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Holocaust in Greece - שואת יהודי יון

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This project is in memory of the Greek Jews that perished at the hands of the Nazis in the Holocaust.

Jews have lived in Athens since the 3rd century B.C.E., and the remains of an ancient synagogue can be found in the Agora, at the foot of the Acropolis. The Jewish community in Athens is Romaniote, who speak Greek and have assimilated into the city’s culture over time.

On the eve of World War II, some 77,000 Jews lived in thirty-one communities in Greece. By far the largest and best known was Salonika, a Jewish metropolis since ancient times. Seventy thousand Jews perished in the Holocaust, mostly at the Auschwitz Concentration Camp.

  • Only 10,000 persons survived. Today the Jewish community in Greece is estimated at about 5,000.
  • Greek resistance groups, both communist and non-communist (EAM), battled the Axis occupiers in an effort, not only to save Greece, but also to save the Jews living there.

During the Holocaust, the support of Archbishop Damaskenos of Athens and police chief Angelos Evert saved thousands of Greek Jews by issuing fake identification cards to those threatened with deportation. They were both honoured at Yad Vashem along with the mayor of Piraeus.

Perhaps the greatest single heroic act of the Greek-Jewish underground, however, took place far away, in Auschwitz-Birkenau: 135 members of the Sonderkommando who cremated the corpses of gassed Jews mutinied and blew up two crematoria. They held out for one hour before all of them were gunned down.

In their Memory - לזכרם -

please add the names of those who became victims to their community:

  • Athens - still the center of Jewish life in Greece despite most of 70,000 being annihilated during the Holocaust. Only about 3,000 living in Athens today.
  • Corfu - the Holocaust occurred late in ww2 when the Germans gained control of the island in 1943, after the fall of Italy. Corfu was bombed by the Allies in June 1944 to divert attention away from the Normandy landing. 1800 perished in Auschwitz-Birkenau.
  • Ioannina - Evidence dates the presence of Jews back to 70 C.E. In March 1944 the entire Jewish community of 1860 people was deported. Today only 35 Jews live in Ioannina, the only remnant of a once thriving Romanniote Jewish Community.
  • Kastoria - 763 of the 900 Jews were rounded up for deportation in 1940. Prior to deportation they were enclosed for days in an old school without food or water, where young girls were raped by German soldiers. 35 people survived the Holocaust, although only one Jewish family remains in Kastoria after 500 years of a Jewish presence in the city.
  • Thessaloniki - for centuries Thessaloniki was the most populous city of Sephardi Jewry in the world. The community suffered greatly in the Holocaust, its pre-war population of 56,000 being almost totally annihilated in Auschwitz-Birkenau.
  • Volos - in 1940 there were 882 Jews living in Volos. Resistance to the Germans was very active, the head Rabbi Pessah worked with Archbishop Ioakim to find sanctuary for most of the Jews in villages of Pelion. 130 were deported on Greek Independence Day, 25 March 1944. Only 100 remain in Volos today.
  • Rhodes - the Kahal Shalom Synagogue of Rhodes was built in 1575 and is the oldest functioning Synagogue in Greece. Today a woman sits in prayers in a small Synagogue open to tourists and will accept comments and money for restorations. In 1944, 2000 Jews lived on Rhodes, 50 were Turkish citizens and fell under Consulate protection. The rest were deported on 20 July1944. Only 3 months later the Germans were forced to leave Greece. 35 Jews currently live on the Island of Rhodes.
  • Yehuda Levy & Miriam Levy (Notrica)
  • Yodef Levy and Dona Levy (Habif)
  • Zakynthos - Mayor Carrer and Bishop Chrysostomos refused to cooperate with the Nazis. They have been included in Yad Vashem's "Righteous Among the Nations". All 275 Jews of the island were safely hidden in the mountainous villages and survived the war.
  • Crete
  • Other communities

El Male Rakhamim prayer - for Holocaust Victims - תפילת אל מלא רחמים לזכר קורבנות השואה

אֵל מָלֵא רַחֲמִים שׁוֹכֵן בַּמְרוֹמִים הַמְצֵא מְנוּחָה נְכוֹנָה תַחַת כַּנְפֵי הַשְּׁכִינָה בְּמַעֲלוֹת קְדוֹשִׁים וּטְהוֹרִים כְּזֹהַר הָרָקִיעַ מְאִירִים וּמַזְהִירִים לְנִשְׁמוֹת אַחֵינוּ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל הַקְּדוֹשִׁים וְהַטְּהוֹרִים שֶׁנָּפְלוּ בִּידֵי הָרוֹצְחִים וְנִשְׁפַּךְ דָּמָם בְּאַווּשְׁוִיץ מַיְידַנֶק טְרֶבְּלִינְקָה וּבִשְׁאָר מַחֲנוֹת הַשְּׁמָד בְּאֵירוֹפָּה שֶׁנֶּהֶרְגוּ וְנִשְׂרְפוּ וְנִשְׁחֲטוּ וְנִקְבְּרוּ חַיִּים בְּכֹל מִיתוֹת מְשֻׁנּוֹת וְאַכְזָרִיוֹת עַל קְדֻשַּׁת הַשֵּׁם בַּעֲבוּר שֶׁאֲנַחְנוּ בְּנֵיהֶם וּבְנוֹתֵיהֶם אַחֵיהֶם וְאַחְיוֹתֵיהֶם נוֹדְרִים צְדָקָה בְּעַד הַזְכָּרַת נִשְׁמוֹתֵיהֶם בְּגַן עֵדֶן תְּהֵא מְנוּחָתָם לָכֵן בַּעַל הָרַחֲמִים יַסְתִּירֵם בְּסֵתֶר כְּנָפָיו לְעוֹלָמִים וְיִצְרֹר בִּצְרוֹר הַחַיִּים אֶת נִשְׁמָתָם ה' הוּא נַחֲלָתָם וְיָנוּחוּ בְשָׁלוֹם עַל מִשְׁכָּבָם וְנֹאמַר אָמֵן

To add your profiles to the project you will first need to JOIN THE PROJECT'"

  1. Go to ACTIONS (top right of the profile)
  2. Click on ADD TO PROJECT and select 'Holocaust in Greece' in the check box that appears.
  3. Click on DONE.

If you have any queries, please contact Pam Karp