The Agony of Greek Jews, 1940-1945

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The Agony of Greek Jews, 1940-1945

The Agony of Greek Jews, 1940–1945 The Agony of Greek Jews, 1940–1945 Steven B. Bowman sta n f o rd u n i ve rs i t y

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The Agony of Greek Jews, 1940–1945

The Agony of Greek Jews, 1940–1945 Steven B. Bowman

sta n f o rd u n i ve rs i t y p res s sta n f o rd, ca l i f o rn ia

Stanford University Press Stanford, California ©2009 by the Board of Trustees of the Leland Stanford Junior University. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system without the prior written permission of Stanford University Press. Printed in the United States of America on acid-free, archivalquality paper Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Bowman, Steven B. The agony of Greek Jews, 1940-1945 / Steven B. Bowman. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-0-8047-5584-9 (cloth : alk. paper) 1. Jews—Greece—History—20th century. 2. Sephardim— Greece—History—20th century. 3. Holocaust, Jewish (19391945)—Greece. 4. Greece—History—Occupation, 1941-1944. I. Title. DS135.G7B69 2008 940.53’1809495—dc22 2007044946 Extracts appearing in chapters 1, 2, and 4 from the book Jewish Resistance in Wartime Greece by Steven Bowman (2006) are published by permission from Vallentine Mitchell Publishers, London. The book was published with the assistance of the Charles Phelps Taft Memorial Fund, University of Cincinnati. Typeset by Bruce Lundquist in 10.5/14 Galliard.


Preface Acknowledgments Abbreviations A Note on Names


vii ix xiii xv 1

1. The Jews of Greece to World War I


2. Germans and Jews in Greece


3. In Victory and Defeat


4. Vernichtungsorganisierung


5. Chronicle of the Deportations


6. Abnormal Deaths in a Foreign Land


7. How a Remnant Survived


8. Freedom or Death


9. Relief and Rescue


10. Bitter Homecoming




Appendix: Numbers






in memoriam those who died as victims or andartes EIS TIMHN

those who survived to rebuild


Contrary to scholarly and popular perceptions, it should be emphasized that the destruction of the Sephardi metropolis in Salonika, a city that had earned the sobriquets “Jerusalem of the Balkans” and “Madre de Israel,” was so devastating that even two generations after the war a new center for the Sephardim and their widespread diaspora has not appeared. Moreover, the political broadening of the term Sephardi in Israel and among scholarly and philanthropic organizations through the inclusion of all non-Ashkenazi Jews under its rubric signals both dilution and perhaps even dissolution of that proud heritage. Not even the emergence of regional scholarly and cultural centers dedicated to the Sephardim and their heritage has yet been able to generate any new creative dynamics to stimulate and develop this heritage. Perhaps two generations is not yet enough time to mourn the loss of a “mother city.” It took more than a century after the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem in 70 CE to rejuvenate Jews with a new leadership and Judaism with the m ­ ishnah. The task of this generation is to sustain the survivors and teach their progeny until a new spirit arises from the children of that great Jewish metropolis.1 A project on this subject can never be considered finished, not even after all the dead and the living have been accounted for and their various vicissitudes chronicled and explained. Then the task will be to integrate this material into the history of Greece, not as a separate chapter but rather as an integral part of the multifaceted prism that constitutes Greek history and culture. The time is overdue to bring forth this study to the public. Indeed, too many of the fifty- and sixty-year seminal anniversaries have already past: 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1998, 2003, 2005. Perhaps 2008 will have a resonance to survivors and their kin.



Three factors encouraged presentation of this text at this time. The first is the announcement that the archives of Salonika, confiscated by the Nazis in 1941 and captured by the Soviets at the end of the war, will soon be returned to Greece. Whatever these archives contain, preliminary reports from Tel Aviv and Washington indicate the wealth of data about the interwar communities. Those already recovered from the Bulgarian-occupied zone and recently delivered to the Jewish community of Athens (now housed in the Jewish Museum of Greece) suggest the value of their contents. This material signals a new era in research on Greek Jewry. Greek wartime archives in Israel and prewar archives from Salonika now in New York are just beginning to be exploited. Second, only recently has there appeared a systematic attempt to interview Greek Jewish survivors, both those who went to the mountains and those who went to the camps. This process is still haphazard in Israel (despite the rich deposits at Yad Vashem) and the United States. Despite the many testimonies that have yet to be read and collated, there are many important areas of research to be pursued whose participants await their interview. Third, the holdings in principal archival collections have been made available in a variety of monographs.


My task in this book has been to collate, organize, and interpret that which has been collected. In a few instances, I have been able to supplement this material through my own archival research. It is a pleasure to record here my thanks to those archives and libraries that freely assisted my research and facilitated my visits: In Israel: Yad Vashem Archives, Institute for Contemporary History at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Historical Archives of the Jewish People at the HUJ, Joint Distribution Committee Archives at the HUJ, Central Zionist Archives in Jerusalem, Haganah Archives in Tel Aviv, Beth Tabenkin, Haifa University In Greece: Jewish Museum of Greece, Gennadeion Library, Institute for Balkan Studies, Jewish Community of Salonika In Switzerland: Bundesarchiv in Bern, Archives of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Geneva In Austria: Staatsarchiv in Vienna, Archiv der Widerstand, Simon Wies­ enthal Archive In Germany: Dachau Archives In Poland: Auschwitz Archives In France: Archives of the Ministère des Affaires étrangères in Paris and Nantes, Archives of the Alliance Israélite Universelle, Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaine In Britain: Public Record Office, Imperial War Museum, Wiener Library, Institute for Jewish Affairs (renamed the Institute for Jewish Policy



Research), Bodleian Library, St. Anthony’s College at Oxford University, Centre for Hebrew and Judaic Studies at Oxford University In the United States: libraries of the University of Cincinnati, Hebrew Union College, YIVO, United Nations Archives, World Jewish Congress Archives (in New York and at HUC in Cincinnati), American Joint Distribution Committee Archives, Franklin D. Roosevelt Archives in Hyde Park, National Archives in Washington, D.C., Gratz College in Philadelphia, University of Washington in Seattle, Magnes Museum in Berkeley, Holocaust Center of Northern California, and the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. (where I was a Miles Lerman Fellow for the Study of Jewish Resistance in August 2002)

It is with sincere thanks and deep appreciation that I acknowledge support of this project over the past two and a half decades from a number of institutions and foundations. First, from my home University of Cincinnati and its Judaic Studies Department; the Charles Phelps Taft Memorial Fund of the University of Cincinnati for research and sabbatical grants; the Fulbright Foundation for sabbatical support during 1988–89 as a Research Fellow in Western Europe and 1996 as a Research Professor in Greece; the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture; the Lucius Littauer Fund for a travel grant to Auschwitz and Moscow in 1990; Yad Vashem for research support in its archives; the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Judaic Studies, which offered me the hospitality of Yarnton Manor during 1988–89 and a Koerner Fellowship in 1996 for research connected with this book; New York University and its Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, where I have taught a Holo­caust course for a number of summers and had the opportunity to extend my research in the many archival sources for Greek Jewry in that city; and the Jewish Community of Salonika, which offered hospitality and assistance during the last phases of my research and writing. In addition to debts of honor incurred over the decades, there are many debts of friendship and courtesy from individuals who answered questions and gave interviews. A number of them have died in the interim, and I hope this volume will recall their memory. They are too many to be listed here, but I should single out those who read, discussed, and critiqued parts of the manuscript and the project during the formative stage and alerted me to infelicities of style and errors of


fact. John Petropoulos, while president of the Modern Greek Studies Association, invited me to present a paper on Greek Jews at its 1978 conference on the 1940s in Greece, held in Washington, D.C. This may be considered as the prolegomenon to the project that introduced me to scholars, researchers, and a host of new friends in this area of study. The research for that paper was done in Jerusalem and continued with the counsel of Yehudah Bauer. Over the years, I have discussed this study with Yoav Gelber; Miriam Novitch, a special lady; Rachel ­Dalven, who chronicled the Jews of Ioannina; Joseph Matsas of Ioannina; Michael Matsas of Potomac, Maryland; Meir Michaelis; Daniel Carpi; Jonathan Steinberg and Mark Mazower, who shared research materials; ­R ichard Clogg; Nikos Stavroulakis; Anthony Seymour, Judith Humphrey, and Isaac Benmayor, who critiqued and discussed earlier drafts; Asher Moissis, Sam Modiano, and Baruch Shibi, three participants of that tragic period whom I met while a young Fulbright and Gennadeion Fellow in Greece; Marcel Yoel, who is a continuing fount of information; Albertos Nar, Heinz Kounio, Moses Altsekh, Rena Molho, and Rebecca Camhi Fromer, who facilitated contacts; Benny Kraut; Fred Krome, who is a fine editor; copy editor Thomas Finnegan; production editor Judith Hibbard; and Yael Feldman, my best critic and constant companion. Whatever inconsistencies remain are the responsibility of the author. Some of the material in this book was presented at seminars and conferences over the years in the United States, United Kingdom, Greece, and Israel. I am grateful for the comments and contacts that resulted from these meetings. Portions of the Introduction and Chapters 2 and 3 appear in proceedings of conferences held in Greece in 1994 and 1995; an adumbration of the volume appeared in the proceedings of a symposium on minorities in Greece held at St. Anthony’s College in Oxford in January 1994. A companion to this volume is my Jewish Resistance in Wartime Greece (Vallentine Mitchell, 2006), parts of which are reproduced through the courtesy of the press. cincinnati and new york tisha be’av–hanukkah 2007




Alliance Israélite Universelle American Joint Distribution Committee British Expeditionary Force British Liaison Officer Centre Documentation Juive Contemporain Central Zionist Archives Delegazione Assistenza Emigranti Ebrei Ethniko Apeleftherotiko Metopo (National Liberation Front) Ethnikos Dimokratikos Ellenikos Syndesmos (National Republican Greek League) Ethniki Enosis Ellas (National Union “Greece”) Ethniki kai Kinoniki Apeleftherosis (National and Social Liberation) Ethnikos Laikos Apeleftherotikos Stratos (National Peoples/Liberation Army) Eniaia Panelladiki Organosi Neon (United Panhellenic Organization of Youth) Ethniko-Sosialistike Patriotike Organosis (National Socialist Patriotic Organization) Epimelitia tou Andarti (Guerrilla Commissariat) Foreign Office International Committee of the Red Cross (Comité International de la Croix Rouge) Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora Kentrikon Israeliton Symvoulion (Central Board of Jewish Communities)





Kommounistiko Komma Ellados (Communist Party of Greece) Ministère des Affaires étrangères Middle East Relief and Refugee Administration U.S. National Archives Organismos Perithalpseos kai Apokatastaseos Israeliton Ellados (Organization for the Relief and Rehabilitation of the Jews in Greece) Office of Strategic Services Palestine Jewish Council to Relief Abroad Strategic Information Service Special Operations Executive World Jewish Congress Administrative Service of Jewish Properties Institute for Jewish Research Yad Vashem Archives

A Note on Names

For the purposes of this book, I have chosen to standardize place names according to the Blue Guide Greece, edited by Stuart Rossiter (2nd ed., 1973). This choice seems to me a better compromise than to follow the changing national languages and historical spellings that permeate the literature on Greece and the Balkans. Older spellings will be found on the maps and in the contemporary sources cited in the text. I beg the reader’s indulgence and hope the issue of place names will not cause confusion. With respect to individual names, I have followed in all cases the spelling in the source. Jewish names in Greece are spelled differently in Greek, French, Spanish, Hebrew, and English sources and studies. In many instances, the spelling of a name varies even in the same source, and, accordingly, individuals sometimes become two or three separate people, as I learned to my dismay in compiling a list of Jews who were in the andartiko (Bowman, Jewish Resistance in Wartime Greece [London, Vallentine Mitchell, 2006], appendix 1).

Lom Cos



Dupnitsa Gorna Dzhumaya Simitle

S tr y m

Skopje (Uskub)

ver on Ri


Bitola (Monastir)


Pelargos Klissoura


Ioannina (Janina) Igoumenitsa





Nereida Karpension Gorgopotamos Bridge AKARNANIA Agrinion Naupaktos Amphissa (Lepanto)

Preveza Lefkada




Kavalla Thasos




AEGEAN SEA Skopelos EUBOEA (Evvia) Chalkis Thebes BOEOTIA Eleusis Daphni Athens Piraeus

Izmir (Smyrna) Chios


Mistra Kalamata


Hania (Canae) 60 mi



100 km

Maleme Rethymno









Çesme Samos

Corinth PELOPONNESE MOREA Nauplion Tripolis

Zakynthos (Zante)







Edessa Nigrita Langada Naousa Thessaloniki CH Veroia Polygyros AL K ID Katerini IK S MPO OLYElasson





Pentalofos Kozani Argyrokastro Tepelene Grevena



s. Ver mio n M t



Nea Orestias Dhidhimotikhon

C R E T E Heraklion Agia Triada

Map 1. Greece, including twentieth-century Jewish settlements



The need for a history of the Holocaust in Greece in the English language necessitates no apology. It is a fairly neglected topic that has seen documentary research only in recent years. In addition to the abiding neglect of Greek studies by Jewish and general scholarship, the complex problems of Greek Jewry and its sources almost seem to encourage scholars to avoid the topic for better-plowed fields. Yet Greek Jewry is a fascinating subject and its broad neglect by scholars of the modern period and in particular those of the Holocaust is difficult to rationalize. Greek Jewry has many unique qualities about it, the Holocaust experience notwithstanding. It is the oldest Jewish community in Europe; it gave to the West Christianity via Saint Paul of Tarsus and a working model integrating philosophy and Bible study via Philo of Alexandria; it gave to Greece one source (koine) for its modern Greek dialect via the Septaugint and the New Testament; it was the medium through which Palestinian Jewish traditions passed to the lands of Ashkenaz (Germanic-speaking Europe); it had two great diasporic periods, the Greek-speaking and the Judeo-Spanish–speaking; and its percentage of loss during the Holocaust was exceeded only by that of Poland. The history of Greece during the modern period is complex; how much more so for Jewish history in Greece. This complexity is the subject of the first chapter, whose purpose is to orient the reader to a variegated background and to the influence that it had on the Holocaust in Greece. As part of this orientation, it is necessary to identify the rhythms of Greek Jewish society over the past several millennia and their effects on the differing Jewries found within the borders of modern Greece as they expanded through the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.




Each of these Jewries had its own traditions and local history. This approach to Greek Jewry can be understood only against the background of the emergence of modern Greece, its chronological and territorial complexities during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and some requisite background in the major political themes of Greek history. By the nineteenth century, two Jewries—one Greek-speaking ­Romaniots and the other Judeo-Spanish–speaking Sephardim—were long established on the mainland and islands of the geographic area we call Greece. An obvious question: can a Judeo-Spanish–speaking Jewry who lived under Ottoman domination since the 16th century be considered a Greek Jewry in the same way as those Greek-speaking Jews who lived for one to two millennia under a host of masters? Is the term Greek then a function of language or of territory? For the majority in the Hellenistic period, the term Greek, or Hellene, referred to anyone who spoke the language; in the Byzantine period, Hellene designated an “apostate Christian” if not outright pagan (pace Gennadios Scholarios). In the nineteenth century the term became geographic, and Greek nationalism used language as an ethnic identifying factor. These definitions continued alongside each other during the modern period. The borders of the modern Greek state were continually expanding from the period of the Revolution (1820s) until the end of World War II, when the Allies awarded to Greece the areas that had been annexed by Bulgaria and those annexed at various times during the twentieth century by the Italians. We have chosen to define Greece, for the purposes of this book, by the borders she had at the end of World War II. Chapter 1 briefly surveys the story of the Jews in Greece from antiquity and points out the regional differences that, subject to myriad local factors, contributed, each in its own way, to the story of the Holocaust in Greece. The vicissitudes of chronology form an important theme; the most crucial question in Chapter 2 is the limited time available to the Jews of the newly acquired northern territories to adjust to the post–World War I realities in the Balkans. We shall find it necessary not to pursue a strictly chronological sequence from chapter to chapter. Events parallel each other from region to region just as they differ. There is in Greece a local rhythm, a regional, and a national, each of which has its own historical development. In traditional studies of Greece, moreover, there


has been a distinction between history, politics, and laographia (folklore). Because Jewish society usually follows the Weltanschauung of the host society, Jewish scholars writing about Greek Jewry inevitably follow the pattern. Our story is structured somewhat differently and also includes some new interpretations of the Jewish experience in Greece. Both Greeks and Jews have their own millennial traditions of ­dias­pora, namely the phenomenon of individuals possessing a common language and culture and living in communities outside the borders of the mother country. Until the rise of modern Zionism and establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, all Jews lived in diaspora or galut (exile). The rise of nationalism in the nineteenth- and twentieth-century Balkans demanded that the Jews choose whether to join the new state and society as citizens or remain an autonomous, religiously structured ethnic community, which had characterized their settlements outside of the land of Israel for the past two and a half millennia. This question is specifically addressed in Chapter 2 with regard to the internal and external problems surrounding Salonika (or Thessaloniki in Greek) and in Chapter 3 with respect to the Jewish response to World War II in Greece. The territorial theme raises its head again with the occupation of separate areas of Greece by Germany, Italy, and Bulgaria; to paraphrase Caesar’s observation about another conquest, omnia Graecia in tres partes divisa est. Different administrative units, armies, policies, and rhythms justly challenge an integrated picture of the occupation period. The Holocaust was effected in differing ways in each area, but it was effected nonetheless by the order of the Germans and the cooperation of the Bulgarians. It was deliberately delayed by a year in the Italian zone until that area came under German administrative and military control after Italy left the war. How the Jews structured their communities in diaspora will also be of importance for an understanding of the Holocaust in Greece, if not elsewhere in Europe. The traditions of self-government and communal institutions geared for social relief, within the framework of a religious community centered about the study of Torah and its commentaries, created a system that was essentially loyal to the government in power. The inability of the traditional Jewish community to recognize the dangers inherent in a malevolent government that would use those communal institutions and traditions of loyalty to destroy that




