Ilias Osmos was born in 1873 on the island of Zakynthos and was engaged by the Jewish community of Hania in 1900 as a Hebrew teacher. In 1912 he took on some of Chief Rabbi Avraham Evlagon’s duties as well. Therefore he is seen with Evlagon in the only extant photograph of the interior of Beth Shalom Synagogue taken before the visit of King Constantine of Greece in 1913.

After Evlagon’s death, Osmos became the Rabbi of Hania’s Jewish community. No reports survive about his work and relations with the community. Due to his long-term residence in Hania, however, he must have developed close ties with some of the dignitaries of the city, among them the German consul Richard Georg Krüger, himself a resident of Hania since 1902. Krüger served as the German consul until the beginning of the occupation. The somewhat odd presence of Rabbi Osmos at Krüger’s funeral in March 1944, a mere two months before the deportation of the Jewish community of Hania, is documented in an extant photograph of the funeral proceedings at the Cathedral of Hania.

Rabbi Osmos continued to live in Hania with his wife and four of their five children, and their children, until the arrest and deportation of the community in May 1944. The entire family, 17 individuals in total, perished when the steamship Tánaïs sank on 9 June 1944.

Photos 1, 2: © The Jewish Museum of Greece

Chief Rabbi Abraham Evlagon and Rabbi Elias Osmos at Beth Shalom Synagogue, Hania, 1913

Rabbi Ilias Osmos at funeral of former German Consul Krüger, March 1944

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