The decimation of the Jewish community of Rhodos 80 years ago

This September marks the 80th anniversary of the occupation of the Island of Rhodes (Rhodos) by the German forces. In September 1943 German forces defeated the Italians in the Battle of Rhodes, and so began the terror against the Jews of Rhodes. 

Most of the Jews of this idyllic Mediterranean island were deported to Auschwitz, and approximately 1 200 were gassed on arrival at the death camp. By the end of the War, the once vibrant community of Rhodes had been decimated and less than 200 people survived.

Many of the survivors found homes in Rhodesia and the Belgian Congo, and again had to flee for their lives from the Congo in 1960. It was around this time that the Cape Town Sephardic congregation was established by the Jews who left the Congo after the start of civil unrest following the withdrawal of Belgium as the colonial power.

The Cape Jewish Chronicle will report in the October issue on the commemorative event organised by the Sephardi Hebrew Congregation of Cape Town to mark 80 years since the Nazi occupation of their beloved home.

• Published in the September 2023 issue – Click here to start reading.

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