration camp. Only the building of the synagogue and the old Jewish cemetery with its few tombs, dated from the 17th century, exist to remind their presence on the island. Today the building of the Synagogue houses the Cultural Center of the Municipality of Kos.

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