very community is one of the tragedies of the Holocaust period. This theme is examined in Chapters 3 and 4. Perforce, the contemporary and postwar judgments on the role of the chief rabbi of Salonika and the Community Council during the war will have to be reexamined in light of our understanding of the Nazi manipulation of the Judenrats of occupied Europe. The horrors of the deportations and subsequent destruction of the arriving groups is chronicled in Chapter 5. This information is based on analysis of the materials made available by scholars working in the Auschwitz Archives. A serious concern among scholars of the period and of modern Jewish times in general is the question of numbers. How many Jews were in Greece before the war? How many were killed by the Nazis both in the camps and elsewhere? How many survived the war? How many emigrated to Palestine and elsewhere? These questions, though it is necessary to answer them, tend to overlook the fact that people, not numbers, were involved. Hence it is important to chronicle the deaths of the various trainloads of Jews who went to Treblinka and Auschwitz; yet the stories of individual survivors and the memory of their experiences must be integrated into the story. The question of history and memory is discussed later. But the Holocaust is not only about death and destruction, although these themes understandably take a front seat in the reader’s attention. The mechanism of the process and the methods used are of interest, the participants important to note, and the goals or reasons of each of them necessary to understand. One of the subthemes of the period is the despoliation of the Jews’ wealth, which the Nazis exploited for their own benefit and to reward their supporters. Interestingly, Bulgaria took Thrace as its reward but put some of the personal effects of the Thracian Jews whom it deported in escrow. Some of that liquid wealth was recently turned over to the Greek government, which in turn entrusted it to the Jewish Museum of Greece. Much of the real property was returned to the Greek Jewish survivors by the postliberation government; however, the tobacco warehouses somehow remained in the hands of Austrian merchants. These questions of wealth and property are discussed in Chapters 5 and 10. One of the unique accomplishments of the Nazis was to reduce the enslaved masses deported to concentration camps to a series of num-


bers. The numbers were temporarily reusable, given the three-month average life expectancy for slaves, and thus were recycled by a neverending supply of fresh slaves. For example, in spring 1943 Greek Jewish women were tattooed with the same numbers that Greek Jews deported from France had been assigned in November 1942. This was the ultimate victory of the amoral technological thinking that finds mathematics and science more important than unique individuals whose vagaries of thought and action cannot be absolutely tabulated or predicted. We look at these numbers and the people who bore them in Chapters 6 and 7 to ascertain what happened to those who entered the camps. Chapter 6 tries to find out where and how they died; Chapter 7 records the experiences of the survivors. Because the Greeks (both Christians and Jews) endured nearly all aspects of the Nazi concentration camps, it is useful for the reader to follow the vicissitudes of their experiences to gain a broader view of the Holocaust through one ethnic group. There is unfortunately relatively little literature on the Greek Christians who were sent to German POW and concentration camps; this lack is also discussed in this book. The role of the Jews in Greece during World War II has been restricted in the general literature to the destruction of their communities. Their role in the military story has been quite ignored save for memoirs in various collections; this story includes both native Greek Jews and Palestinian Jewish volunteers in the Italian and German campaigns. Moreover, the complicated story of the Jewish contribution to the Resistance, and the Resistance attitudes toward the Jews, has not been seriously explored in the general literature.1 These and other themes are examined in Chapters 3 and 8, although the paucity of memoirs and absence of official sources means that the complete story cannot be known. Could anyone help the Jews? Did anyone help the Jews? Did anyone warn them? Chapter 9 explores the potential and the actual assistance that was proffered to the Jews of Greece during the Occupation and its aftermath. There we discuss the local and international agencies that attempted to render aid or organize rescue, the problems they faced, and the results of their actions. One problem in doing history is evaluation of source material; sometimes those who were the least important have left the most records about their efforts. It is our responsibility to




note and possibly adjust this imbalance in terms of both the surviving material and the self-congratulatory use to which it has been put. Those readers anxious to follow the fates of the survivors may go directly to Chapter 10 and then return to read of the attempts made before and during the war to render assistance to Greek Jewry. The Germans left Greece in October 1944; the war ended in May 1945; the survivors did not return before the following summer. What did they find? How were they received by their co-religionists and by their fellow citizens? What was the fate of the Jews who took refuge in the mountains and fought with the Resistance? What happened to the Jewish property confiscated by the Nazis and distributed to quisling (or “collaborationist,” to follow Greek terminology) Greeks? Greece is the only occupied country in which there were war crimes trials (albeit for individuals) involving Jews; it is significant that these trials were carried out with the support of (and even instituted by) the surviving Jews. Another theme is the redemption of the survivors in Israel, or rather the emigration of survivors from Greece to Palestine and the United States. What was the attitude of Palestinian Jews, of Greek origin or in political power, to the remnants of this proud Jewry that they had to some extent ignored during the war? Chapter 10 discusses this role and other local problems that affected Greek Jewry during the last year of the war and the beginning of the Civil War that was to be even more disastrous for Greece than the Axis Occupation. The question of sources is the most serious problem for the historian. In the modern period, there is a plethora of source material, official government documents of varying degrees of value, and memoirs of officials and private individuals. One of the great discoveries of modern scholarship is that governments do not always tell the truth, despite their claims to the contrary. Governments pursue their own interests, and oftentimes the latter are contrary to what their citizens, allies, or enemies think to be those interests. We are fortunate to have a great deal of captured Italian and German documents telling us much about what they did and why they did it. We do not have as much Bulgarian material (although more has recently become available), but enough has been collected to understand their actions against the background of policy. We do not have much access to Greek wartime documentation. This has allowed a chaotic situation to develop among those


who restrict themselves to discussion of Greece without recourse to the national archives of the British and Americans, especially because the discussion has been obfuscated by ideological arguments and selective interpretation for the purpose of scoring political points. In the postwar years Greek political points have been made more by the sword than by the pen—so much so that in Greece many scholars tend to ignore secondary Greek material in their historical studies unless they are summarizing some ideological argument. The task of the historian is critical reading of many kinds of sources and judicious selection from them to produce a coherent narrative. I shall try to make the story as comprehensive as possible, both as a guide to future researchers and as a counterbalance to the available literature. As I have noted, the Greek Jews have not been integrated into the general story of wartime Greece. Among Jewish scholarship, there has been until recently only one comprehensive treatment of the Holocaust in Greece (Michael Molho and Joseph Nehama’s In Memoriam, published in Salonika in 1948, reedited in Hebrew and Greek translations) alongside an increasing number of memoirs that are appearing annually in Greek, Hebrew, French, Spanish, and English. Molho and Nehama’s treatment was, interestingly, the first historical study of the Holocaust in any one country. Comprehensive for its time, it is nevertheless more than fifty years out of date in terms of scholarship, sources investigated, and material included. Moreover, the survivors’ passion for revenge has clouded an historical understanding of the forces and individuals involved in the story. Yet it is still valuable and a tribute to the efforts of its authors. Unfortunately, much general scholarship on Greece relies on In Memoriam for its brief (and inadequate) surveys of the fate of Greek Jews during the war years. My earlier essays in the Encyclopedia of the Holocaust were a first attempt to summarize and integrate new material. Michael Matsas’s The Illusion of Safety 2 uses In Memoriam for the background story but contributes many new memoirs on the camps and Resistance to the literature. Bernard Pierron’s Juifs et Chrétiens de la Grèce 3 is a comprehensive survey of the period 1821–1945 that summarizes his more expanded and detailed dissertation. Hence much of our information for various aspects of the story is necessarily dependent on memoirs of individuals. This category of




sources is so problematic that certain historians have refused to use them at all. Raul Hilberg, for instance, based his monumental work almost exclusively on German archival documents. This approach leads to other problems for the historian, the most important of which is knowing what happened outside the archival records. Much material and novel facets of the story can be recovered only from memoirs. (For the general story of Greek resistance, see now André Gerolymatos’s Guerrilla Warfare and Espionage in Greece 1940–1944,4 which judiciously expands the received story on the basis of a critical reading of official sources and memoirs.) But how to read these sources? How to critique material that is based on memory, occasionally fictionalized even where the author does not intend fictionalization (let alone where the author does intend it)? What is the relationship between memoir and literature (as in the works of Elie Wiesel) for historians attempting to reconstitute past events? Also, how do we critique the time factor? A memoir immediately after the event has a different value from one written decades later; yet there is a phenomenon of forty-year memory that occasionally recalls events and conversations more accurately than a memory closer in time to the event. Some individuals have better memory than others; some have photogenic or auralgenic memory. In other words, some individuals are better witnesses than others. No doubt the same critique can be made of contemporary interpretations in the archives, including those of policy makers. Occasionally the latter deliberately obfuscated their reports, as in the general Nazi trend to use euphemisms to obscure the Holocaust. It is no wonder that archival historians, like prosecuting attorneys, prefer the abstract and unchanging written word to the variable oral testimony. In the vast literature of Holocaust memoirs, it is surprising to find numerous stories of Greek Jews. They seemed to be everywhere in the Nazi zone, in all the camps, in the Warsaw Ghetto, and definitely in the experience of numerous survivors. These stories, though occasionally embellished, seem to ring true and are all the more trustworthy because there does not seem to be any ulterior motive in their recording other than their exotic nature. At least they attest to the ubiquity of the Greeks. More valuable are the testimonies given by individuals under cross-examination in a formal interview or in court. These


statements were elicited for judicial evidence and hence can be treated with more confidence. Not all, however; after the war some survivors returning to Salonika gave court depositions regarding the fate of deported property owners that do not always stand the light of investigation. On the other hand, the same individual’s witness as to the fate of beloved relatives can be treated less circumspectly. Memoirs by trained professionals such as doctors, lawyers, nurses, or others who survived are usually matter-of-fact memoirs by individuals trained to observe and report; those by the less educated are not so useful, yet occasionally they provide interesting data—as in the case of one Greek Sonderkommando slave. It is a matter of historical interest that the first published postwar Holocaust memoir was that of a Greek Jewish doctor, Marco Nahon, from Dhidhimotikhon, a small town in Thrace on the GreekTurkish border. We may rely on one axiom: a memoir recording personal experience is more valuable than hearsay, although the former is to be treated cautiously unless independently confirmed. Even so, we shall have to use all memoirs judiciously. But first, we have to meet the people and their background.



The Jews of Greece to World War I

The present work tells the story of the Jews in Greece during the period of the Holocaust. Although the destruction of Greek Jewry occurred from 1943 to 1945, the suffering lasted for a subsequent decade, and their adjustment to that experience continues to the present. The physical attack on Greek Jewry began in 1941 with the Nazi conquest, but an economic, social, and political assault predated the vicissitudes of World War II. To understand the experiences of Greek Jewry during the Holocaust, it is useful to trace their varied encounters with the Modern Greek state. Hence, the introductory chapters summarize aspects of the prewar period to acquaint the reader with the decline of Greek Jewry, which paralleled a number of contemporary developments that seemed to promise a better future. Unfortunately, Greek Jewry was doomed to succumb to a renascent Greek nationalism that, like its Hellenic forebears, was strong enough to absorb (at least culturally) all the disputant ethni within the borders of the new state. The failure of the new Greek polity to Hellenize and integrate the newly acquired ethnic groups of the Southern Balkans was later exploited in the Nazi occupation policy of divide and control. Additionally the ­occupiers ex-


*Part of this chapter was presented at a symposium on ethnic minorities in Greece hosted by Richard Clogg at St. Anthony’s College, Oxford, in January 1995 and in expanded form appears in Minorities of Greece: Aspects of a Plural Society, ed. Richard Clogg (London, 2002), 64–80. See also the collected articles of Rena Molho in Salonica and Istanbul: Social, Political and Cultural Aspects of Jewish Life (Istanbul, 2005). For an overview of the broader context, see Misha Glenny, The Balkans: Nationalism, War and the Great Powers, 1804–1999 (New York, 2000) and André Gerolymatos, The Balkan Wars (New York, 2002).

The Jews of Greece to World War I

acerbated the endemic stasis [civic strife] in Greek political society to their own advantage. On the eve of World War II, there were still three distinct worlds of Greek Jewry, each with its own layer of polyglot culture and historical experience. These three areas corresponded to (1) the South, comprising the Peloponnese, Attica, and Boeotia of ancient times and called Morea since the late Byzantine and Ottoman periods; (2) the West, or Epirus and Akarnania; and (3) the North, with Thrace and Macedonia stretching southward into Central Greece (or Stereohellada). The islands of the Ionian and Aegean Seas were, until after World War II, heavily influenced by Italian domination, which effectively colonized the urban environment; Corfu and Rhodes exemplify this tradition, and Italian is still spoken by the older generation. Finally there was Crete: subject to Venice and then the Ottomans, it became part of the new kingdom of Greece in 1913. The Greek Orthodox population of these islands maintained their Greek identity during centuries of foreign domination; the urban Jewish populations, however, adopted in addition the language of the government in power. The wealthy and sophisticated Hellenistic cities surrounding the ­Aegean attracted a large Jewish diaspora in the Roman period, but Jews may have been living in the area as early as the last days of the First Temple (6th c. bce). The continuity of the Jewish settlement in the Peloponnese and Attica through the period of Roman domination is assured; however, data from the middle and late Byzantine periods are scarce and only suggestive of this continuity. On the eve of the ­fi fteenth-century Ottoman conquest of Morea, Jews were still to be found from Thebes to Mistra; during the Turkokratia1 they were located in all the major centers from Patras to Kalamata and Tripolis to Corinth, with smaller settlements in Thebes and Euboea (Evvia).2

Southern Greece The sketchy and still untold story of the Jews in the South came to an end with the Greek Revolution of the 1820s. Marked as allies of the Turks, they fell victim to persecution and massacre by the insurgent



The Jews of Greece to World War I

Greeks. The massacres of 1821 are unique in the story of Greek Jewry and are a consequence of the animosity against Ottoman Turks with whom the Jews were usually allied during the Turkokratia and among whom they took refuge. The massacres were usually carried out by Albanian regulars who were seeking booty, occasionally by Greek Orthodox irregulars and others stired up by the hanging of the Patriarch Gregory V in April 1921 and the Ottoman-assigned role of the Jews in the disposal of his corpse. The butchering of the Jewish populations of the Morea from Vrachori to Tripolitza was recorded by contemporaries and only Patras and Chalkis escaped similar fates.3 Aside from this incident, in general Jews within Greece and throughout Europe supported the Greek revolt, which fired the Romanticism of Europe. Many volunteered their political and public influence, while the Rothschilds, among others, contributed their money. In turn, the success of the Greek Revolution was to stimulate the incipient stirrings of Jewish nationalism, later called Zionism.4 The newly established kingdom of Greece attracted Jews to its capital Athens from both Ottoman areas and Central Europe, a trend that would continue through the middle of the twentieth century. Among those who immigrated were Sephardi merchants from Smyrna (Izmir), on the east coast of the Aegean Sea, and Volos on its northwest coast, as well as Romaniots from Yannina (Ioannina) in the western Epirus.5 The Greek government finally gave official recognition to the growing community in 1889. By this time, a second generation of Greek Jews was matriculating from the University of Athens and entering professional life, especially law and journalism.6 Central Europeans came as merchants and professionals to serve the new German king of Greece, Prince Otto of Bavaria. They included a Jewish dentist (Levi) and a Christian brewer named Fuchs (who introduced “Fix” beer); the best-known immigrant was Max de Rothschild, a financier who accompanied the new king to Athens. When the community was formally recognized in 1890, Charles de Rothschild became its president. German Jewish and Christian scholars immigrated to Greece to teach in the local university and schools and to excavate the antiquities of the new kingdom. Perhaps the most famous was Prof. Georg Karo, whose distinguished career as head of the Deutsche ­A rchaeologische

The Jews of Greece to World War I

Institut spanned some twenty years (until the mid-1930s). The burgeoning state attracted numerous Central Europeans, among whom were talented Jewish scholars, businessmen, and technocrats.7 In addition to Ottoman, Greek, and Central European Jewish immigrants, a number of entrepreneurs came under the aegis of the British Empire. The well-known case of David Pacifico, apparently a Portuguese Jew (he was the former honorary consul for Portugal) became the center of a cause célèbre when his house was sacked by an angry mob in 1847. Britain pressured Greece to compensate him and ultimately sent warships to seize Greek merchant ships in Piraeus as indemnity.8 By the First Balkan War (1912), a small but wealthy and influential community of Athenian Jews led by Ashkenazim (Central European Jews)9 was well integrated into the Kingdom of Greece and active in Greek society. Some of them, moreover, were supporters of the ­Cretan revolutionary politician Eleutherios Venizelos, whose post–World War I political career was to have such a great impact on the Jews of ­Salonika. Venizelos maintained close relations with his patriotic Jewish colleagues and was described by his friend Moise Caime as a man who liked Jews and particularly respected the Jews of Salonika for their potential value to Greece; Caime thought him “a superior man who had no race or religious prejudice.”10 The center of Greek politics was ­Athens, and though small in number the voices of Athenian Jewry were heard as lobbyists in the Greek parliament for the newly acquired Jews of Salonika during the interwar period.11

Western Provinces The Jews of the West, especially in Epirus (“the peninsula”), have a shorter recorded history than those in the South and North. Primarily merchants, they settled along the two major routes that crisscrossed Epirus: the Via Egnatia, built by the Romans to connect the Ionian Sea with Byzantium on the Bosphorus; and the north-south route from Naupaktos (Lepanto), Preveza, and Arta in the south through the metropolis of Ioannina into the villages of southern Albania and ultimately to Dyrrachium (Durrazzo), the western emporium of the Via Egnatia. Like the Jews of the South, the Jews of Epirus and Akarnania



The Jews of Greece to World War I

were Romaniot, that is, Greek-speaking citizens of the Byzantine Empire. They had their own synagogue rite and continue to speak a local patois of Judeo-Greek to the present day.12 The recorded history of Ioannina Jewry begins in the early 1300s (although local legends place Jews there in the ninth or tenth century, if not even earlier in the wake of the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus). Two chrysobulla (“golden charters”) of the Byzantine emperor Andronikos II are extant: one dated 1319 promising protection to the Jewish immigrants to the city, and one dated 1321 confirming the rights of the Church over some local Jews.13 Along with these two named groups we must assume another preexisting group of Jews, of whom nothing is known, but whose presence in such a commercial and political center is not to be doubted. In later years, immigrants from Corfu and Italy added their contributions to the complexity of Ioannina’s Jewish community. Among the latter was the extensive Matsas clan, which brought with them from Italy kaskaval cheese and held a family monopoly of the product into the twentieth century.14 Intermarriage with Sephardim from Salonika and Central Greece and the arrival of a few North African Jews added more traditions, but soon all spoke and prayed in a seemingly homogeneous community. The Jewish community lived alongside the Ottoman governors inside the walled kastro, a practice repeated throughout the smaller communities of Greece during the Turkokratia. By the end of the nineteenth century, there were some fifteen hundred Jews in Ioannina with an equal number in the other towns of the vilayet (the administrative district) of Ioannina.15 The burning of the main marketplace in 1869, allegedly by the Turkish governor, who wanted to modernize the city, was a tragedy for the Jews,16 proportionately as disastrous as the great fire of Salonika in 1917 was to their Sephardi co-religionists. More than half of the Ioannina Jewish community, some 840 people, were left homeless; most of the stores were also burned. Three years later, a series of riots against the Jews contributed to further decline of the community. With the opening of a highway between Ioannina and Preveza, the hinterland villagers of Epirus and the Jews of Ioannina took the opportunity to emigrate. They left to join their co-religionists in Alexandria, Egypt, and were also drawn

The Jews of Greece to World War I

to the great mecca of the fin de siècle, New York City. Despite this emigration, there were still some four thousand Jews in Ioannina, according to the Alliance Israélite Universelle (AIU) bulletins of 1904. In the following year, five hundred Jews emigrated to Bucharest, Alexandria, Istanbul, Jerusalem, and New York. Another thousand followed in 1906. The community thus lost its most energetic element and was left with a more conservative and religious population that predominated through the next generation. A similar emigration pattern was to affect the energy level of the Salonika Jewish community during the first part of the twentieth century. The Jews of western Greece shared with the Jews of the South a Greek-speaking environment. The former still lived a traditional life under Ottoman control, which lasted into the twentieth century. The latter area, however, developed within a thriving neoclassical civilization, which despite its Germanic king (a Danish house supplanted the Bavarians in 1863) prided itself as a parliamentary democracy. The Jews of Athens (at least those raised and educated in the new environment) considered themselves Greeks of the Israelite persuasion (in Greek, Israelites) and adopted an emancipated (secularized) veneer in public. Despite the predominance of Orthodox Christianity in Greek society, Athenian Jewry did not consider themselves outsiders. The Jews of western Greece, however, suffered the vicissitudes of ethnic tensions with the subject Greek Orthodox that occasionally exploded in local blood libels. The hysteria of these canards, which slowly spread west through the Ottoman Empire beginning with the Damascus Blood Libel of 1840, reached Corfu in 1891, twenty-seven years after the island was ceded to Greece.17 However, just as with the Ottoman regime that preceded it, the Greek government extended formal protection to Jewish citizens, an attitude and policy that continued throughout the twentieth century.

