"This charnel house of historic memories": Salonica as Site of Transcultural Memory in the Published Writings of Cecil Roth

  • Jay Prosser (Author)
    University of Leeds
    Reader in Humanities, University of Leeds


Following his visit to Salonica in 1946 Cecil Roth became the first historian to engage with the significance of the Holocaust in Salonica.  This essay analyses Roth’s published writings on Salonica to examine how they radically revise our understanding of Holocaust memory. Roth identifies Holocaust memory at an extraordinarily early moment.  By paralleling the Holocaust and the Spanish Inquisition, Roth depicts Holocaust memory as transhistorical.  Most transformatively Roth reveals the transcultural memories of Sephardi Jews as an object for Nazi destruction in the Holocaust.  Roth’s Salonica writings underline the importance of Jewish Salonica as a site of transcultural memory.  Focusing on these writings, my essay recovers Roth as a valuable source for contemporary memory, transcultural and Jewish studies.


Academic discipline and sub-disciplines
History, Jewish studies
Contributor or sponsoring agency
Arts and Humanities Research Council
Type, method or approach
transcultural memory studies and Jewish studies
Cecil Roth, Salonica, Holocaust, Sephardi Jews, Ottoman Empire, memory studies