The Great Fire of Salonica: Birth of a City

by Grigoris Vardarinos , Greece

Thessaloniki was burned to the ground in August 1917 amidst WWI. A single spark from an unattended fireplace in a refugee’s shack next to the city walls will bring havoc to the metropolis and its multinational inhabitants. From the ashes a new city will rise, modern, ambitious and cut off from her multicultural past. 32 hours the fire raged burning half of the city and all of its commercial district. 9,500 buildings were burned and destroyed. 70,000 citizens were left roofless. 52,000 Jews, 11,000 Muslims and 10,000 Christians. It is the beginning of the end for the thriving Jewish community.

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