The Balkan North The situation in northern Greece was quite different. The Greekspeaking traditions of the Jews of Macedonia, Thrace, and Central Greece, prominent in Hellenistic times and continuing through the



The Jews of Greece to World War I

Byzantine period, virtually disappeared with the Ottoman conquests of the fifteenth century. In 1455, the conqueror of Constantinople, Mehmet II, ordered the resettlement of the Greek-speaking Jewish communities of Thrace, Macedonia, and Central Greece to his new capital. All of the tiny Jewish communities along the Via Egnatia from Kastoria to Thessaloniki (later known to Jews as Salonika) and east to Constantinople, as well as south along the Aegean coasts, were forcibly removed and identified for the next few centuries as sürgün, that is, forcibly deported, and hence not free to relocate. In the 1470 census of the capital, the Romaniot Jews numbered some fifteen hundred families, or nearly 10 percent of the city’s population.18 In the wake of the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 and the forced baptism of the Jews in Portugal in 1498 (many of them Spanish refugees), Iberian Sephardim migrated eastward to the Ottoman Empire, where they were encouraged to settle in those areas devoid of Jews.19 Hence, along the northern tier of Greece, in that string of towns along the Via Egnatia with Salonika as its center, a transplanted medieval Spanish civilization flourished both commercially and intellectually until the twentieth century. Beginning in the fourteenth century, Ashkenazi refugees from Central Europe sought refuge in the Balkans. They were joined from the seventeenth century on by continuing waves of Jews from southern Poland and Russia.20 Ottoman Jewry came to comprise the two major branches of European Jews—Ashkenazim and Sephardim—who intermingled in the homeland of the Greek-­speaking Romaniots. There, under Sephardi cultural dominance, they flourished and produced a vibrant renaissance of Jewish creativity that was intimately linked with the fate and fortune of the Ottoman realm that welcomed them. From Salonika, Sephardi Jews radiated north to Bulgaria and Rumania and south to Ottoman Palestine (both frontier provinces of the Ottomans), but their main settlements ringed the Aegean Sea from Larissa in Central Greece to Izmir in western Turkey. The islands of the Dodecanese, which stretch like a string of pearls off the western coast of Turkey, soon supported colonies of Sephardi Jews; the most important among them was Rhodes. The flow of refugees from Russia to Greece after 1881 put a burden on the local communities from Corfu to Rhodes and from Salonika to

The Jews of Greece to World War I

Crete. These communities were already somewhat impoverished as a result of the general economic decline in the eastern Mediterranean, a situation that further stimulated the exodus of wealthy and enterprising Jews to more settled areas of the Balkans and Egypt as well as France and the United States. This exodus continued at an accelerated rate even beyond World War I. 21 The Ottoman government was solicitous of the refugee problem and informed the American ambassador that Jews from Russia were welcome to settle anywhere in the Empire except Palestine.22 The refugee problem continued through World War I as Jews arrived from the eastern Mediterranean provinces of the Empire, primarily Palestine. The wartime government in Istanbul was suspicious of Russian Jews who had immigrated to Palestine to set up agricultural colonies yet remained Russian subjects.23 Beginning in December 1914 and continuing throughout 1915, these Russian subjects were deported,24 joining refugees from the Balkans, including those of Ottoman Thrace, who had come to Salonika during the earlier Balkan wars.25 More than a hundred refugees arrived weekly during 1915.26 By September of that year, the resources of the Salonika community were overwhelmed by the influx of refugees from Palestine as well as Thrace and Macedonia. Subsequent refugees were directed to Hania (Canea) on Crete.27 Salonika, nestled in the northwest corner of the Aegean Sea, enjoyed her prosperity as the entrepôt of the Balkans. Her Jewish population flourished in the sixteenth century as she became one of the intellectual capitals of the Jewish world. Indeed, the Judeo-Spanish–speaking Jews formed a majority in the city, outnumbering the Greek Christians and the Turkish Muslims. As such, they were able to impose their religious calendar on the rhythm of city life. Its scholars and academies supplied leadership to all the Balkan communities, so much so that Salonika was known as the “Jewish metropolis” (ir ve-em bi-yisrael). The modern Salonika community traces its roots to the end of the nineteenth century, when northern Greece began to westernize. The harbor walls of the city were removed and replaced by a wide esplanade that was a lovely promenade for the citizens of the Jewish quarters that bordered the port. The Jewish population subsequently spread east and south along the gulf with the older Roman and Byzantine center



The Jews of Greece to World War I

­ ecoming separated from the modern new suburbs by the huge Jewish b graveyard that had developed over the centuries east of the Byzantine walls. In the new suburbs, a lively new secular literature in Judeo­Spanish and French blossomed to compete with the traditional Hebrew and Aramaic religious classics of the older center, which stretched within the remaining walls from the port to the Via Egnatia. At the end of the nineteenth century, Jewish Salonika seemed poised for a brilliant future as the capital city of a newly renascent Balkans. History would decree otherwise. Three islands define the borders of the Greek world: Corfu (Zante and Kephalonia) in the west, Crete in the south, and Rhodes in the east.28 Subject to a congeries of rulers during late Byzantine and Ottoman times, the predominant foreign influence on them was Venetian. Indeed, the Jews of Corfu spoke more Italian than Greek, even after the British ceded the Ionian islands to Greece in the 1860s. Likewise after 1912, when Rhodes was annexed by Italy, the Jews of Rhodes spoke more Italian than Judeo-Spanish, and until the seventeenth century the Jews of Crete were part of the urban orbit of a colonizing Venice. The same influence held true for the Jews of Euboea (Negroponte), which was heavily Italianized during the late Byzantine period. The Jews of Crete and Euboea became increasingly Greek-speaking in the 19th century.

A Decade of War The First Balkan War (1912) was as portentous for Greece as the Greek War of Liberation in the 1820s was for the Balkans in general. The Greek bid for freedom in the nineteenth century introduced the possibility of nationalist self-determination for the subject Christians of the Balkans and marked the beginning of more than a century of ethnic warfare in the region. During the First Balkan War, Greece acquired areas of Epirus, Macedonia, and Thrace. These territories nearly doubled the geographic and demographic size of Greece. With respect to the Jews of Greece, it brought the Judeo-Spanish–speaking Sephardim of the north into closer contact with the Greek-speaking (Romaniot)

The Jews of Greece to World War I

Jews of the south and west. For the next three decades, Greek Jewry would be defined by the political, social, and economic problems besetting the Jews of Salonika. Jewish military contributions to Greece during the First and Second Balkan Wars are demonstrated in a letter sent from the president of the Athens community, A. Konstantines, on March 14, 1914, to the AIU in Paris. In the modern era, the demand of the Jews to be treated as fully emancipated citizens of their respective countries was closely tied to military service. As such, the Alliance was collecting data on Jewish military involvement across Europe. The figures Konstantines supplied to the AIU are broken down by community (his letter summarizes his correspondence with each) and incidentally define the parameters of Greek Jewry on the eve of the acquisition of Salonika, with its huge reservoir of Jews. For example, the central Greek cities of Trikala and Larissa supplied thirty-five and seventy-two men respectively, three of whom were killed and ten wounded. There was no response from the port city of Volos. From Chalkis on the ­island of Euboea, sixteen men fought, with one dead and two wounded. From Arta in western Greece thirty-six served, sustaining one dead and two wounded. From the Ionian isles of Corfu and Zante, thirteen and seventeen men respectively participated and incurred losses of one dead and six wounded.29 His letter concludes with several published accounts of heroism by Greek Jews. In sum, 189 fighters from six communities are recorded. It is likely that had he received information from Volos, the figure would have exceeded two hundred. But why did he not write to the other communities of Old Greece, or even inquire among the Athens community? Perhaps there was another letter that did not reach the AIU archives. In any case, the information that does exist helps us postulate that Greek Jewry was as deeply engaged in the early twentieth century as it was during the 1820s. The continued friendship of Venizelos with the Athenian Jewish community supports this assumption. Venizelos was informed that some five hundred Jews out of a prewar population of between five and six thousand participated in the war, including several physicians who served as medical officers.30 So it appears that Greek Jews, just like the



The Jews of Greece to World War I

Serbian Jews, followed the general axiom of nationalism that demanded blood sacrifice on the battlefield as a tribute of citizenship.31 The democratic revolution of the fiery Cretan politician Eleutheros Venizelos stirred mass feelings against the pro-German monarchy and its conservative military supporters. This stasis exacerbated the split between those who privileged the modernized Attic dialect of katharevousa (purist) over the popular demotic spoken by the masses throughout Greece. There emerged now on the eve of the Balkan wars two major parties, those of the pro-monarchists who favored alliance with Germany where their officers trained and pro-Venezelists among those officers who studied in France or supported the British. The Balkan Wars initiated a decade of warfare for the Greeks. World War I saw five Allied armies occupying Salonika, and a civil war between the Venizelists in that city and the pro–Central Power monarchists in Athens. These events helped set the stage for the considerable right-wing collaboration, if not open support, with the Axis during World War II. Many of the same military and political figures continued in and out of power through the 1930s and 1940s. Some of the Venizelist opponents would perforce find themselves allied with Socialists and Communists in the Resistance of World War II. Other officers collaborated with the puppet government under the ocupation, while many enterprising officers of whatever political background escaped from Greece to fight alongside the British. Greece also sent a brigade during the western intervention against the Bolsheviks in Russia. Finally, the 1920s witnessed the mismanaged attempt of Greece to conquer western Turkey, a disastrous adventure subsequently referred to in Greek history as the Asia Minor “Katastrophe,” which reshaped the ethnography of the lands surrounding the Aegean. The ephemeral Allied occupation of Istanbul in March 1920 under General George Milne and the abortive Treaty of Sèvres (August 1920) seemed to presage a five-century messianic dream of liberating “the City” from Ottoman control. The subsequent failure of such designs influenced Greek politics for more than a generation. During World War I, Greece was divided between Venizelos, who made Salonika the capital of his provisional pro-Allied government, and the king in Athens, who pursued a policy of neutrality.32 During

The Jews of Greece to World War I

the critical elections of 1915, the Jews of Salonika were divided in their support of the Venizelos party. The minority of intellectuals and communal notables supported Venizelos, while the mass of Jews and Muslims supported his opponent Stylianos Gounaris; according to reports the Greeks (pro-Venizelos) abstained from fear of retaliation by Gounaris.33 Though he “lost” Salonika (not one Venizelist candidate was elected there), Venizelos thanked his Jewish supporters for aiding his resounding victory in the rest of Greece. That was the last positive sign for the Jews of Salonika. The presence of so many Allied soldiers and Balkan refugees in the city, coupled with the disruption of trade and the bitter cold of the winter, made the winter of 1915–16 extremely harsh. Two major disasters (1917 and 1922) contributed to the crippling of the large and powerful Jewish community of Salonika. The first was the great fire of 1917, which leveled the central portion of the city down to the port. In the wake of this destruction, the Athens government appropriated much of the area as an archaeological site. Descriptions of the city in 1912 and 1917 outline the extent of the disaster. In 1912, a visit to Salonika by the Union of American Israelites produced this report: The city has 140,000 inhabitants, 70,000 of whom are Jews who include 300 teachers (counting many private teachers), 40 pharmacists, 30 lawyers, 20 physicians, 25 dentists, 10 journalists, 5 engineers, 1105 merchants including several bankers, 1200 shopkeepers, 2200 artisans and workers, 8000 commercial clerks, 8000 tobacco workers (male and female), 500 with automobiles and wagons, 600 dock-­workers, 400 boat owners who unload ships, 150 tax agents, 2000 waiters in coffeehouses and restaurants, and many peddlers.34

To this list may be added twelve soap factories, nine textile factories employing eight thousand, three weaving factories, one jute weaving factory, six knitting factories, a number of tanneries, and a plant making cigarette paper. Independent workers included several thousand women and young ladies occupied in sewing, embroidering, washing, domestic help, and cooking. The city included thirty “ancient” synagogues, two large ones, and a Talmud Torah (religious school), at least sixty small synagogues or midrashim, and fourteen yeshivahs. Some fifty scholars taught in these schools; the community was served also



The Jews of Greece to World War I

by a large number of preachers, cantors, ritual slaughterers, psalmodists, payetanim (religious poets), and scribes. There were twelve regular schools and some private ones.35 David Ben Gurion spent some ten months in Salonika during 1911, an experience that affected his vision of a Jewish society in the restored homeland.36 Much of this industry and all of the schools and libraries were located in the Jewish quarter, which stretched west and south along the Via Egnatia and down to the now unwalled port. This was the area ­leveled by the great fire of August 1917.37 Some twenty thousand buildings were destroyed, leaving more than fourteen thousand Jewish and Christian families (the majority Jews) homeless and unemployed; all the religious and public libraries, all the major schools, and the communal offices, publishing houses, medical facilities, and factories were burned to the ground.38 The homeless included the refugees from Russia, the Balkans, and Palestine.39 Aid was forthcoming for all the citizens of Salonika from the Athens government and from international Jewish organizations such as the AIU and the American Joint Distribution Committee (or “the Joint”; see Chapter 9). The community never recovered from the social and economic consequences of the fire and its aftermath. On the eve of their deportation in 1943, more than half the Jewish population of Salonika was indigent and still living in the temporary housing supplied by the Joint.40 The exodus of prosperous Sephardi merchants, which began at the turn of the twentieth century, accelerated.41 By 1941, only the poor subsisting on Greek government and Joint subsidies remained. The second blow followed upon the Greek Katastrophe in Asia Minor. At the peace negotiations held at Lausanne, the Greeks and Turks agreed to an exchange of populations, thus setting a precedent for twentieth-century conflict resolution (however unsuccessful in the wake of the retreat of the British Empire). Venizelos directed a significant proportion of the more than one million Asiatic refugees from Turkey to Macedonia and Thessaloniki (the city’s now restored ancient Greek name), which put tremendous burdens on the infrastructure of the city.42 Ostensibly to accommodate the new Orthodox immigrants but in reality to increase their economic position, the government switched the market day from Sunday to Saturday. To the Jews,

The Jews of Greece to World War I

who dominated the economy of the city, this was a violation of their Sabbath and was perceived as an anti-Jewish measure, bordering (according to some contemporary observations) on official anti-Semitism. During the interwar period, the Greek Jewish communities adjusted to this religious blow by sanctifying only part of the Sabbath to God and the remainder to the market. In addition, the Jewish community was increasingly pressured throughout the 1920s and 1930s to Hellenize its school curricula and cede parts of its property to the civil government. In particular, the city demanded more and more of the huge graveyard located just east of the Byzantine walls. A small section of this graveyard had been given over to the Ottoman administration for a school; now the Greeks wished to expand the school into a university. This persistent problem was resolved only during the Nazi occupation, when the collaborationist city government gained total control of the area. Today, the university— centrally located in the city’s prime real estate—occupies nearly all of the area of the former graveyard. Visitors can still see fragments of epitaphs in Hebrew and Judeo-Spanish built into the walkways and embellishing the gardens of that prestigious institution.43 During the interwar years, imported Italian and German ideologies exacerbated tensions between the long-settled Jewish communities and the Greek Orthodox refugees from Asia Minor. There was also considerable immigration of Central European technocrats, scholars, and other refugees to Greece during the interwar period, which would provide human material for Nazi exploitation during the occupation. This Central European influence would help shape the historical fate of the Jewish communities of Greece during the war.44


Tw o


Germans and Jews in Greece

The increasing influence of Austria and Germany during the interwar period is important to our understanding the Holocaust in Greece. Our survey of the varieties of Greek Jews in the previous chapter outlined the debilitating impact of the transition from Ottoman autonomy to Greek citizenship on the vast majority of Jews. They were, with few exceptions, totally ill prepared for German political, economic, and military inroads after World War I. In this chapter we follow the further decline of Greek Jewry, alongside the penetration of German political and economic influence. Later chapters detail the military incursions. Of increasing importance for our story is the arrival of Central European Jews and their significance to the story of Greek Jewry.* The Balkan game played by the Great Powers during the late nineteenth century contributed in the second decade of the twentieth century to two Balkan Wars, followed immediately by the devastation of World War I. To the Jews’ misfortune they, along with Greece in general, were unable to absorb the impact of Central European economic and imperial expansion. Ultimately both the Jews and the Greek state failed to survive the confrontation. Austria-Hungary pursued the Jewish option in terms of commercial influence, and later Germany entered the competition for profit, although German activities were characterized more by spoliation and massacre. Salonika was the greatest prize; like Penelope of Ithaka, she had many greedy suitors. Both before and Parts of this chapter appeared as Bowman, “Germans and Jews in Interwar Greece,” in Hassiotis, Jewish Communities, 75–86. In general, cf. N. Petsalis-­Diomidis, Greece at the Paris Peace Conference 1919 (Thessaloniki, 1978); and Glenny, Balkans.

