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Wednesday, 02 June 2021 08:55
Isaac Mizan, the last Holocaust survivor from the (former) Jewish community of Arta in northwest Greece and one of the last survivors alive, died at the age of 94. Mizan was born in 1927 in Arta, where he lived until 1961. He was the last of six children of the family of Joseph and Anetta Mizan.In March 1944 he was arrested by the Nazis, along with 351 other Arta Jews. They were transferred to the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp and then to Bergen-Belzen.

He returned to Greece and Arta in August 1945. Of the twelve members of the Mizan family who were forced on the death voyage to Auschwitz, only three returned.

“His last wish, before he passed away, was to return to his birthplace, where the house where he and his family were taken from on March 24, 1944, is still preserved,” Dimitris Vlachopanos, who wrote Mizan’s biography, said.

He was the last Jew of Arta to leave his hometown at the age of 35 for Athens, but his love for his city remained unquenchable to the end.

Mizan revealed the magnitude of the trauma left behind by the Holocaust to those who managed to emerge alive from the hell-camps of the Third Reich.

“And there were moments when we felt guilty because we, the lucky few, survived and the others were lost […] and we spent beautiful and happy moments,” he said in the pages of Vlachopanos’ book.

Before the war, according to Vlachopanos, the Jewish community of Arta had two synagogues and a school and numbered 500 in the 1930s and over 400 in the 1940s, shortly before the war broke out.

Of the 352 who boarded the death trains, only 23 returned, others left for Athens and others for the then newly established state of Israel.

 SOURCE: website greekcitytimes 29.5.2021


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