Greece: Greek Control of Salonica in 1912 to 1949 Departure

La Liberté⁩⁩, 26 May 1916 – In the week preceding the Israelite feast of Passover, one could read, in the French newspapers of Salonika, this notice “- to the officers and soldiers allies” – “The Chief Rabbi of Salonika has the honor to invite all the Israelite officers and soldiers of the Franco-English armies located in Macedonia to kindly attend the Seder service as well as the dinner which will be organized in their honor during the first two evenings and the first two days of Passover. The premises of the Chief Rabbinate were The premises of the Chief Rabbinate being too small to contain all the guests, the rooms of the Varsano Restaurant, rented for this purpose by the Israelite community, will also be reserved for some of the guests… In 1928, Ovadia Varsano was a small private Jewish School in Salonica with 32 students. During WWII, Saby (Sampetai) Varsano was one of 876 Jews in the Greek resistance to the Nazi occupation.

Greek Holocaust Survivors and Victims

Newly added to the Jewish Salonica Postcard Collection, this card depicts a crowd of men in front of a narrow two-store building in Salonica
(Thessaloniki), Greece, around 1917. The picture was taken by French photographer Henri Manuel (1874–1947), who served as the official
photographer of the French government from 1914 to 1944. The building was located on Salonica’s Promenade and stood adjacent to the
Jewish Nouveau Club — an organization established after 1908 by dissidents of another Jewish club, the Club des Intimes (founded originally in 1873 as the
Cercle des Intimes, Salonica’s first modern Jewish club). The captions on the back of the card point out, in Italian, French, and English,
that the building housed a bakery (and that no women were seen among the men standing in front of it!). Indeed, that bakery was the modern Electrically
Powered Bakery, located on the ground floor of the building — as indicated by the red and white sign, in Greek, above the entrance.

Above the sign in Greek, there is a Ladino (Jewish-Spanish) sign in Hebrew script with the words משה ארסאנו’ב ריסטוראן) Resṭoran Varsano Mosheh). That
was the kosher restaurant Varsano and Mosse, located on the first floor of the building. The kosher restaurant and its Ladino sign testify not only to the ubiquitous presence of the Jewish community in Salonica at that time, but also to the imprint Sephardic Jews left on the linguistic landscape of the famous Balkan town. In fact, several historical postcards from Salonica depicted establishments that displayed Ladino signs.

Inscribed in French, the card is apparently dated May 23, 1918. It was purchased for the University of Michigan Library Special Collections Research
Center with funds from Bruce and Ileane Thal.

Alexander, Tamar , Gila Hadar, and Shalom Sabar, “El oio ve, la alma desea:
Jewish Postcards from Salonika”, in Jerusalem Studies in Jewish Folklore 27
(2011), 183-229″ (in Hebrew) — see specifically page 197.
Costis Copsidas, The Jews of Thessaloniki through the postcards, 1886-
1917. Thessalonikē: K. Kopsidas, 1992.
Megas, Yannis. Souvenir: Images of the Jewish Community: Salonika 1897-
1917. Athenas, 1993 — see specifically page 96.
Uziel, Yosef, “Moadonim (klubim) ve-agudot le-sugehem [Types of clubs and
associations]”, in Saloniki: ir va-em be-Yisrael = Salonique: Ville-Mère en
Israël. Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, 1967, 127-130. (in Hebrew

From University of Michigan Blog Post named “Varsano and Mosse restaurant in Salonica, photographed
by Henry Manuel in 1917”
Author(s): Gabriel Mordoch
NOVEMBER 3, 2022

Jewish Entrepreneurship in Salonica, 1912-1940, An Ethnic Economy in Transition
By Orly C. Meron, published in 2011 by Sussex Academic Press

during Greece’s national consolidation period


  1. Cohen & Varsano – referred to as a Fashion Studio (Atelier de Moda) in Cartas lacradas: 1850 – 1917 by Dora Openheim
  2. Raphael Jakob Varsano & Co.
  3. Salvator J. Varsano
  4. Varsano Albert
  5. Varsano Jacques
  6. Varsano Nahoum Fils
“Evlag” – Memoirs written by Albert Varsano regarding the Somovit detention camp for Jews
Memoirs written in Haskovo and Tel Aviv, 1944-1956 regarding the experiences of the Jews in Bulgaria during World War II, and the Somovit camp to which the Jews were deported from Bulgaria.
 Jacques Varsano was the manager of Mercantil del Pacífico, S. A., from March 1 to October 5, 1952 purchases and sales of canned meats, including canned corned beef in 12-ounce tins