Germans and Jews in Greece

during World War I the Habsburg Empire was concerned lest Salonika become the exclusive Mediterranean entrepôt for one of the competing nationalist groups in the Balkans. Originally established by Alexander the Great’s brother-in-law to be the port for Macedonia and its hinterland, the city was coveted by Serbia and Bulgaria as the natural and historical (recalling their medieval possessions of the city) extensions of their expanding realms. The concept of an independent Macedonian state, of course, was not feasible without such an outlet to give it economic viability. Greece, on the other hand, considered Salonika (or Thessaloniki) essential to its pan-Hellenic dream (or Megali Idea) of reuniting the Greek-speaking Aegean. The Austrians, who considered the Balkans their natural hinterland, hoped to establish a free port centered on an autonomous Salonika. The French had independently developed a similar plan. Both the Austrians and the French counted on the support of the extensive Salonika Jewish community. In a city of perhaps 120,000, nearly 80,000 were Jews. Both governments increased their political and cultural missions to convince the Spanish-speaking Jews to support their aspirations in Salonika. The French in particular encouraged the efforts of the French-Jewish assistance organization established in 1860, the Alliance Israélite Universelle, to spread French language and culture among the Jewish population; the French also established, as did the Austrians, schools and religio-cultural institutions run by their respective ecclesiastical organizations. Spain, Italy, Austria, and Portugal offered citizenship to the Jewish inhabitants of the city, a regional practice already well established since late Byzantine times, and a handful obtained French citizenship. Britain, the United States, and other western countries also offered citizenship but did not pursue this option given that their interests were either in Athens (the center of British intrigue) or philanthropic (which characterized U.S. interests in Greece during the interwar period).1 The Jews of Salonika responded favorably to the Great Power initiatives. Having enjoyed almost autonomous status, with all its privileges, during nearly five centuries of Ottoman domination of the city, they were understandably fearful of the consequences of the various nationalist designs. No matter which potential nation possessed ­Salonika—



Germans and Jews in Greece

Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia, or “Macedonia”—there was fear of the demise of the unique Judeo-Spanish culture that flourished there. Salonika was renowned as the “Jerusalem of the Balkans,” a Jewish metropolis (ir va-em be-yisrael), and constituted the cultural and religious center for Balkan Jewry. Its fascinating story has been well chronicled by Joseph Nehama in his multivolume study of Jewish Salonika.2 What is not fully understood is the complicated internal tension within the Jewish community over the direction of its post-Ottoman fate. The most appealing option was preservation of its autonomous status. On this hope, the Jewish community was receptive to the support of two of the Great Powers, which exploited the Jews’ apprehension for their own cultural, political, and commercial interests. In the years preceding World War I, and through the immediate postwar occupation of the city by the Greeks, the leadership of the Jewish community pursued the autonomy option in international diplomatic circles. Greece emerged from World War I in physical occupation of Salonika. The Greeks expanded their control during the postwar era, through military occupation and the transfer of population. Salonika was to become the fulcrum of Venizelist (and traditional Greek) policies to integrate Macedonia and Thrace into the nexus of Hellenism and the expanding Greek state. The conflict between Hellenism and Judaism in Salonika is examined later; here we may note the clash of the opposing trends, which complicated the local situation in Salonika as each had its own Great Power supporter during the interwar period. The pan-Hellenic dream of Athens was rudely dashed in the failure of the 1922 Anatolian campaign. The Megali Idea was shattered by the great defeat inflicted on the Greek army by Kemal Ataturk and Ismet Inönü, which resulted in the retreat from Asia of the long-settled Greek Orthodox population, including a significant number of Orthodox Turcophones. In 1923, the Treaty of Lausanne ratified the exchange of population between Greece and Turkey that brought millions of Greek- and Turkish-speaking Orthodox refugees to create the festering slums of Athens and Salonika, the seedbeds for interwar Greek urban politics.3 Venizelos, who had promised to safeguard Jewish minority rights in 1913, effectively used these numbers to transform the demographic nature of Salonika from a Spanish-speaking Jewish majority to

Germans and Jews in Greece

a ­Republican Orthodox enclave loyal to his aspirations. To his subsequent embarrassment, he was not able to control the forces unleashed in the city during the civil strife of the 1930s. Efforts were made to integrate the Anatolian refugees into the economy of Salonika and to give the Venizelists more political power. For example, they were given permission to hawk wares on the streets outside of Jewish business establishments. They were also absolved from city taxes and given other economic privileges. In turn, the Jews were prohibited from using Hebrew characters (in which their Judeo­Spanish dialect was written) in commercial signs. Then in 1922 the city retired (with appropriate pensions) Jewish dock workers who controlled the port and replaced them with Anatolian refugees. Jews who dominated the business of transporting material from the docks (primarily using carts and cars) were also retired. Greek Orthodox refugees gradually replaced Jewish fishermen. Shortly thereafter, General Pangalos, the military governor of the city, accused two Jewish junk dealers (Jacob Tiano and his eighteen-year-old partner Jacob Amir) of cutting telephone lines. Despite communal intervention, they were subsequently executed.4 Further difficulties for Jewish commerce came in the wake of the government’s decision to change the market day from Saturday to Sunday. Whereas Saturday was the Jewish Sabbath on which no business was to be done, the Jewish community understood well the deleterious economic consequences of this law. The government had attempted this change in 1919 but retreated in the face of Jewish opposition. Indeed, Jewish communities in Greece were specifically allowed by law to remain open on Sundays, and the Sabbath was officially recognized by royal decree to be the Jewish day of rest. With the establishment of the Republic in May 1924, the Jews, who had supported the monarchy, lost their royal protector.5 A general emigration of businessmen ensued; the wealthy entrepreneurs went to France and the small shopkeepers to Palestine. The majority, however, attempted to close their shops for two days each week. The resulting hardship forced Jewish shops to be closed for over 115 days (counting weekends and other holidays) during the year. An accommodation to the new situation was necessary, and Jewish shops eventually opened for half a day on the Sabbath.6



Germans and Jews in Greece

Venizelos also struck a blow at the potential power of the Jewish voting block. For the elections of December 1923, he restricted both Jews and Muslims to a total of two senators each for the National Parliament. This restriction on the Jews lasted until the Metaxas dictatorship in 1936. Venizelos, in this way, effectively removed the Jewish vote, leading many Jews to boycott the elections and protest to the international community this restriction on their rights as Greek citizens. Salonika Jews, for their part, were in demographic decline, the inverse of the city’s growing Christian Greek population. The economic chaos that characterized the Balkans during the decade 1912–1922 added impetus to the emigration trend initiated during the late nineteenth century. Indeed, Salonika lost nearly a third of its Jewish population during the first two decades of the twentieth century. It was mainly the wealthy who left, in contradistinction to the exodus of poor Greeks from Macedonia and Epirus, who formed a significant proportion of Greek immigrants to the United States. These wealthy Jews transferred their property and families to areas of opportunity in the British Empire, metropolitan France, South America, and to a smaller extent the United States. Added to this drain of leadership and wealth was the severe blow of the 1917 fire that devastated the center of Salonika, where the nexus of the Jewish community was concentrated. The Jewish community never recovered from this disaster, and until the 1943 deportations the burden of succoring the homeless and unemployed—and of fending off the greed of local officials and competing Anatolian refugees—consumed much of the community’s efforts, deterring it from pursuing more constructive responses in alleviating the worsening condition. The Sunday closing law only exacerbated a deteriorating economic situation. In addition to this developing tension stemming from Orthodox Greek immigration into Salonika, along with Jewish emigration from the city a new internal conflict appeared within the community. In the wake of World War I and establishment of the British Mandate in Palestine, the Zionist movement captured the imagination of more and more of the Jewish masses.7 Greek Jewish leadership was increasingly divided over the question of Zionism, with a significant number supporting Theodor Herzl and Chaim Weitzmann through the Mizrahi party.

Germans and Jews in Greece

Ultimately the Salonika Zionists came to a working arrangement with the traditional Jewish leadership of the city, who faced two insurmountable problems. On the one hand, it was hard pressed to find the necessary financial support for social commitments, and on the other it needed political support against the pressures of the local Greek officials. The local government wanted to integrate the Anatolian refugees into an increasingly Greek Salonika in order to strengthen Venizelist policies. Paradoxically, the Venizelists supported Jewish rights and interests in Athens and Old Greece, which comprised the pre–World War I Hellenic southern kingdom. During the late 1920s, the more radical Revisionist Zionism of Ze’ev Jabotinsky fostered the rise of an aggressive younger leadership, which soon directed the emigration of lower-class Salonika Jews toward Palestine (see Chapter 9); whereas the wealthy had earlier emigrated toward Paris, the laborers now immigrated to Palestine. The declining population that remained in Salonika suffered ever more from loss of both leadership and demographics, which ultimately left the community incapable of competing successfully with the more aggressive Hellenization of the city. Government assistance to the Anatolian refugees, along with the economic and political restrictions placed on the Jews of Salonika, were integral to the general process of Hellenization underlying Venizelos’s policies toward Greek-controlled Macedonia.8 This policy manifested in the continuing demands of the Greek government to increase the Greek language component in the Jewish schools. Interestingly, the AIU representatives in Greece (especially Ioannina and Salonika) complained in their reports to Paris about the time lost for French language studies. The shift from Judeo-Spanish to Greek as the primary language of expression among the Jewish youth of the former Ottoman provinces, however, did not concern them. Meanwhile, extension of the draft to the newly integrated Jewish communities further contributed to the development of Greek nationalism among the Jews. The policy of Hellenization had two unintended consequences that contributed to the survival of numerous Greek Jews during the Holocaust. The first was the exodus of Greek Jews to Palestine during the early 1930s; the second fostered development of the linguistic and intellectual tools that



Germans and Jews in Greece

enabled young Jews to survive as Greek nationals in the Resistance or in hiding. Fascist Italy entered the maelstrom of interwar Greek politics during the 1920s, followed by Nazi ideological and economic influences in the 1930s. Both were to find their adherents among the new immigrants to Salonika, although the Italians attracted some Jewish support that was based on pre-Fascist pro-Italian sentiment. The locally generated Socialist movement under the leadership of Abraham Benaroya opposed the Fascist appeal to strength and violence. Within its orbit, and supported by elements of Salonika Jewry, the more radical option of Communism developed. The latter also attracted contingents of Anatolian refugees and Black Sea immigrants. Confluent development of Jewish Socialism among the dock workers of Salonika and tobacco workers of Kavala, and the more radical ideology of Soviet Communism, may help to account for the later positive attitude of the major wartime resistance organization (EAM/ELAS) toward Greek Jews (see Chapter 8). It seems that in pursuing his policy of Hellenization Venizelos was unaware of the forces he unleashed in Salonika. His party newspaper, Makedonia (edited by a priest), became the voice of the anti-Semites in the city, and it even published a Greek version of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.9 The paper repeatedly accused the Jews of disloyalty to Greece, of supporting Bulgarian claims to Macedonia and Salonika, of hating Greeks, and of killing Christ. On June 23, 1931, the paper called openly for action to stimulate a Jewish exodus from Greece and reclaim the city’s economy for the Christians. The anti-Semitic nationalist movement known as triple epsilon—EEE—supported this call, and on the following day its student branch (EPE) joined the campaign. Armed with axes, the EEE raided the headquarters of the Zionist club Maccabee and then attacked the Jewish suburb known as “151.” Despite Venizelos’s condemnation of these incidents, attacks continued with a raid on suburb “6.” This time, fifty university professors and two newspapers denounced the actions, but to no avail. Plans to attack the Campbell suburb, where two hundred Jewish families resided, were leaked to the Jews. Although Athens was again informed, no help was forthcoming. According to reports, Anatolian refugees joined by an armed contingent of Greek airmen destroyed the synagogue, tossed

Germans and Jews in Greece

grenades, and burned twenty-nine houses the following day. One Greek was killed,10 and a Jew who was wounded defending suburb 151 also died. Venizelos denounced the slanders of Makedonia in the Greek Parliament, but no action was taken on the national level. At the local trial of the EEE, which began April 3, 1932, in Veroia—ominously an EEE stronghold—the court condemned the slanders found in the EEE paper Makedonia as libelous, though justifiable on the basis of the intense nationalism of the parties involved. The trial was somewhat of a general free-for-all, and the Jews even had to defend themselves against the charge of crucifying Jesus. All the defendants were subsequently acquitted.11 More attacks and an additional murder ensued, with the local authorities joining the harassment; Jews registering for an officer training course were refused entry, and the city cut its relief to the community from 1.25 million drachmas to 350,000.12 Ironically this occurred at a time when the Jewish community was negotiating sale of the Campbell Quarter to the city for 3.3 million drachmas.13 The upshot of the summer of 1931 was increased emigration of thousands of Jews from Salonika. AIU graduates opted for Paris, joining the already large diaspora of Salonika Jews.14 Many went to Palestine in an aliyah organized by Abraham Rekanati and David Florentin and settled in Tel Aviv. Others ran into difficulty with the restrictive immigration policy of the Mandatory government, so they entered on tourist visas and disappeared into the Salonika community there (see Chapter 9). A concomitant immigration of this period was the aliyah of Salonika dock workers to Haifa. Initiated by previous Salonika immigrants to Haifa who recognized the necessity of having Jewish dock workers at the new port being constructed by the British, they persuaded Abba Khoushi, a prominent Haifa labor leader, to bring in the only Jewish dock workers in the world. Eventually some five hundred came, with their families. This community played an important role during the Arab strike and subsequent Arab Revolt (1936–1939), which was called by the Mufti Haj Amin al-Husseini, as they kept the ports of Haifa and Tel Aviv open, preventing the crippling of the Palestinian economy.15 Throughout the interwar period, the government in Athens remained unstable and experienced several coups. The stasis between the monarchists and the Republican ­Venizelists eventually led to



Germans and Jews in Greece

e­ stablishment of the Metaxas dictatorship on August 4, 1936, ostensibly to counter an imminent Communist revolution. The Constitution of Greece defined the country as a democracy whose state religion, Orthodox Christianity, enjoyed numerous privileges. The government saw one of its primary tasks as fostering both Hellenism and Christianity among the population. From this perspective, the government was wary of establishing foreign schools, whether benignly as in the case of the United States (then always considered a neutral friend) or as agents of foreign influence such as the British, French, German, and Italian schools. From the national perspective, the Judeo-Spanish schools of Salonika and the Francophone institutions of the AIU fell within this xenophobic category and constituted a threat to the Hellenic educational system in the country.16 On the other hand, foreign influence brought in commercial opportunity, technological development, and a generally higher level of Western education rarely available at exclusively Greek institutions. If the foreign schools could be forced to introduce a solid Greek curriculum into their educational requirements, it would offset their perceived pernicious influence. Thus the Greek government was not averse to the immigration of foreign scholars into Greek higher educational institutions, as long as it could demand an increasingly Greek content in the curricula of the foreign schools. Hence the government could absorb foreign scholars even in its own universities of Athens and Salonika, and moreover encourage graduates to pursue medical and technological studies in foreign universities. Numerous young Greeks took this opportunity to study in Austria and Germany, where long-established Greek communities in Vienna and Berlin were able to support them. Greece in turn welcomed foreign scholars, professionals, and technicians from all Western countries, particularly Germany, so long as they would abide by the national principles of the Greek state. Archaeological schools, long welcomed in the Kingdom of Greece, were centered in Athens and granted concessions to excavate throughout the mainland and islands. These schools gave an academic respectability to foreign influence and also trained generations of students in the intricacies of the host country. Foreign physicians and foreign-trained Greeks maintained private practice or were attached to government

Germans and Jews in Greece

or foreign-run institutions. Foreign capital was invited to establish factories, while foreign technicians and engineers were welcomed for their administrative contributions to the underdeveloped economy. As long as taxes were paid and Greek independence respected, the country offered varied opportunities to foreign investment, including the availability of cheap but hard-working (occasionally unruly) and intelligent (albeit inefficient) labor. Various natural resources, among them chromium and tobacco, could also be exploited by more sophisticated European combines. Greece thus entered the orbit of an economic Drang nach Südosten, which was the traditional hinterland of Austrian policy and the imminent focus of post–World War I German expansion into the Balkans. Nazi Germany took full advantage of the economic opportunities in the Balkans and the vacuum resulting from the British, French, and American restrictions on credit to Greece and purchase of goods, and effectively exploited them to her own purpose. During the 1930s, imports of agricultural products were constantly increased so as to create a huge trade deficit, which Germany was then able to use to buttress her negotiations with these poorer countries. By 1936, Greece had some thirty million Reichsmarks of debt frozen by Germany.17 Although this tactic worked to Germany’s advantage in world markets, the Balkans suffered from lack of cash flow. Moreover, Germany resold the surplus from her Balkan orders for cash, which in turn was used for purchase of necessary war materials. During 1934–1936 Germany bought nearly half of Greece’s tobacco exports and resold much of it below cost.18 Such tactics undercut normal Balkan markets and increased their dependence on German orders; Greece became Germany’s largest creditor in the Balkans. In June 1936, Hjalmar Schacht, the Nazi minister of economics, visited the Balkan capitals to alleviate the problem of blocked Balkan funds. He offered these governments German arms against the frozen credits. In this way, during the last three years before World War II Germany became the main source for Balkan rearmament.19 The introduction of high-quality German military equipment into Greece increased that nation’s influence among the Germanophile ­elements within the military (primarily monarchists)20 and exacer-



Germans and Jews in Greece

bated internal tension with the Venizelist officers, many of whom had been trained in French and British schools.21 Thus Germany appeared in the popular eye as a better friend to Greece than Britain, to whom Greece owed nearly £15 million in postwar refugee settlement loans, a situation aggravated by constant British reminders of the necessity for repayment.22 German influence on the economic level was followed by cultural infiltration; newspapers inundated Athens kiosks with Nazi publications replacing Socialist and Communist papers by the mid-1930s. Greek newspapers in the strictly controlled press of the Metaxas dictatorship added to this pro-Nazi propaganda. Pomerank, a German bookshop, was considered by leftists to be 150 percent Nazi (!), while his leftist rival, Kaufmann, barely survived.23 German governesses even began to replace English nannies, which facilitated the spread of the German language, and in the long run pro-Nazi propaganda. Nazi aid to potential supporters increased during the 1930s. Already in 1932, funds were allocated to the anti-Semitic EEE in Salonika, to help spread its influence throughout Greece.24 The EEE, however, failed to establish itself outside the environs of that northern port where the main recruitment was among unemployed and disaffected Anatolian refugees (primarily Black Sea immigrant youths). A report on the EEE’s attempt to establish a chapter in Ioannina emphasized its alien character. Two Greek Nazi organizations were established in the late 1930s: the Greek National Socialist Party in Salonika and Der Band der Hitlerfreunde.25 Both were insignificant, and one became a front for homosexuals. The Auslandsorganisation was more effective than either in organizing Germans living and working in Greece. In his September 1936 visit to Athens, Josef Goebbels, the Nazi minister of propaganda, gave a speech in support of the Metaxas dictatorship that strengthened the stature of those pro-Nazis already in positions of power.26 At the end of his visit, which witnessed public book burnings near the university campus, all leftist literature was proscribed and possession warranted imprisonment. Thus continued the witch hunt begun in August against Communists and anti-Fascists, as well as other opponents of the dictatorship, which lasted until the outbreak of the Italian war; it was to underlay the stasis in Greece for the

