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HOLOCAUST
ESTHER COHEN, OLDEST GREEK AUSCHWITZ SURVIVOR PASSES AWAY Print E-mail
Thursday, 03 December 2020 12:11

By Patricia Claus, "The Greek Reporter" December 1, 2020:

Esther Cohen, the oldest Greek survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp, who became known as a “living testimony” of the Holocaust, passed away on Tuesday December 1, 2020, at the age of 96.

The Ioannina-born Jewish woman, who had had her official camp number tattooed on her left arm, said in interviews that the number had also been tattooed “on her soul” as well. Along with so many other Jews, from Ioannina, Thessaloniki and elsewhere in Greece, Esther was rounded up on March 25, 1944. All the Jewish people living in the city were ordered by Greece’s German occupiers to report to Ioannina’s Mavili Square — and the vast majority would never see their beloved city again. She was somehow able to stay together with her entire family, including her six siblings, all the way to the gates of the concentration camp — but after that point she was never to set eyes on them again, except for one of her sisters.

Returning to Ioannina after the war, along with only approximately fifty other members of its original Greek community, she again made her home in the city. In March of 2014, she made headlines when she met with former German President Joachim Gauck in her city. She told him at that time, “When we die, the world must know that man must not be inhuman.” The German president then embraced her.

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GREECE IN WWII: WHAT THE NAZIS LEFT BEHIND Print E-mail
Tuesday, 07 July 2020 07:48
Greece was occupied by Germany between 1941 and 1944. 

When the Nazi forces began retreating in October 1944 they left as rubble almost 800 villages and small towns. In the first winter of the occupation 100,000 people starved to death. 60,000 Greek Jews were deported and murdered. Almost 50,000 people were killed in the resistance and in reprisal massacres. 

A persistent strain on relations between Greek and German governments remains Germany’s refusal to pay reparations for the damage it did to Greece. A Greek parliamentary commission in 2016 put the cost at more than 300 billion euros. 


But there were also Greek collaborators with the Germans. Stratos Dordanas, assistant professor for modern and contemporary European and Balkan history at the University of Macedonia, explained in a TV interview how a long taboo and still controversial topic in Greece is now open to debate.
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HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY 2019 – CRETE: PRESENTATION OF THE WORK OF STUDENTS FROM CRETE TITLED The History of the Jews of Heraklion Print E-mail
Thursday, 17 January 2019 11:29
By Katerina Mylona, translated from newspaper PATRIS OF HERAKLION CRETE, 16.1.2019

The history of the Jews who lived in our city was the subject of the work that was carried out in the 2017-18 school year from Section B4 of the 6th General Lyceum of Heraklion within the framework of the "Project" course.

The work aimed at seeking the historical presence and course of the Jewish community in Heraklion until their complete extermination by the German Nazis in 1944.

The supervising professor, computer scientist with Msc in Theology, Mr. George Chatzizisis, told "PATRIS" that the children participated with particular interest in the search for information and enjoyed the role of the historical researcher.

He proposed to students to work for a population group that no longer exists in our city because of population or war exchanges such as Muslims and Catholics. The pupils even mourned when they learned.

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HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM & EDUCATIONAL CENTER OF GREECE in THESSALONIKI: A World Monument Against Racism Print E-mail
Monday, 23 January 2017 11:15

Article in the daily “Kathimerini”, January 15, 2017, by Yiota Myrtsioti: A six storey circular building made of metal and glass will rise to the historic place where the end of the 55,000 Greek Jews of Thessaloniki started; the memorial building will change the skyline of the city's western entrance and the map of Europe Holocaust memorials and museums. After seven decades, the city of Thessaloniki restores the memory, recognizes its mistakes, opens its archives, studies, but above all apologizes for a piece of history that the city buried with its silence and under the foundations of the university campus. The city’s mayor, Yiannis Boutaris, has restored this oblivion three years ago in front of the monument erected in a corner of the university campus to remind that this was the place where the Sephardic Jews of the big community of Salonica were honoring their dead for 500 years. Yannis Boutaris, in his speech delivered at the moment, spoke of the undue delay of the city to break the silence and to begin to mention the gloomy moments of its history. It was one of the slow but steady steps toward the target he had set since he became mayor: that the institution he represents becomes an institution of memory with continuity in time. The culmination of this effort is the establishment of the Museum and Educational Center on the Holocaust in the area of the Old Railway Station, where the Jews of Thessaloniki started their final trip.

This was an idea of the president of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki, David Saltiel. The mayor adopted this idea and, in order to promote it, he used its contacts around the world. The Municipality and the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki worked together, methodically, without fanfare, to implement this idea and now, almost three years later, with funding guaranteed, they are setting the project’s timelines.

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UNTANGLING THE TALE OF A JEWISH WWII ORPHAN IN THESSALONIKI Print E-mail
Wednesday, 21 September 2016 08:19

by GIOTA MIRTSIOTI

Just a few days before the mass deportations of Thessaloniki’s Jews to Nazi concentration camps began in the cold tail-end of winter 1943, many Jewish parents left their children in the care of the Aghios Stylianos Foundling Home for their protection. Unable to bear the separation, most took their children back; but some stayed. One of them was David Barzilay, born on March 4, 10 days before the first death camp train left the northern port city.

What happened to the baby that was declared by the foundling home as being “of unknown parentage” and survived the Holocaust? How many more Jewish families tried to save their children in this way and what kind of life did the youngsters go on to have afterward?

These and other such questions came to social anthropologist Aigli Brouskou’s mind as she studied the Aghios Stylianos archives for her book “Logo tis kriseos sas charizo to pedi mou” (Because of the Crisis I Give You My Child), published by the Scientific Society of Child and Adolescent Care. The answers came later with painstaking research at three official archives, while the evidence pertaining to one particular case turned out to be very revealing: It allowed a name to be erased from the long list of Thessaloniki’s Holocaust victims; shed light on fabricated records; allowed the survivor to rewrite his autobiography; and exposed the complex and often conflicting roles of those who saved lives during the Nazi occupation.

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