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DRAMA, city in Macedonia, Greece. *Benjamin of Tudela found 140 Jews in Drama in c. 1165. Documentation points to the settlement of a small Jewish community of merchants in Drama from the beginning of the 17th century who brought their legal problems to the Salonikan bet din. During the years 1671–68, the Hebron emissary Rabbi Moses ha-Levi *Nazir visited the community. After the fall of Ottoman Hungary in 1689, Jews from Buda settled in Drama. Jewish merchants carried goods in caravans from Drama to other towns. In 1900 the Jewish community numbered 45 families, or 150 people. Many Jews from Serres settled in Drama in 1913 after a large fire erupted under Bulgarian occupation. Before World War II the Jews were engaged in commerce (especially in tobacco); some were craftsmen or in the liberal professions. In 1934, the Zionist Geula organization was founded. In 1940 there were 1,200 Jews in the town. In 1941 Drama was occupied by the Bulgarians, who requisitioned all the Jewish enterprises. Jewish-owned capital in the banks was also confiscated. On March 4, 1943, the Jews of the community were arrested by the Bulgarian police and army, held in tobacco warehouses in the Agia Barbara quarter for three days, and then sent to the Gorna Djumaya camp in Bulgaria, where they were kept in extremely harsh conditions. From there, young men in their teens and early twenties were sent to forced labor in Bulgaria and 113 families (589 people) were dispatched by train to Lom and from there put on a boat to Vienna, where they were reloaded on trains to Treblinka and gassed upon their arrival. In 1948 there were 39 Jews in Drama and in 1958, 17. A Holocaust memorial plaque was inaugurated in 1999.


Rosanes, Togarmah, 3 (1938), 77; H. Pardo, in: Fun Letstn Khurbn, 7 (1948), 88–90. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: B. Rivlin, "Drama," in: Pinkas Kehillot Yavan (1999), 93–97.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.