Germans and Jews in Greece

next generation. Konstantine Maniadakis, the undersecretary of public safety, was given special police powers, and he remained in contact with his counterparts in the Gestapo, including Heinrich Himmler.27 Pictures of Hitler and ­Goebbels soon hung alongside those of George II and Metaxas.28 A Greek youth movement, EON, modeled on the Hitlerjugend, was instituted by Metaxas. Though Jews were officially not allowed to participate in EON, this prohibition was observed in the breach both in towns and in rural areas.29 Hermann Goering as well made a state visit to Greece in 1936.30 German Jews in Greece were not overtly visible; many of them functioned within the German community, although that community was divided among pro-Nazis and anti-Nazis along with an apolitical minority. The Nazi government directed the Auslandsorganisation to recruit all Aryan Germans to the cause of German propaganda. Occasionally this led to violence within the expatriate German community. During the 1930s, when Germany was encouraging the emigration of Reich Jews, many went to Palestine via Greece, while a few stayed for various reasons. Systematic emigration increased in response to new government pressures, especially after Kristallnacht (November 8–9, 1938). Eventually an attempt was made to organize this emigration more efficiently and gain some political capital. The 1939 correspondence between Heinrich Schlie of the Hanseatisches Reisebureau (with offices in Vienna and Berlin) and his SS contact in Berlin, Herr Hagen, illuminates the Greek connection in this forced emigration. Schlie’s travel bureau arranged to charter Greek steamers to transport the forced émigrés from Austria.31 His Greek partner and middleman (Mitarbeiter) was identified as Constantine Nikolopoulos, whom Schlie characterized as “an intimate friend and very close confidant” (ein intimer Freund und engster Verstreuensmann) of Metaxas. The latter reported that the Greeks were inclined in principle to cooperate in return for a German supply of requested weapons to resupply their reorganized army.32 On June 17, Schlie emphasized that this complicated arrangement would lead to close political rapprochement between Germany and Greece.33 Negotiations were quickly undertaken with a Greek Foreign Ministry official and a representative from the Economic Ministry in Athens. Schlie, who was in contact with Adolf Eichmann, requested Berlin’s



Germans and Jews in Greece

authorization.34 Subsequently a telegram from Helmut Knochen, bureau chief of the SD (Sicherheitsdienst) in Berlin, informed Eichmann officially of the deal on July 6.35 In this way, an arms-for-Jews deal was negotiated at the highest level between the SS and the Metaxas government. Unfortunately for those Jews who hoped to emigrate, the deal was finalized on the very eve of the outbreak of the war—too late for it to have the desired result of organizing the emigration of the Austrian Jews. Greece would constitute a transit stage for Jewish emigration, even if the Greek government was not directly involved. For example, the AEG (Allgemeine Elektrische Gesellschaft, the parent of the Greek power company, established by Emil ­Rathenau in 1887; he was succeeded by his son Walter in 1915) in Berlin had about 260 Jewish employees out of some fifty to seventy thousand, which according to the Nazis made it, curiously yet characteristically, a Jewish firm. When the Jews were dismissed after the Nazi rise to power, “in a decent way,”36 the American company General Electric, a shareholder of AEG, assisted the displaced workers to emigrate to the United States, Egypt, Palestine, and China. The route to the Near East passed through the Athens office of AEG, where refugees received assistance in the form of travel visas to Egypt and money.37 Greek-Jewish sympathy for the plight of German Jews changed markedly during the 1930s and increased after Kristallnacht. One example comes from a report in the early 1930s by the AIU director in Ioannina, who related that the local Jews believed the problems developing among Germany’s Jews were the result of their strong tradition of assimilation over the past century.38 In 1938, however, on the Sabbath following Kristallnacht, there was a moving Friday evening service in Ioannina that commemorated the tragic outrage.39 The impact of the pogrom, coupled with the reports of the plight of Central European refugees, were no doubt factors in the generous contributions made to refugee relief by Greek Jews over the next two years.40 These refugees created another burden for the Jewish communities of Athens and Salonika, who were already suffering from the difficult economic conditions in Greece. Their own meager funds were exhausted by the necessity to feed, clothe, and occasionally house these

Germans and Jews in Greece

refugees (a mitzvah Greek Jews had been extending to Western and Eastern refugees for centuries). The communities turned again and again to the American Joint Distribution Committee, which furnished matching funds throughout the decade both to the service of refugees and to domestic needs, especially housing in Salonika. A special relief committee was formed in Athens, which provided supplies for German and Austrian Jews in transit. A report from the Comité de Secours aux Réfugiés in Athens to the Joint indicates that the Athens community alone spent almost as much in eight months on refugee relief as the total for its proposed 1939–40 budget and supplied more than half of the money collected for relief.41 The report also comments favorably on the friendly attitude of the Greek authorities, who granted temporary and transit visas. However, it notes without comment that the Greek consulate was loath to issue visas, especially to refugees; therefore no mass arrival of refugees was to be expected. This report was issued precisely at the time of the secret negotiations between the Greek government and Berlin over use of Greek steamers in return for German arms. Hence it sheds light on the skill of the Metaxas regime to accrue advantages from both sides of the investment, though not without political complications. At the very same time, the Greek government was under pressure from Great Britain not to issue the transit visas, which would allow these refugees to reach Palestine (see Chapter 9). British policy was dictated by the imminent issue of the infamous 1939 White Paper that would restrict Jewish immigration to Palestine to seventy-five thousand over the next five years.42 The Greek communities freely made these efforts on behalf of German and Austrian refugees. Unfortunately, such attention detracted from a more serious assessment of the potential danger to their own safety in the years to come. There was no thought of a German threat to Greek Jews, and the minimal emigration of local Jews continued for the same economic and Zionist reasons that had initiated the earlier exodus during the interwar years (see Chapter 9). It was only in Rhodes that there occurred a mass deportation of local Jews in 1938, following the Fascist Order of Expulsion, which happily depleted about half of that community’s population. Many of those expelled from Rhodes



Germans and Jews in Greece

went to the Belgian Congo, where a community had flourished already for several decades; others went to homes or relatives in Europe or the United States, where they joined their compatriots in New York and Seattle. The last important group of Central European refugees comprises the fascinating story of the Czech Beitars, their odyssey on the ship Pentcho, and their sojourn in Rhodes from 1940 to 1944.43 In retrospect, the impact of Austria and Nazi Germany on the Jews of Greece prior to the war was mixed. The former helped to develop an early post–World War I diplomatic position for Salonika Jewry, and during the interwar years there was increased economic activity between Austria and Germany with Jewish customers (especially the tobacco entrepreneurs of Thrace and Macedonia) as part of their developing commerce with Greece. In Salonika, there were even negotiations to purchase German ovens for the local baking of Passover matzoth.44 German-speaking Jews passed through Greece or sojourned there. A few even came for extended careers, most notably Rabbi Zvi Koretz (who became chief rabbi of Salonika; see Chapter 4) and travel agents such as Jacques Albala. Nazi Germany’s policy to force emigration of Reich Jews had a profound impact on Greek Jewry, particularly in helping sustain the refugees in transit (sometimes a prolonged process). Occasionally, Greece was seen as a vocational oasis and an area of opportunity in a Europe increasingly closed to Jewish migration. In both these cases, the hospitality of Greece and her Jewish communities was a welcome and rare haven in the storm-tossed 1930s. It was from this pool of German-speaking refugees that the Gestapo later drafted many of its “volunteers” to organize the ghettoization and deportation of the Greek Jews of Salonika.

T h r e e In Victory and Defeat

From the initial invasion to occupation by the Axis, Greece fought for nearly seven months. In the first stages (November 1940 through February 1941), she defeated Italy; in turn the German invasion of April 1941 overran the mainland in three weeks, and by the end of May the Axis had completed the conquest of Crete. World War II came to Greece in the predawn hours of October 28, 1940. Though unwanted, it was not unexpected. Both Allied and Axis plans targeted Greece as a theater of operations or occupation. It is not our purpose to rehearse the Greeks’ defeat of the Italian forces, or the politics and strategy of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) in Greece and Crete. Our story is primarily concerned with the military role of the Jews in Greece from October 1940 to June 1941, and the vicissitudes of occupation during the period preceding the first stages of the Nazi implementation of their Final Solution of the Jewish Problem (see Chapter 4). Troops were already on the march when the Italian ambassador woke Metaxas at three in the morning on October 28, 1940, to present Mussolini’s ultimatum to the Greek government. By the time Metaxas conferred with the king and the British and formulated his reply to the ultimatum—a resounding oxi (no!)—Italian troops had crossed the border and were advancing on Ioannina. Outnumbering the Greek forces by nearly four to one and supported by tanks and aircraft (though most were grounded owing to inclement weather), the Italians were overconfident as they descended the Pindus range and approached the rain-swollen rivers. The battle at the Kalamas River was a prelude to subsequent Italian defeats. It was followed by a series of stunning Greek victories and the stabilization of the front inside Albania through the winter of 1940–41. Mordekhai Frizis, a Jew from Chalkis and the hero



In Victory and Defeat

of that battle, was promoted posthumously to colonel.1 In the nineday battle, Frizis’s units repulsed all the Italian attacks and took many prisoners. A strafing airplane killed Frizis on December 5 near Parmati along with four Jews from Larissa.2 Frizis was one among numerous Greek Jews who served in the campaign. Greece mobilized a total of 300,000 men to repel the Italian invasion; Jewish community figures record the mobilization of 12,898 Jews. Whereas the total population of Jews in Greece was about 75,000, this estimate should be treated with caution.3 However, given that some 9,000 Jewish males of Salonika of conscription age (fifteen to forty-five) were to report to Plateia Eleftherias (Liberty Square) in July 1942 for registration in Nazi forced-labor gangs, the figure does not seem impossible, if we recall that able-bodied males who had served in 1919 were called up in the later stages of the fighting against Italy.4 Greek Jewry still commemorates the loss of 613 dead and 3,743 wounded,5 a 34 percent casualty rate, nearly three times more than the overall 12 percent Greek casualty rate. The Greek response to the Italian invasion resulted in a shift of timing and momentum of the Nazi war plans. Although British troops landing on Crete on October 30 temporarily boosted Metaxas’s morale, Greece never received the planes and ammunition promised by the ­A llies and needed to stave off Axis attacks. Indeed U.S. planes earmarked for Greece were available only after her surrender.6 The Greek breakthrough on December 3 to Aghioi Saranda (Port Eddo), the capture of Argyrokastro on December 8, and the victory at Klissoura (mid-January) sent Greece into paroxysmal euphoria. Tens of thousands of Italians were taken prisoner; more than a quarter of Albania was occupied, and the whole Italian position in Albania was threatened. The Allies in turn were elated. Greece gave the Axis a blow to its prestige that would mark a positive shift in the Allies’ confidence, albeit short-lived. The stalled spring offensive, which Mussolini personally supervised, was only part of his general worry: British victories in North Africa, East Africa, and Ethiopia signaled the end of any future Italian threat.7 Hitler meanwhile had already decided in November to intervene and had his General Staff prepare a force of nearly half a million men, codenamed Operation Marita, which would quickly overrun ­Yugoslavia and

In Victory and Defeat

Greece. The arrival and deployment of the BEF, consisting of an Australian and a New Zealand division supported by imperial and native troops from Palestine, Cyprus, and India, finalized Hitler’s decision to destroy Yugoslavia and invade Greece. The Greek army in Albania refused to abandon its gains in the face of the German threat, and the German move through Yugoslavia in April effectively cut off the Greek army, which was then encircled by the combined Axis forces. After some initial hard fighting, General Tsolakoglou recognized the inevitable and negotiated a surrender of his forces to the Germans.8 The Greek prisoners (including Jewish POWs) were released after a month, following Hitler’s speech of May 4, 1941, that praised their bravery and fighting skills. The Greek army was unique in that it was not interned by the Germans. Without transport, thousands of demobilized soldiers walked hundreds of miles to their homes, now under German occupation. A number of young Salonikans who had immigrated to Palestine in the 1930s were among the 2800 volunteers from the Yishuv in the BEF.9 The “Palestinians” (2400 Jews and 400 Arabs) were integrated among many units (only 25% were allowed sufficient arms for self defense); they saw service in all phases of the British campaign and participated actively—even defending General Wilson’s headquarters in Thebes—as the organized retreat deteriorated. The dockworking units saw service in Volos, while others distinguished themselves on the night of April 6, when a munitions ship was destroyed in a German raid on Piraeus.10 Companies 603 and 606 worked through the attack and subsequent fires. Company 604 built an airfield near Larisa in mid April. During the battle of Crete, the Pioneer units who unloaded ammunition ships in Suda Bay during the continuous German air raids were cited honorably for their service. In the chaos of the British retreat, only a few of the Palestinian units were evacuated, and these thanks to the intervention of the attached British leaders who recognized the danger of Nazi animosity to Jews. Others advised them to escape and some made it to Crete. A handful succeeded in returning to their families in Salonika and later either joined the andartiko or suffered during the subsequent occupation and deportation. At the end of May, only 350 Palestinians were evacuated



In Victory and Defeat

from Crete to Egypt.11 The remainder of the volunteers were captured at Kalamata (about 1500)—these spent the remaining war years in German stalags, were killed at sea or at their duty, a loss to the war effort of over 80% of the Jewish volunteers. A special force of Palestinian irregulars, trained as sappers by Nicholas Hammond, had engaged in operations on the Greek mainland as far north as Salonika, and later saw service in Crete.12 After many adventures (notably several German fighters being shot down in machine gun duels), they succeeded in reaching Egypt, where they continued to serve with the British. Later twenty-five special parachute volunteers from Palestine were trained as radio operators and assigned to units sent by MI6 Cairo to drop into occupied areas and assist downed ­A llied pilots and organize local resistance.13 These latter efforts had little effect on the war however and often resulted in the loss of brave men and women. At the end of the war, the survivors of these last two units formed the nucleus of the group that would later establish the wellknown Israeli secret service, called the Mossad.14 The story of the withdrawal of the king and his government to Crete, and their subsequent escape to Egypt under British auspices, has been well heralded since the end of the war. The fates of the national treasury and the Greek cabinet however have only recently come to light. Minos Levi, one of the two directors for the Greek National Bank, was responsible for organizing and supervising removal of the gold supply of the Greek government to prevent its capture by the Germans. None of the British memoirs mention the gold-filled truck that accompanied the king’s odyssey through the Cretan mountains to rendezvous with the British cruiser Dido, which carried the guardians and roughly thirty-five million dollars in gold bullion to Cairo, where the Greek government-in-exile established itself.15 A hitherto unpublished story is the rescue of the Greek cabinet and their families from ­Mersin, Turkey, to which they had escaped, via Istanbul, to Haifa in summer 1941 aboard the Palestine merchant vessel Antar under Captain Anzel.16 At the time the captain was unaware that his ship, which British intelligence had engaged for the secret mission, was protected by a British submarine during the twenty-four-hour voyage. The British, with the support of the Greeks, returned to the Dode-

In Victory and Defeat

canese Islands in September 1943, during the transition from Italian to German occupation (see Chapter 8). It should be noted that tragically neither the Jews of Crete nor those of Kos would be evacuated during the brief periods of the British occupation, and only a cursory mention of the Cretan community, more as a curiosity, would be noted in the 1941 memoirs of Palestinian Jewish volunteers.

Graecia capta et rapta Victorious German units rolled into Salonika on April 9, 1941 and into Athens on April 27 amid the sympathetic cheers of some Greeks and the silent gazes of others. German nationals were absent; they had been, for the most part, interned along with those, including a number of Salonikan Jews, holding Italian passports.17 In Salonika the air was still filled with smoke from the burning oil that Nicholas Hammond and his BEF Palestinian sappers set afire. Elsewhere the victorious Germans marched over the detritus of the scorched earth the retreating BEF had created just a few days earlier. Soon British POWs would be put to work on repairs, and by July 1942 Salonikan Jews would be organized in Todt labor battalions to rebuild communications.18 Immediately with the occupation, German actions against Jews began. Special police units circulated in the major cities with arrest lists previously prepared by fifth columnists and German “tourists.” These lists, included in the Report of the Sonderkommando Rosenberg in Griechenland (also referred to as Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg), contained the names of intellectuals and political leaders of the Jewish communities, along with their addresses and institutions; the lists also included Jews and non-Jewish Greeks in the Masonic order.19 Many of those who knew they were suspect took the opportunity to flee south with the retreating British forces. Some went as far as Athens, others to Crete; only a few succeeded in reaching Egypt.20 Others fled east across Thrace, but most who crossed the Turkish border were sent back by border troops. Only one rabbi and his family were allowed to pass on to Palestine, according to Dr. Marco Nahon of Dhidhimotikhon.21 The ratio was not much greater at other border crossings. It seemed that permission to cross into Turkey required the presence of a relative in



In Victory and Defeat

Istanbul. Later, smugglers organized escape routes through Thracian ports in the Bulgarian zone. Arrests included numerous Freemasons among whom were a number of Jews; the entire Jewish community council of Salonika was arrested as well. Rabbi Koretz remained at large, however; he was in Athens seeking support for his community. The U.S. ambassador, ­Lincoln MacVeagh, reported to Washington that he met with Koretz and turned over to him a percentage of the funds raised in America for Greek War Relief. (He was the only available recipient in Athens of the money in MacVeagh’s possession.) MacVeagh presumed that as American Jews had contributed to the fund, Greek Jews were entitled to a percentage of the money.22 Greek military officers were arrested (some Jewish officers recall being sent out immediately to forced labor) and interrogated, including a number who were cashiered before the Italian invasion for being antimonarchist and anti-Metaxist. Some of the best line officers thus sat out the war, according to Stefanos Sarafis;23 their plight was compounded by the same policy of exclusion among the new government in exile in Egypt. There too they were discriminated against for their politics. Preconquest politicians were also arrested and found among the hostages taken, the latter sub poena mortis in retaliation for future attacks against Germans. This policy illustrates the importance of the above-mentioned rescue of the Greek cabinet in summer 1941. Then the looting—or, to put it more properly, confiscations—began. It was both systematic and individual. Greek produce—animal, vegetable, and mineral—was seized, both to provision the army and to send back to a Germany desperately short of supplies.24 This wealth included chromium, timber, tobacco, fish, olives, and similar commodities. Immediately following the conquest of Crete, the German commander promulgated an order forbidding the slaughter of animals.25 This order suggests that the body of occupation law known from conquered Western Europe was introduced into Crete, if not elsewhere in Greece as well.26 By August 1941, Jewish stores on the island were ordered marked with the sign “Forbidden to Germans” and the general secretary of Crete, [Georgios] Daskalakis, was ordered to supply lists of all Jews in Crete.27 Throughout Greece, wealthy Jews were arrested and their businesses

