On 18th August 1917, at about three in the afternoon, according to the official report, a spark from a kitchen fire ignited a pile of straw and burned down half a city.
Actually, it was only one third of a city. Only. This series of coloured postcards shows scenes from the Great Fire of Salonika.
A square kilometre of the Macedonian city was utterly devastated; financial institutions, businesses, shops, and centres of culture and religion (including sixteen synagogues, twelve mosques and three churches) were completely destroyed. A total of some 9,500 buildings were burned to the ground, leaving 70,000 inhabitants homeless, and yet, curious as it may sound, not a single fatality was reported.
Now, as we are in Greece, I thought I’d show you one more card, which otherwise would be unlikely to put in an appearance, because it’s not quite Great War vintage. The card below is a rare card from July, I think, 1913, during the Second Balkan War, when one of Greece’s erstwhile allies during the First Balkan War (only brought to a conclusion a month earlier at the end of May), Bulgaria, unhappy with the terms of the partition of Macedonia (they coveted Salonika – another link with this particular post), sneakily launched a surprise attack on the Greeks. The Bulgarians, repulsed in a conflict lasting a month, were mightily miffed by the whole affair which, a couple of years down the line, would ensure that, when they did enter the Great War, it would be on the side of the Central Powers.
Notice: On 25th March this year, with the uncertainty of Lockdown ahead of us, I decided that a Daily Postcard post would, if nothing else, give me something to do, and might even entertain some of you for a few minutes each day. Fifty days, and not far off three times that many cards, later, Daily became Weekly, since when there have been seven Weekly Postcards, so far featuring nearly forty more cards. However, neither series was ever intended to continue post-Lockdown, and with things easing – for the moment – and with viewing figures, although still decent, now considerably down on those for the earlier daily offering, the time has come to pull the proverbial plug. So, just three more posts after this week, we shall finish with No. 60, but before the wailing begins, I dare say you haven’t actually seen the last Great War postcard on this website. There are still plenty I have yet to show you, so I imagine the occasional postcard post is likely to appear from time to time in the future.