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The capital and largest city of Eritrea. Asmara Hebrew Congregation, Synagogue, Haille Mariam Mammo Street, Asmara, Eritrea seats 60 people, but the last wedding was in the 1950s when the Jewish community numbered about 500. Synagogue Keeper is Samuel Cohen (aged 53 in 2001). His  family emigrated to Eritrea around 1900 and settled in Massawa. Forced by earthquake in 1923 to move to Asmara, four members of the Cohen family remain. The Rabbi was evacuated with the expatriate community in 1975. According to David Cohen, uncle of Samuel Cohen, at the High Holy Days the congregation was swelled by Jews from as far as Khartoum, Sudan. [March 2009]

  • Old Italian Cemetery: A Jewish cemetery section exists in the old Italian cemetery . I visited it in 1998. Many of the tombstones have Hebrew lettering and most date from the late 1890s. There is also an old synagogue in the city of Asmara. Source: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it [date?]
  • The Jewish cemetery is located on a hill just on the outskirts of Asmara. There are nearly 150 graves in the plot. information and a photo of the cemetery: "Up on top of a dry hill overlooking Asmara, where bright sun forces the visitor to squint and the dry grass crunches underfoot, Mr Cohen wanders around the Jewish cemetery.Roughly 150 people - including his grandfather - have been buried in the Jewish cemetery, and the last grave was dug 10 years ago. One grave even contains a British commando, who died helping to chase the Italians from Eritrea in World War II. Several years later, the British - who briefly administered both Eritrea and Palestine - imprisoned Jewish guerrillas on the outskirts of Asmara." History starts in the cemetery, because it's where we all end up," Mr Cohen said. [January 2009]

    Eritrea's last native Jew tends graves, remembers. Reuters. May 2, 2006. The last grave was dug in 1996. BBC article has photo. [August 2009]

  • JOWBR burial listings [July 2011]


Last Updated on Thursday, 14 July 2011 13:58
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