In Victory and Defeat

sequestered. Automobiles and bicycles were requisitioned. Apartments were taken over by German officers and men, especially in Kifissia, ­Psychico, and central Athens; in Salonika, however, officers in the occupation forces were billeted among polyglot (including German-speaking) middle-class Jews who remained in their homes and served their new boarders, occasionally passing on information to Resistance circles.28 Already by May the mainland was facing shortages of food. Bread, the staple of the Greek population, was in short supply and soon was rationed. Milk was already so scarce that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Hellenic Red Cross, along with the American philanthropic groups, were quite concerned. The sentiment in Athens recalled Thucydides’ twin scourges of war, famine and pestilence.29 Famine was apparently a by-product of the German rape of Greece, as opposed to official Nazi occupation policy implemented elsewhere (especially Poland). The first to suffer in Greece were the demobilized Greeks and refugee Serbs who had no extended families to protect and feed them.30 The stranded Cretan Division was especially frustrated at being left on the mainland during the evacuation and thus not able to be at home to defend the island against the German invasion. Later it would be interned in Larissa, where more than five hundred died of starvation. Wounded soldiers were thrown into the streets as the Germans commandeered all the hospitals in the country for their wounded, whose numbers increased as a result of the fierce battle for Crete in May. Needless to say, there were minimal rations if any for the British POWs forced to work, or those wounded or whole in the Corinth holding camp. The Greeks responded in various ways. For example, on May 30, 1941, the German occupation flag on the Acropolis was torn down. A reward was posted and the perpetrators threatened with execution; a week later, the swastika was torn down a second time.31 Women and children shared their meager rations with the soldiers starving in the streets. In their memoirs, young Greek Jews recalled their own similar contributions. To the consternation of the occupiers, Greeks would cheer the appearance of British POWs.32 Others collected and passed on information to any foreign consul who they thought could get it to the British still fighting in Crete. Eventually this information gathering



In Victory and Defeat

was systematized for the remainder of the occupation, and along with aid to British POWs it was one facet of the urban resistance.33 However, passive disobedience would be the main response of urban Greeks until the recurrent strikes, first mobilized by EAM in mid-April 1942, gave an outlet to repressed hostilities. The black market phenomenon developed early in the occupation. On the one hand, it sponged up much of the surplus wealth of the country; on the other, it facilitated distribution of otherwise unavailable foodstuffs. Eventually much of this network was absorbed into the overall resistance movement, where it was systematized, but not until the civilian population had sustained heavy losses from the famine. Italians and Germans shot anyone suspected of being involved in the black market; occasionally the famine was used as an excuse to cover execution of starving individuals caught in possession of food for their families. Nazi newspapers reported on these incidents and occasionally mentioned execution of Jews. There is little evidence in these reports that Jews were responsible for the black market, so mention of their identity as Jews may be lip service to the general tone of Nazi anti-­Semitic propaganda. Systematic debriefing of refugees in Istanbul and Cairo during the war along with postwar Jewish memoirs preserve an accurate record of the declining availability of food and the soaring of prices. Eventually Germany would make some formal attempts to stabilize the drachma. More important, importation of wheat from Rumania was organized by Hermann Neubacher, whose wife was a Rumanian Greek, and by the last year of the occupation the dearth of food ceased to be a fatal problem.34 Jews and Christians shared the hardships and terrors of the first year of occupation, so much so that many Salonikan Jews who fled to Athens returned to their homes and businesses. The situation had changed, however, following the summer of 1941. Greece was now dismembered and divided among the Axis powers, a policy that was to affect the rhythm of the Holocaust in Greece. Hitler gave Mussolini the bulk of mainland Greece and her islands, reserving for his forces Salonika, its harbor and hinterland, and most of the island of Crete. A small German force was stationed in eastern Thrace to separate the Bulgarians from the Turks. The former received Western Thrace and parts of Yugoslavian and Greek Macedonia as their reward for joining the Axis.

In Victory and Defeat

The fate of the Greeks—Christians and Jews—would differ according to the individual policies of each occupier. Bulgaria immediately absorbed the new territories and, as in World War I, embarked on a program of Bulgarization through introduction of a new administration, new priests, and a new educational system that stressed Bulgarian language and culture.35 Greek priests were persecuted and Greek-speaking peasants were driven out. Massacres were not uncommon—the revolt in Drama and Kavalla at the end of September 1941 was savagely repressed, resulting in some fifteen thousand Greeks killed—and eventually the German zone was flooded with tens of thousands of refugees.36 Many Thracian Jews had memories of Bulgarian rule during World War I, and indeed some still remembered the language.37 But they had now become Greek citizens and, though given new Bulgarian identity cards, refused to support Bulgarian claims to Thrace.38 Hundreds of young Jews were drafted for labor battalions; thus many, despite the hardships of the experience, escaped the deportation of March 1943 and the starvation that preceded it.39 Two to three hundred Jews were among the thousands of Greeks sent to construct a railroad on the ­Siderokastro-Simitle line where it enters the Rupel defile. According to an ICRC report,40 the workers were sufficiently clothed and adequately fed. But in general the Greek and Jewish population of the Bulgarian zone received significantly smaller rations than the Bulgarians.41 By the middle of March 1943, the Red Cross delegate estimated that nearly eight thousand Jews had fled the Bulgarian zones of Thrace and eastern Macedonia and were trapped in Salonika alongside the forty thousand Jews there.42 Whatever the accuracy of his figures, which seem too high for the Jewish refugees,43 the impression is that large numbers of Jews as well as Christians fled the Bulgarians to seek refuge in the German zone. The situation in the German zone was stabler at first and somewhat milder in comparison to the Bulgarian occupation. Greek ­Jewish ­memoirs tend to gloss over the first fifteen months of occupation, noting only the arrests of Rabbi Koretz, along with the community council, and despoliation of selected rich industrialists. The tragedy of the deportations of spring 1943 is remembered as a culmination of the



In Victory and Defeat

process of harassment that began only in July 1942 with the forced registration of some nine thousand men and their recruitment for labor battalions.44 It may be useful, therefore, to survey the first period of occupation and the Jewish response to its effects. Only a few Jews witnessed the arrival of the Germans in Salonika, even though the enemy entered the town along the harbor promenade that fronted the Jewish business area. Shlomo Arukh, who was seventeen in 1941, recalls the community’s fear at the German arrival, which burst into the city amid the roars of tens of motorcycles accompanied by a huge military band. They came from the south and turned toward the east in the direction of the end of the trolley line. The motorcycles proceeded very slowly, perhaps five to six kilometers per hour. After the motorcycles marched a huge company of regular infantry. A great fear seized me when I remember this picture. In the space of two–three weeks they invaded Jewish houses and confiscated them for themselves. This was the beginning of the end for Salonikan Jewry. I try to recall the atmosphere of the invasion day, but I cannot recall specifics surrounding that fear. We knew we were in a period of war, but we did not know that the Jews would be the primary victim.45

Most Jews understandably stayed at home. They already knew of the persecutions in Germany and Austria from the many refugees who had arrived in Greece since the late 1930s. The community was shocked by the arrest and imprisonment of its council and leading individuals. Others, such as journalist Barukh Shibi, fled with the retreating British. Jewish newspapers were ordered closed, as were all the Greek ­media, save for the pro-German papers Nea Evropi and Apoyevmatini. Saby (Sabbetai) Saltiel, a relatively weak-willed individual, was installed as president of the community. No council was appointed to manage local affairs. Indeed, a formal Judenrat was established only in spring 1943 after the arrival of Alois Brunner (although we shall see that evidence indicates creation of the Judenrat in December 1942). As food supplies dwindled, committees were established to supplement the limited resources of a host of communal institutions. The Jewish community of Salonika had more than a dozen self-help agencies that were put to the test during the first two years of the occupation. They included the Matanoth LaEvionim (Gifts for the Poor),

In Victory and Defeat

which served about five thousand meals daily to Jewish children, along with a liter of fresh milk to fifteen to seventeen hundred babies. This effort should be correlated with the efforts of the Swiss Red Cross, the ICRC, and the municipal institutions during the horrific winter of 1942.46 Needless to say, it is doubtful that the Jewish community received assistance from the occupation government as it had regularly done from the prewar Greek governments (above Chapter 2). The strain on the communal budget was now even more severe, to say the least, with the community having to support its ninety synagogues with their staff of sixteen rabbis and assisting bureaucracies in addition to the central administration of the community. Another organization, Ezrath Holim (Aid to the Sick), served about twenty-five thousand individuals through one hospital and three dispensaries, one each in the Regie Vardar, Kalamaria, and District 151 quarters. The extensive group of self-help organizations that were the pride of Jewish Salonika continued working overtime as well. They included the Allatini Orphanage, founded in 1910 by former students of the AIU, which housed and educated three hundred orphans; and the Aboab Orphanage, founded in 1925, which trained forty girls for domestic life and a trade. A third, Torah u-Melakha (Religious Instruction and Work), established after the fire in 1917, assisted children with school supplies and vocational training. In addition there was the traditional Bikkur Holim (Visiting the Sick), which maintained the Baron Hirsch Hospital (two hundred beds, of which one hundred were free of charge) and two dispensaries; Malbish Arumim (Clothing the Poor), founded immediately after the 1917 fire; Yeshua Ve-­Rahamim (Redemption and Loving Kindness, i.e., social welfare), which supplied heating; and Hakhnasat Kallah (caring for orphan brides). All of these charitable institutions were officially disbanded in late February 1943. During the famine winter (Hungerwinter, as the Germans called it) of 1941–42, most of the eighty Jews who died daily were children. Jacques Revah,47 the head of Matanoth LaEvionim, which was closed early in the occupation, convinced Saby Saltiel to reopen the kitchens of his organization in order to feed these starving children. Saltiel agreed to use the Allatini Orphanage as a cover. Revah then went to Kostas ­Zannas, president of the Hellenic Red Cross, to arrange for food. Payments were



In Victory and Defeat

set up through Elia Allalouf, who was the director of the Amar Bank. Zannas advanced funds for three hundred meals, which Revah stretched to five hundred; eventually his group was feeding some five thousand. Another committee of ten women and twelve men undertook to raise more money.48 After August 1942, assistance came from the supplies sent via the ICRC to Salonika.49 Holding a Spanish passport, Revah was not restricted in his travels. Hence, even after the Germans fenced off the Baron Hirsch ghetto in February 1943, Revah was still able to transport supplies obtained from the Hellenic Red Cross. By February 25, 1943, the ghettoization process initiated on February 6 was complete and the various committees went to work. Soup kitchens were established in every building to give residents at least one hot meal daily. The impoverishment of the community during the previous year necessitated the special committee to raise money. All this effort culminated in the request of Revah’s group to supply food for the first transports of Greek Jews deported to Poland. The German authorities graciously accepted the offer, and they even added a supply car to store the food for the approximately twenty-eight hundred people for the anticipated two-week journey. The car carried ten thousand kilograms of bread, four thousand kilograms each of dried figs and raisins, thirty-five hundred kilograms each of olives and jams, three thousand kilograms each of lemons and oranges, all of which was gratefully unloaded when the train arrived at Auschwitz—but not for the passengers of that transport. Arrangements were also made with the Hellenic Red Cross to obtain medical supplies for Greece, much of which was transported on ICRC trains from Switzerland. One of the more serious problems for Salonika in general was the care of wounded and invalid veterans whom the Germans evicted from the Jewish hospitals. The events of July 11, 1942, which came as a shock to the community and remained in its collective memory as the beginning of the end for Salonika Jewry, were well orchestrated. Saltiel was informed beforehand that all male Jews from the ages of fifteen to forty-five would be required to report early that Sabbath at Plateia Eleftherias (located in the commercial center of the city); a notice to that effect appeared in the anti-Semitic collaborationist press, which had increased its vitriolic

In Victory and Defeat

attacks against the Jews at the beginning of the month. Only those Jews holding foreign passports were exempted. Approximately nine thousand men presented themselves and stood under the hot summer sun, where they were subjected to physical and mental abuse, not the least of which was the deliberate violation of the Jewish holy day.50 German guard dogs attacked anyone who collapsed. Many were wounded and several died. The registration was so slow that it had to be continued on the following Monday. The new ICRC representative in Salonika, René Burkhardt, forced the Germans to allow him to make a list of the wounded. Burkhardt’s conscientiousness earned him the attention of the Gestapo, which started a file on him that was to thicken over the next twelve months. In subsequent weeks, the Todt Organization, under the overall ­direction of Albert Speer, formed labor battalions for work in the Italian zone: rebuilding the railway from Katerini to Larissa, completing the airfield begun by Palestinian Pioneer units during April 1941, and constructing a railroad station and effecting repairs at Thebes and elsewhere in Greece. The work was harsh, the men unfit, and the environment mephitic. Losses were heavy. Prof. Reuben Bonfil recalled for me his childhood trip from Larissa to Athens—his father was taking him to see a throat specialist—and his vivid memory of a Jewish worker shot to death over a piece of bread thrown to him by a passenger. In the beginning, a few men escaped to the mountains, so the Germans began to shoot hostages in retaliation. Out of collective concern, the Jewish workers ceased to exercise the easy option of freedom in the mountains. Once again, the report of the ICRC representative to Geneva shows what kind of information was available in the west: Most of those registered [about nine thousand] have already been called up and sent to build new roads in malaria infested regions (during the malaria season: August to October); insufficient nourishment, insalubrious hygienic conditions, and a near total lack of medicine, especially quinine. There are many deceased and most of those “mobilized” have malaria or dysentery.51

A summary of Burkhardt’s oral report in Athens adds his prognosis: “There is no need to organize deportations of Jews and Greeks: famine and malaria suffice to eliminate them.” 52



In Victory and Defeat

The community was seriously concerned about the agony of the forced labor and initiated efforts to release the men from this debilitating burden. Itzhak Nechama, one of the forced laborers, testified at the Eichmann trial: “We had many casualties; many people had died. So the women went to our Community, they cried and caused an uproar there. And the heads of the Community decided to buy off the work of the Jews.”53 When the council was sufficiently primed, Max Merten, Kriegsverwaltungsrat, in his capacity as liaison to the civilian population, proposed a plan to ransom the men for three billion drachmas, a not insignificant amount even given the raging inflation. The council, through its lawyer Yomtov Yacoel, negotiated the price to two billion drachmas. This new tax on the community raised an important issue: whether the Jews with foreign passports should also contribute. A number apparently protested to both the Jewish council and their respective “national” consuls. Community observers noted the class distinction between the wealthy, many of whom held foreign passports, and the masses of Jewish workers who were Greek citizens. In general, the latter did not have an effective local voice to protect them from German designs. Yacoel went to Athens to try to collect money from the wealthy ­Salonikan refugees there. Despite his best efforts, not enough was raised. Merten next offered to transfer the extensive Jewish graveyard (with more than half a million graves), parts of which the municipal authorities had been actively trying to get for the past generation.54 The deal consummated, the men—starving and in rags—were brought back to Salonika in December 1942 in time to witness the despoliation of the graveyard, the insult to ancestral bones, and the piles of recycled bricks and marble slabs sold to contractors. The earth was plowed and branches of the university planted there by the city. Salonika was one of the few places where the Germans allowed Jewish graveyards to be destroyed. Edgar Thomashausen, director of the Athens Electric Company, was shocked when he heard about the destruction of the graveyard. “Why, they don’t even do that in Germany,” he said to the Gestapo officer with whom he was having coffee in Athens.55 The attitude to the forced labor of the Jews might be compared with the attempt of the Germans to enlist Greek volunteer workers for the Reich. By October 1941, only 550 Greeks were to be found among the

In Victory and Defeat

3.5 million “volunteer” workers, mostly Poles. During the summer of 1941, Salonika had more than thirty thousand unemployed, in particular in the textile industry, which was controlled by the Jews.56 The Commission for the Recruiting of Greek Workers for Foreign Work in Salonika initiated a drive for volunteers in January 1942. Some fifteen to twenty applied initially, and by the end of 1942 only 11,977 had volunteered. Disgusted that only one-third of the anticipated Greek workers were registered, the Germans suspended recruiting. During the spring of 1943, rumors that a compulsory mobilization of civilians was about to begin—actually Gen. Alexander Löhr ordered a civilian draft on February 1, 1943—were followed by massive strikes in Athens. This forced the Greek government to deny such a policy.57 At the end of March, Rabbi Koretz, faced with the ongoing deportations of ­Salonika Jews, seized the opportunity to forestall the deportations and offered to increase the number of Jewish laborers from three thousand to fifteen thousand. Koretz also began a campaign to encourage the Greek Jews to accept this program. (Along with this campaign, he encouraged marriages among the youth.) Alois Brunner, Dieter Wisliceny (Adolf Eichmann’s delegates to implement the Final Solution in Salonika), and Merten exchanged arguments over the potential disruption of the deportation schedule. These protests went through channels, via the German consulate in Salonika, to Eichmann and Eberhardt von Thadden of the German Foreign Office, who dealt with the question of foreign nationals.58 Koretz’s request was rejected, and only the previously requested three thousand were drafted. The latter were deported to Birkenau in August 1943 on the last transport from Salonika. A comparison of the Salonikan reaction to forced labor to events in Athens is instructive. The capital witnessed a series of strikes through 1942 and 1943, ostensibly for economic reasons; at least that is how the Germans chose to understand them.59 The question may be raised as to why was there no protest, by Jews or non-Jews, against Nazi policies such as forced labor in Salonika. The Jewish leadership cannot be blamed. Its community council, rabbis, and teachers were not aggressive leaders. True, they (especially Rabbi Koretz) had actively supported the war against Italy, but their leadership was that of religious scholars and businessmen. The community ethic was to make things run better, not



In Victory and Defeat

to revolt. Indeed, the Revisionist activists had already left Salonika for Palestine by the mid-1930s. But there was still a strong labor base among both Jews and Christians in Salonika. It was only six years earlier, in May 1936, that massive protests by tobacco workers and other laborers in Salonika and northern Greece necessitated police intervention. The May strikes served to justify the coup of Ioannis Metaxas on August 4, 1936 (that is, to save Greece from the Communists). True, Metaxas subsequently imprisoned more than two thousand leaders and activists of the KKE Party, but among Communists the absence of political leaders does not obliterate the movement. Still, the ­German policy of executing opponents taken as hostages led to the deaths of several Jewish activists in December 1941, among them David Samuel, David Tiano, and Alberto Carasso.60 Moreover, the reemergence of avowed and recanted Communists and a broader base of Republicans and Socialists in the Resistance in 1943 make the silence of Salonika in mid-1942 even more deafening. The question remains: Why did the Jewish masses in Salonika submit and their coworkers not protest, while in Athens Greeks and Jews protested together, although to little avail? A combination of two factors may illuminate this question. The Jews of Salonika were noted as being most correct, even to the point of obsequiousness, to the German authorities.61 This observation could be repeated throughout occupied Europe as a general characterization of the Judenrats and of the communities they ran.62 In general Nazi policy was to appoint subservient individuals as representatives of the communities under occupation. Others were replaced or more likely shot. In Athens, on the other hand, the Italians and not the Germans were in control, and the former were masked somewhat by the façade of the Greek occupation government. The Greek Resistance had utter contempt for both the Italians and the Greek politicians. In addition, given the laxity of the Italians and their deep rivalry with the Germans, against whom they exaggerated their autonomy within the Axis, the Greeks had far more latitude for protest.63 Jewish leaders, many of them Zionists, such as Asher Moissis and Joseph Lovinger, worked with their Christian colleagues and friends to pressure the Greek government and the church to make statements and take actions in favor of equal rights and treatment for Greek Jews. In contrast to the Bulgarian zone,

In Victory and Defeat

where thousands were killed in the protests and uprisings in Drama and Kavalla, Greek losses in protest marches and strikes in ­Athens were numbered in the hundreds.64 Moreover, the secularized nature of the Jewish leadership in Athens, which included many Zion­ists, encouraged them to work more closely with a growing resistance phenomenon. Conversely, in Salonika the German army and the ­Gestapo faced a politically passive leadership. Nor should it be underestimated that the Jewish leadership of Salonika had been born and raised under Ottoman domination. Thus there was a residual experience of working with a benevolent government, an experience that dominated Jewish relations with the national and local Greek authorities in the north even under occupation.65 The records of the French consul in Salonika stress the close relations between Jews and the Greek military authorities in Macedonia and their participation through joint ventures in public health and other areas as well as by hosting receptions with these public authorities.66 The successful policy of the German occupiers to let the national Greek authority remain in power no doubt calmed some of the fears of Jewish leaders that a specific anti-Jewish program was planned for them. Thus the conclusion derived from all the available evidence seems to indicate that Jews in particular and Greeks in general, in the north and mutatis mutandis in the south as well, considered their fate during the first year or so of the occupation to be not much different from the harsh experience of Greece in general.67 Moreover, it seemed that although the next year was perhaps somewhat harsher (and especially brutal in the Bulgarian occupation zone, which was now annexed to the kingdom and being depleted of its Greek character), there still was not a planned policy of extermination against the Jews in the German zones. Only after the deportation of Salonika’s Jews during spring 1943 would the Jews of Athens reassess their position and become somewhat prepared, with the aid of Jews in the Resistance and their allies throughout EAM, to face the initiation of Nazi anti-Jewish policy during the fall of 1943. Even then the relative safety of Italian occupation lulled their apprehensions and ill prepared them for the roundups of spring 1944. Map 2. Road communications in Greece (over).


