Kastoria is located on an ancient trade route in the mountains between Thessaloniki and Ioannina. Many of Kastoria’s Jews were employed in the manufacturing of fur and leather items, for which the city became famous. Kastoria was a Sephardic community, although there is evidence that a Jewish community existed there before the fifteenth century.
Like Thessaloniki, the city was part of the Ottoman Empire until the Balkan Wars in the early twentieth century, when it was liberated by Greece.
There were 900 Jews in Kastoria in 1940. On March 25, 1944, 763 of them were rounded up for deportation, first to Thessaloniki and then to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Prior to their deportation, they were enclosed in an abandoned school for days, with no food or water, and the young girls were raped by German soldiers. Thirty-five Jews survived the Holocaust in Kastoria. In 1996, a Holocaust memorial was dedicated in honor of the vicitms.