F o u r Vernichtungsorganisierung


The Endlösung, or Final Solution of the Jewish Question, was the end product of the Nazi policy to expel the Jews from the Reich that evolved in its methods from expulsion to mass murder between 1933 and 1945. That story has been studied in myriad books, articles, memoirs, and encyclopedias since the end of the war, although the Greek experience has yet to be integrated into the mainstream of what is called today Holocaust Studies. The question for our study is, When was the decision made to implement the Final Solution in Salonika and its environs? The Wannsee Conference of January 20, 1942, discussed the principles and procedures of the Endlösung, but not the schedule. Still, it may be considered the official death sentence, already decided in previous months and now delivered in camera to the top echelons of the SS and relevant governmental agencies. If we can accept Dieter Wisliceny’s otherwise self-serving memory, the command sequence from Hitler to Himmler took place sometime between April and May 1942 (although Rudolf Höss avers a mandate from summer 1941, which seems more likely), while Wisliceny himself was informed of the decision in the following summer. The scheduling of the Greek transports was determined by January 1943 or even before. A clue in this regard can perhaps be derived from the decision to close all foreign consulates in Salonika, except for the Italian, in November 1942. This would have the effect of removing one of the listening posts of the Allies in the heart of this militarily sensitive area. Yet why wait for some twenty months after the occupation of the city to do so unless there was another reason behind that obvious security maneuver?


The general war situation may well have some bearing on the decision. November 1942 witnessed a series of military disasters for the Axis. Rommel’s defeat at El Alamein signaled the imminent loss of Libya and initiated Rommel’s long retreat across the desert. There he found his rear threatened by the Allied landing in the Maghreb, which was followed by a rapid Allied advance to take Algiers and Casablanca. The Allies hoped to liberate French Algeria and thereby induce Vichy France to switch to the Allied side. Rommel could regroup in Tunisia, but henceforth he would be threatened by Eisenhower to his west and Montgomery to his east.1 The German Sixth Army under General Paulus, now trapped between the Don and the Volga, would be forced to surrender in January 1943. Against this background, Hitler had to reassess his position in the Balkans, which was now becoming increasingly vulnerable, and there were no reliable indications, save for British feints, where the Allies would next attack. Accordingly, Hitler reorganized the Balkan front in his war directive of December 28,1942, as preparation for a possible invasion against Crete, the German and Italian bases in the Aegean, and the Balkan Peninsula. As part of the preparations, the Commander-in-Chief South East was ordered to finish the “pacification of the hinterland and the destruction of the rebels and bandits of all kinds, in conjunction with Italian 2nd Army.”2 The commander was made independent of his former subordination to C‑in-C South and was now to control Croatia, Serbia, Saloniki-Ägäis, Southern Greece, Fortress Crete, coastal defenses in the Aegean, and the military attaché in Sofia (for the Thracian coast). At the same time, the destruction of the Gorgopotamos Bridge on November 25 signaled the return of the British to mainland Greece and the concomitant threat to Axis communications from Salonika to Crete to North Africa. These developments may have resuscitated in Hitler’s mind memories of World War I and the Salonika front and stimulated concern about another potential Balkan dilemma, as well as recalling the continued existence of the Jewish community of Salonika. Even if no direct written order was presented to Himmler (unlikely in any event), a verbal order would have been sufficient for Himmler to set Eichmann in motion with the goal of cleansing Saloniki-Ägäis of its Jewish population.




The closest we might get to such an order has recently been argued by Christopher Browning who analyzed a Fall 1941 report wherein ­Hitler “ordered” Himmler, in the presence of Chief of the OKW Jodl, Keitel, Heydrich, and others at the Wolfsschanze, that the Jews of Salonika be removed.3 The importance of this report and its implications demands a more expanded treatment. Browning, in his capacity as witness for the defense in the libel trial of David Irving vs. Deborah Lipstadt, analyzed the following passage from the diary of Gerhard Engel (Hitler’s adjutant at the time) to illustrate Irving’s tendentious use of sources. Himmler reports about the evacuation of foreigners (Jews) [Verlagerung von Fremdrassigen], comes to the situation in the Baltic and Ruthenien, mainly Riga, Revel and Minsk. Raises a question about the Jewish population in Salonika saying that Salonika was a city with one of the largest Jewish communities; danger of an entwinement of Jews and ­Levantines. F[ührer] agrees with him and demands that Jewish elements be removed from S[alonika] [F. pflichtet ihm bei und verlangt, jüdische Elemente aus S. zu entfernen.] To this end Himmler demands authority [verlangt . . . Vollmacht] and receives it. SD commandos will be deployed with reinforcement. Keitel asks if military command should be engaged. F[ührer] answers only if urgently need be. But asks Keitel to inform military command that Reichsführer SS [Himmler] had received authority that was not to be interfered with. [adjutant Rudolf] Sch.[mundt] and I [Engel] happy that armed forces and troops will not become involved.4

Browning’s testimony argued the authenticity and veracity of the Engel diary and resolved its chronological inconsistancies; he also expressed his caveats regarding use of this seminal material that “no serious historian can sweepingly dismiss it out of hand in the way ­Irving has done.” He emphasised that “it was Hitler who ‘demands that the Jewish elements be removed from Salonika’ and it was Hilter who granted Himmler the necessary authority to do so.” He supported his point by establishing that the meeting at Hitler’s Eastern Front Headquarters took place on November 2, 1941 [not October 2, 1941] following Himmler’s tour of the East and his report about the “evacuation” of Jews to Riga and Minsk. Then, from the relief expressed by Engel and Schmundt that the army would not be involved in the new task, namely the “evacuation” of the Jews from Salonika, Browning


deduced that everyone in the room understood clearly what deportation to Poland implied. We may now draw the conclusion that this entry, properly critiqued, may well be interpreted as the “smoking gun” for the only known Führerbefehl to be issued with respect to the holocaust of the Jews. A further question may be asked: Why were the Jews of Salonika so singled out in Nazi ideology? The Nazis were already quite informed of the importance of Salonikan Jewry through many reports by German and Austrian consuls since World War I and the then contemporary question: Who would get possession of this important entrepot of the Balkans. Later more detailed information became available via the numerous spies who passed through Greece during the 1930s. An indication of Nazi interest in Salonika comes from a letter written by Alfred Rosenberg, the Nazi ideologue, to Martin Bormann, Hitler’s eminence grise, just two weeks after the German invasion and occupation of Salonika in April 1941: “as you know,” he wrote, “one of the largest Jewish centers is in Salonika.” The same phrase would be repeated by Himmler in his report to Hitler the following November. Rosenberg’s observation to Bormann was six months before Hitler’s “demand” to Himm­ ler which was only a few months before the Wannsee Conference in January 1942, presided over by Heydrich who was also at the November meeting, that sealed the fate of about 11 million Jews in ­Europe, among them some 80,000 Greek Jews, two thirds of whom lived in Salonika.5 The timing of the deportation a year later may be argued from the following events. The earlier return of Rabbi Koretz in January 1942 to Salonika from the Vienna prison where he had been interned since May 1941 and his subsequent appointment in December 1942 as president of the Jewish community (now perhaps head of a Judenrat who would be responsible for deportations) constituted the initial stages of the process.6 Thus it seems a fair assumption to link the timing of the deportation of the Jews from Salonika with the reorganization of Saloniki-Ägäis in preparation for an anticipated Allied attack. In Hitler’s jaundiced perspective, the more than fifty-five thousand Jews constituted a considerable security risk.7 Nor would Salonika alone be affected. There is a direct link here with Eichmann’s decision to send Theodor Dannecker to Bulgaria to




negotiate deportation of the Jews of Thrace and Macedonia from this potential battle zone. Dannecker’s willingness to accept the figure of twelve thousand Macedonian and Thracian Jews in place of the twenty thousand Jews of Bulgaria,8 a figure that had been in discussion for nearly nine months,9 must be interpreted within this overall strategic realignment in which the Jews of Thrace, Salonika, and Macedonia would be cleared away, just as the Jews of Serbia and Croatia had been (save for those protected by the Italians). In the event the Allies were to open a second front in the Balkans, as Hitler feared, then there would be no Jews there to threaten or harass the German defense of these regions. It was on December 11, 1942, that Zvi Koretz, chief rabbi of Salonika, was made president of the Jewish Community of Salonika; in turn he demanded that a council be appointed as well, and six men were named.10 The existing community leaders objected to what they considered a coup, which was later ascribed to the rabbi’s hunger for power. Actually it was part of German policy to constitute a Judenrat that would facilitate destruction of the Jewish community.11 Saby Saltiel, who did not know German and had served ineffectually as president since April 1941, was no longer acceptable; Jacques Albala, even though he did know German, was persona non grata in the Jewish community for having terrorized the community, among other excesses, during the previous year.12 Now Koretz, who was fluent inter alia in German, Greek, and Spanish (in addition to being a first-class Orientalist), was seen to be a pliable agent in German hands. Postwar complaints against him for his role in the deportations, however, have obscured historical understanding of the situation. Koretz’s position in Salonika was somewhat unique. A graduate of the Berlin Rabbinical Seminary with a Ph.D. from the University of Vienna, he was singular among the heads of the wartime Judenrats in that he was not drawn from the local or regional Jewish community. To some, Koretz was an outsider, an ethnic alien in local eyes, despite his having been chief rabbi for more than five years. At the same time, however, he was well considered among the upper echelons of the Greek government and church hierarchy. According to one of Koretz’s fellow students from Berlin,13 most Eastern European Jews who studied at the Hochschule were from a


yeshiva background, gifted intellects but totally naïve politically. They had little understanding of the nature of the Nazi movement or its designs against the Jews.14 Indeed, a number of these East European Jews returned to Poland on the eve of World War II. Lehman asked what they would do when the Nazis came, and their reply was an evasive “Gott will hilfen.” Therefore it is not odd that, when Lehman asked Koretz, who was about to embark to his new position in Salonika, “What will you do when the Nazis come?” he brushed off the question. More important is Lehman’s observation that Koretz had a weak character. (Most of the Greek memoirs agree that Saltiel did as well, but then he was taken less seriously than Koretz for a number of reasons, not the least of which was that he was well known to his fellow Salonikans.) Koretz’s character is extremely important in assessing reports of his threatening members of the Judenrat to bring in the Gestapo to assist him in maintaining order and of losing patience with contentious members of the community. To date no psycho-historical analysis of Koretz has been attempted. We may suggest for the interim that Koretz is best described as a yeshiva scholar who earned a Western doctorate to his great pride. He was a dedicated scholar and competent community religious and diplomatic leader (his mastery of local languages and relations with the Greek Christian power structure attest to this), however harsh was his character in his new environment. He was incapable of handling the contentiousness of the outspoken Salonikan Sephardim, who were unhappy that an Ashkenazi, who was after all “a stranger in a strange land,” had replaced their beloved former chief rabbi, Hayyim Raphael ibn Habib.15 He was politically naïve vis-à-vis the Nazis and was completely fooled with regard to their intentions, as suggested by his internment in Vienna during 1941.16 Koretz was arrested in Athens in May 1941 and returned to Salonika only toward the end of January 1942, where he was again under arrest from June 1 to August 2, perhaps if not coincidentally to isolate him during the registration of July 11 lest he interfere, although Yacoel hints at a more internal political reason.17 His only recourse, given his character resources, was to bend before the awesome display of arrogance and power evinced by the Nazis. He was somewhat formal and inflexible toward his constituency, as his son re-




calls (“Father was a hard man”). His actions before his internment and his attempts to enlist aid for the Jews of Salonika, as well as his offer to be the hostage for the community, indicate his concern for his flock.18 Rather, it should be admitted that within the areas of his competence he performed his functions as chief rabbi well enough. Unfortunately, the areas of his competence were scholarly and religious in nature and were not what the community needed (that is, aggressive political leadership).19 In those areas of need, his character was insufficient to overcome the pressures of the situation. Still, it is doubtful whether any other individual whom the Germans chose to represent their policies could have done much more, given the death sentence that was handed down to a community burdened by old age and poverty and trapped in the midst of the powerful German army.20 The arrival of Eichmann’s Sonderkommando in Salonika on February 6, 1943, initiated a new stage in the destruction of the community. Officially known as the Sonderkommando der Sicherheitspolizei für ­Judenangelegenheiten in Saloniki-Ägäis, it settled in at 42 Velissariou Street in a confiscated Jewish villa. Its leaders, Alois Brunner and Dieter Wisliceny, lived on the first floor, and a formal garden was established with exotic plants imported for their aesthetic pleasure. The walls and ceilings were decorated with the wealth of the community’s upper class. The cellar was used as a torture chamber where wealthy Jews were interrogated.21 Local collaborators, including Agop Boudrian (a tobacco dealer familiar with the Jewish community) and Laskaris Papanaoum (a leader of the anti-Semitic EEE),22 served as interpreters. They helped facilitate the destruction of the community and enriched themselves in the process. Their work was assisted by a bevy of Jewish collaborators drawn from Central European refugees and local misfits.23 Brunner was an anti-Semite whose devotion to duty was exceeded only by his sadism. According to his colleague Wisliceny, his task was to orchestrate the liquidation of the Greek Jews of Salonika. This end he pursued with mordant zeal, and not without recourse to a ribald self-indulgence at the expense of the beleaguered community. The compound of the Eichmann Sonderkommando was soon filled with the treasures of four and a half centuries of Sephardi heritage, rapaciously collected through the torture of selected Jews in the cellars of


that building. Wisliceny, for his part and according to his self-serving testimony “only an observer” to this systematic looting, was preoccupied with his own mission as he defined it, which was to handle the delicate question of foreign national Jews in Salonika and elsewhere in Greece, including the Italian zone. To his incompetent credit, if this were indeed his brief (his actions in Salonika and Bratislava during the spring of 1943 suggest the claim to be somewhat tendentious), most of these found haven outside of Eichmann’s jurisdiction (see Chapter 9). Hauptsturmführers Brunner and Wisliceny arrived with a sheaf of decrees from Eichmann outlining establishment of the Nuremberg Laws in Salonika. These decrees were handed over to Max Merten, the Kriegsverwaltungsrat representing the Befehlshaber Saloniki-Ägäis,24 in his capacity as liaison to the civilian population. (Salonika, it should be recalled, was under the military jurisdiction of Army Group E, which superseded Eichmann’s authority according to Wisliceny.)25 Merten and Wisliceny signed these decrees and passed them on seriatim in the space of a few weeks to the Nazi-installed President Koretz. Koretz in turn distributed the orders to the various committees that constituted the leadership of the self-governing autonomous community of Salonika. Contemporary and postwar charges that Koretz was a collaborator, in retrospect, must be seen as an exercise in hyperbole, exacerbated by the terrible fate of the community under his charge. His subsequent internment in Bergen-Belsen, rather than sharing the fate of Salonika’s Jewish community in Auschwitz, cannot be seen as a reward for his activities.26 The German decrees were preserved by the community and published in the postwar study of Michael Molho and Joseph Nehama.27 Order I, dated February 6, 1943, and signed by Merten, marked Jews holding Greek citizenship with the yellow star and confined them to ghettos; Jews with foreign citizenship were excluded from this requirement. Order II, dated February 12 and signed by Wisliceny, stipulated the specifications for the Jewish star and defined “Jew.” In a mixed marriage, only the Jewish partner had to be marked. Order III, dated February 13 and signed by Merten, restricted Jewish movement and prohibited use of public transportation; private telephones had to be surrendered and current bills paid. Order IV, also signed by Merten on February 13,




extended the authority of Rabbi Koretz to include the parameters of the Befehlshaber jurisdiction.28 Order V, dated February 17 and signed by Wisliceny, forced Jewish businesses and professionals (doctors, pharmacists, and lawyers) to identify themselves as such with German and Greek signs on their shops and offices.29 Order VI, dated February 25 and signed by Merten, disbanded Jewish organizations and excluded Jews from others.30 In less than three weeks, the Jewish community went through all the stages of exclusion, marking, and ghettoization that characterized Nazi oppression. Two and a half weeks later, the deportations began. In the five weeks between February 6 and March 15, the pressure of the German reorganization on the Jews of Salonika kept the community completely off balance. Thousands of families moved their residences. Business was completely disrupted, at least in those shops still run by their erstwhile Jewish owners. Individuals worked night and day to carry out the commands. Committees were overburdened to the point of inefficiency. The rabbi was at the continued beck and call of the German authorities. Lists and more lists had to be made. Even school children were drafted to manufacture the yellow stars.31 What could be done to alleviate the chaos within the community and what were the options available for Christian Greeks and sympathetic foreigners to exercise on its behalf? The Baron Hirsch ghetto was the scene of the most intense action. The Germans had selected that quarter, located conveniently near the railroad station, as the transit point for the community. The area was named for the philanthropist Baron de Hirsch, who financed the quarter for the victims of the Kishinev and Mogilev pogroms in 1903 and 1904. Housing consisted of 593 rooms and was overcrowded with more than 2,315 poor Jews.32 The area was considered a breeding ground for disease as well as underworld activities.33 The twenty-three-year-old SS man Gerbing, assisted by his interpreter Hasson, was in charge of the ghetto. On March 4, the area was enclosed by barbed wire and illuminated by arc lights as befitted the prison it had become; five guard towers surveyed the perimeter and three gates controlled entry and exit.34 The local Greek constabulary guarded the gates, while a special Jewish police force of two hundred youths, organized by Jacques ­A lbala, kept order inside the camp. According to Sam Modiano, a num-


ber of prominent Jews arranged for their sons to be part of this police force to save them from the vicissitudes of Nazi sadism.35 Fifteen families from Langada, arrested and brought back by Edgar Kounio following Rabbi Koretz’s directive, were the first Jews to be resettled in the Baron Hirsch ghetto.36 Eventually up to twenty-five hundred Jews were crowded into the few blocks, and more would be added to make up the first transport of twenty-eight hundred that left on March 15, 1943. The community established various committees to help the Jews pressed into the ghetto. They set up soup kitchens, one in each building, which served at least one hot meal daily to the inhabitants. A special committee raised funds to buy the food and resources necessary for these efforts. Jacques (Isaac) Revah, who headed the Matanoth ­LaEvionim charity, had already established a good working relationship with Konstantine (Kosta) Zannas, president of the Hellenic Red Cross committee during the period of famine. He had access to the ghetto on the strength of his Spanish passport and delivered the supplies obtained from both the Hellenic Red Cross and the International Committee of the Red Cross, whose representative, René Burkhardt, showed considerable sympathy toward the Jews during the eleven months he functioned in Salonika.37 All this effort, however, was to little avail. In the course of the next three to four months, the streets of Salonika were regularly crowded with columns of Jews refilling the transit ghetto of Baron Hirsch. Ancestral treasures and heirlooms were traded in open-air flea markets at bargain prices for warm clothes to wear during the Polish winter, and for daily food.38 Elements of the local Orthodox population even composed songs about the Jews’ fate.39 Meanwhile, the rhythm and sequence of events in the Italian zone after September 1943 differed in several ways. The remaining Jewish communities, after all, were small—none more than two thousand strong—and were located along major roads and in island ports. They posed no perceived danger to the German army as had Salonika’s large Jewish community.40 The Nazis were infuriated that the attempts by both Gen. Alexander Löhr of the Wehrmacht and Gestapo agents had been unsuccessful in convincing the Italians to deport the Jews of their




zone of occupation in tandem with German deportations, and enraged by the failure of their increased pressure during July. They were quick to effect control over the Jews of Athens after extension of their authority there following the collapse of Italy in September. Jürgen Stroop, appointed higher SS and police chief (HSSPF) in August in response to the German High Command’s (OKW) request for a Gestapo police chief in Greece, left Berlin later that month for Athens via Salonika, with a staff of eleven assistants.41 On September 21, the Gestapo—that is, Wisliceny (head of Referat IV/4)—called in Rabbi Barzilai, who according to Nazi procedure would be made head of the Judenrat and chief rabbi, to demand lists of Jews. When the rabbi asserted that these lists had been destroyed during pogroms by ESPO, he was sent home for the Sabbath weekend to prepare new lists.42 Instead, the rabbi escaped to the mountains.43 The community took note. Help was sought in all directions; delegations of Salonikan and Athenian Jews went to political leaders and to Archbishop Damaskinos.44 A telegram was immediately dispatched to Jerusalem that is indicative of their despair, yet also full of confidence in their fellow Greeks: To-day we received your letter and your help [requested the previous month], which you sent us. We thank you very much. At this hour the town of Athens is terribly afflicted. Now, after the Italians left, the Germans rule the town and half an hour ago the chief-rabbi was ordered to them and told that the Jews of Athens would have the same fate as the Jews from Saloniki. We have no strength to write to you. From now on we don’t know when and how our end will be. When your answer will arrive, we probably will then be in Poland. If you can help us, so hurry and do not sleep. The danger is great. Tell all this to those from whom we await our delivery. Ask immediately the greek ­radio [!] in London and Cairo to tell our greek brothers in Athens what their duty is in those [sic], for us so anxious, hours, they should help us with what they can. . . .45

Thousands of Jewish refugees who fled to Athens were already in hiding; they remained there or went to the mountains. The wealthier Jews continued to make their escape from Greece via a resistance network to Turkey, whence they continued to Tel Aviv or Cairo.46 Once again, poor


Jews were caught without leadership on which they could rely. The new community council appointed by the Nazis consisted of Rabbi Elias Hadjopoulos, President Moïse Sciaki, and Vice President Isaac Kabelli with Moses Bivas and Moïse Samuel as interpreters.47 General Stroop, infuriated by the escape of the rabbi who was to be the agent through whom the Jews would be deported, published an order (October 3) in the local newspaper Elefthero Vima commanding all Jews in Athens to register at the synagogue; only two hundred signed up. The registration period was then extended to October 17.48 Further, the Greek government of Ioannis Rallis was forced to promulgate two laws confiscating Jewish property, ostensibly in retaliation for the poor showing.49 During the previous Italian occupation, Jews were allowed to continue doing business. Indeed, the depressed local economies encouraged many Jews from the islands (particularly Rhodes, which had been subject to Italian control since the eve of World War I) to come to Athens to ply various trades. The new Greek laws forced the remaining wealthy and middle-class Jews underground. The poor again suffered alone. It was this group of lower-class artisans and many now-impoverished and hopeless Salonikan Jews who registered at the synagogue. As the Germans were wont to feed pigeons or starving Greek children by throwing crumbs of bread out the window, so the Nazis used the synagogue as a distribution center to keep track of those who registered and reported each Friday and to entice more of the starving Jews out of hiding. This cat-and-mouse game continued for six months.50 Passover 1944. The Nazi bureaucracy circulated a rumor that matza (unleavened bread) would be distributed at the synagogue. About 350 men showed up. They were told to bring other Jews; then by using the registration lists local Greek police arrested their families. To their credit, most of the police refused to arrest anyone whose name did not appear on the list. As a result, a number of infants and children were spared. There are many instances, recorded by survivors, of the police taking direct action to separate children and encouraging the mothers to leave them with Christian neighbors. Some two thousand Jews in all were arrested and interned in the notorious Haidari concentration camp located near the Daphni monastery on the main road to Eleusis.51




On the night of March 24, 1944, all of the Jews who remained available were arrested in Athens and the other towns of the formerly Italian-occupied mainland. So most of the Negrin clan of Trikala was arrested, including Albert Negrin, who had spent the previous year as a recruiter for ELAS. That day he found himself outside Trikala and decided to spend the holiday with his family.52 Only fifty Jews of Trikala were arrested, however; nearly the entire community had already escaped to the mountains. Of the community of Larissa, only 255 were arrested and deported. Again, under the leadership of Rabbi Cassuto and with the aid of the resistance, most of the community escaped to the mountains. The same low percentage is manifested for Volos (130), whose Rabbi Pessah was assisted by the mayor and the chief of police to escape to the guerrilla-controlled mountains surrounding the city, and Chalkis (90), where ELAS was already organized in the rescue of Jewish refugees from Athens.53 Higher figures are recorded for Arta (352), Preveza (72), Patras (12 families); the 40 Jews of Agrinion, on the other hand, decided en masse to escape to the mountains.54 Nearly all of the communities of Kastoria (763), Florina (336) and ­Ioannina (1,860) were arrested and joined their co-religionists, the former in the holding camp in Salonika and the latter in Larissa, where they boarded the train that had left Athens for Auschwitz. Kastoria and ­Florina sit in the northern part of Macedonia close by Yugoslavia. Indeed, many Jews of Monastir crossed the border to find refuge in these Greek towns or to join local andarte (resistance) bands. Joseph Cohen of Florina, who joined the Resistance, sent a letter to his teacher Rabbi Moshe (Mois) Bivas to organize the youth. The rabbi replied that the partisans were Communists and refused.55 One can only assume the complete isolation of these communities, the successful tactics of the Germans in initially allaying any apprehensions, combined with a pervasive propaganda against the Resistance, and the effects of terror complemented by family solidarity to account for such a high percentage of arrests.56 Not so for Ioannina. There, from all surviving accounts and postwar studies, it was a failure of leadership that was responsible for the terrifically high percentage. In addition, the conservatism of the family and the antipathy of urban Jews to the “klephtes” (bandits) in the mountains were


contributing factors.57 The German policy of taking hostages for reprisal led to the arrest and incarceration after their arrival in October 1943 of, among others, Moises Koffinas, president of the community.58 His locum tenens was Sabetai Kabeli, a prominent merchant and sometime mystic who had no leadership skills. Indeed, when informed by the Germans that reprisals would be taken if youths escaped to the mountains, he allegedly had the mothers of these young people go and fetch them back. Meanwhile, Koffinas, who was rearrested in a general raid on Communists in the city, smuggled a message at the end of February or early March 1944 to Kabeli advising him to send the youths out of the city. Kabeli had to confront Koffinas in the Larissa holding camp during the deportation and answer for his inaction. His response, according to Simon Nachman, was: “I thought we should obey the orders and nothing would happen.”59 German policy was to find precisely this type of representative to facilitate their policy of deportation. If not Kabeli, then another would have been found as was done elsewhere in Greece and throughout occupied Europe. Only those willing to revolt against family and tradition had the potential to survive, and few Jews in leadership positions in the more traditional communities evinced such initiative. The Ioannina story expands our knowledge of the role of the German military in the organization of their Judenverfolgung (persecution of the Jews). There the Wehrmacht carried out the orders for deportation of the Jews in the absence of their commander, General Lanz, and his staff, who had hitherto prohibited SS meddling in his area of command. SS co-­option of the army would be continued with the addition of German naval cooperation in the island communities. Already in mid-August 1943, the First Mountain Division sent an intelligence report accusing the Ioannina Jews of collaborating with the resistance, so it was clear that the army, if perhaps inefficiently, monitored the community.60 The March 27, 1944, operations report from the field police records that the SD office in Athens sent an SS Lt. Col. Hafranek to Ioannina to supervise the evacuation; the Wehrmacht supplied the trucks and also controlled the Waffen-SS drivers and guards, as well as the Secret Field Police (GFP), while the local Greek constabulary was actively involved as well.61




The community (1,725 souls, constituting 95 percent of the registered Jews) was roused from bed at 5:00 a.m. and was out of the city before noon. GFP units watched over the subsequent sack of the abandoned Jewish homes and storage of the booty in a central warehouse. Some locals managed, occasionally at the cost of their lives, to loot for themselves.62 Eighty trucks drove the Jews over the icy pass via Metsovon through the winding snow-covered roads traversing EDES- and ELAS-controlled territory. There is oddly enough no reference to the deportation of Ioannina Jews in either contemporary British or Resistance reports. As the German occupation of Greece wound down and the Wehr­ macht prepared for a fighting retreat through the gauntlet of Greek Macedonia and Yugoslavia, there remained only the Jewish communities of the islands: Corfu and Zakynthos (Zante) in the Adriatic, Rhodes and Cos in the Aegean, and Crete in the Mediterranean. The individual Jews who had taken refuge and were hiding on other islands succeeded in becoming sufficiently invisible to remain untouched, so much so that even on the little islands individual Jews did not know of each other’s presence. Fourteen members of the Molho clan (Salonika booksellers) hid on Skopelos, while Lily Sciaki, openly known to be Jewish by the Italians and the Germans, taught in the local government school on Skopelos. Neither knew of the other’s existence.63 In June, 1,800 of the 2,000 Jews of Corfu were arrested and deported to Athens and then sent by train to Birkenau; the 275 Jews of Zakynthos were not arrested thanks to local politics and a breakdown in the military command. On June 8, approximately 265 Jews of Crete, arrested on May 20, were deported aboard the Danae along with 400 Greek hostages and 300 Italian soldiers. En route, the Danae mysteriously sank; the British claim the Germans blew it up (which is now the conventional myth in both collective memory and history books); contemporary German claims run from a storm off the coast of Attika to a British torpedo as the cause of the sinking. It seems that this last may be the most likely cause.64 The Jewish community of Corfu was totally unprepared for the German onslaught. The island, which had been briefly occupied by Mussolini in 1923, witnessed an upsurge in Italian-Jewish relations during the interwar period. When Italy capitulated in September 1943, the


­ driatic garrisons, including Corfu, refused to surrender to the GerA mans. The Germans blitzed them and slaughtered those who still refused to surrender (particularly at Kephalonia). The bombings of Corfu nearly razed the “ghetto,” and incendiaries burned two synagogues; there was also considerable loss of life. After the occupation, Italian soldiers, as survivors affirm, warned Jews to flee to the mountains. The Jews stayed, however, and following Stroop’s order continued to appear weekly at the local police. On April 21, 1944, less than a month after the Ioannina deportation, Maj. Friedrich Hammer, Abwehr chief in Arsakli, ordered a preparatory census of the Corfu Jews. (It is unclear whether the Wehrmacht acted on its own or whether each action was initiated by Eichmann’s replacement for Wisliceny, Hauptsturmführer Anton Burger’s office in Athens.) In its reply, Wehrmacht intelligence anticipated no problems in the planned deportation.65 But a problem did arise, and one that was no doubt unique in the annals of the Balkan Wehrmacht units. Oberst (Colonel) Emil Jaeger, the military commander of Corfu, recommended that the deportation be postponed. He began with the practical arguments, citing a lack of shipping, his greater concern with the Italian soldiers on Corfu, corruption of German soldiers through Jewish bribes, the passive resistance of Greek boat crews who sympathized with the Jews, and the presence of the Red Cross as a witness. Jaeger’s report is the only one in the archives of Army Groups E and F to use the word “ethical.”66 Jaeger asserted in his final argument that the deportation would cause “a loss of ethical prestige in the eyes of the population.”67 Much has been made of this term, and its uniqueness does require discussion. Still, it should be noted that Jaeger was attached to Lanz’s headquarters and therefore was aware of the latter’s successful delay in fall 1943 of the SS demand for the deportation of the Jews of Ioannina. His arguments, then, should be seen within the context of the Ioannina experience; they may be characterized as both logical and desperate. Lanz, as Richter argued, had categorically refused to assist deportation of the Jews. Burger, for his part, rejected out-of-hand Jaeger’s arguments. The SD in Athens made its own arrangements to circumvent any possible sabotage by the Wehrmacht commandant of Corfu.




In mid-May, Eichmann charged Burger, who had replaced Wisliceny in February, to expedite the deportations from the former Italian zone. Burger had already arranged with the navy for ships and at the end of the month went in person to make final arrangements. He carried out the orders even at the point of a gun, which he used to execute an unlucky Jewish prisoner.68 On June 8, the day after the Allies entered Rome, orders were issued for the Jews to gather within the walls of the city of Corfu. The following day, at 5:00 a.m., they were forcibly assembled, despoiled, and after an air raid confined in the Old Fort. Two days later a contingent of three hundred women (some pregnant, with midwives to assist them!) were ferried to Igoumenitsa and thence trucked overland to Athens. Over a period of days, the remaining captives were sent barge by barge to the island of Lefkada, where a couple of enterprising boys managed to escape. After two days’ internment, they were towed to Patras, where the Red Cross offered food and medicine. From there they went to Piraeus and were imprisoned in Haidari. On June 20, the eighteen hundred surviving Jews of Corfu were stuffed into cattle cars and deported to Birkenau. Corfu, it should be emphasized, is the only Greek city where we have clear evidence of an anti-Semitic response by the local government to the deportation. On July 9, 1944, Mayor Kollas issued an infamous proclamation that includes the statement, “Our good friends the Germans have cleansed the island from the Jewish riffraff. From now on we do not have to share [with them] the produce of our fields.”69 ­Kollas is a known anti-Semitic collaborator according to all reports and the Germans appointed him on the basis of these credentials. The anti-­Jewish attitude he reflects is part of the complexity of Corfu politics dating back to the late nineteenth century. Burger failed his brief but once, in Zakynthos (Zante). In a remarkable series of events, the 275 Jews of the island were saved from deportation. One reason may be that Burger himself did not personally take charge as he did in Corfu and Rhodes. When asked to supply the list of Jews, the mayor, Loukas Carrer, and Metropolitan Chrysostomos heroically submitted a list containing only their own names. There is a persistent rumor that the metropolitan sent a telegram to Hitler, his old


acquaintance, to ask for the Jews of Zante and received a positive reply. No such telegram has surfaced, however, and the survival of the Zante Jews is a more complicated phenomenon. We should note that the Austrian commander of the local garrison (a 999 Punishment Battalion)70 on the island was more concerned with boats for their evacuation than with the Gestapo-ordered deportation of a handful of Jews. So despite being registered and available, when the time came the Jews slipped off to the villages, where they were welcomed by the non-Jewish Greeks; thanks to guerrilla pressure on German patrols, nobody made a special effort to look for them.71 In July, 1,651 Jews of Rhodes and 96 Jews of Kos were arrested, shipped to Athens, and entrained to Birkenau.72 An eyewitness report assembled by an Italian Christian affianced to a Sephardi Jew relates the organization and deportation of the Rhodes Jews. On July 9, 1944, a German policeman entered the Italian office of statistics (Italians still controlled Rhodes despite the events of September 1943) and demanded the names of all the Jews who had registered in 1940. The Germans then noted, with information from their Greek informants, the names of those Jews who had engaged in anti-German activities. The Italians quickly spread the information about the lists, and both Greeks and Jews became concerned. The Jews in particular had moved out of Rhodes city following the heavy Allied bombing of the town in which they had sustained serious casualties and property loss. They were now spread out, some without shelter, in the surrounding villages. On July 12, the SS arrived by plane with Ino (Costa) Recanati, the Salonikan collaborator who had been reassigned to Athens after September 1943 and who previously accompanied Burger to Corfu. The Greeks of Rhodes, according to the Italian eyewitness Rino Merolle, were of mixed feelings as they spoke of the impending deportation.73 The July 16 issue of the “Messaggero di Rodi” called on the Jews to assemble in Rhodes city and the villages of Trianda and Cremasto, and not to travel without police permission. Merolle’s report adds a point that is not mentioned elsewhere, namely that “Berlin saw the Anglo-American encirclement of Rhodes constricting.” This is the only hint that there may have been a military excuse for the deportation, one somewhat similar to that argued earlier for the




Salonikan deportation. Whether the Germans actually thought this or rather put out the rumor to fool the Italians, who were not eager to deport Jews to their deaths, cannot be determined. It is of interest, however, that Merolle apparently accepted this perspective in May 1945. A second order was published for Jewish males over sixteen to report to the Italian aerodrome (at Tchemenlik) to have their identity cards checked. There they were sealed in the cellar without food or water. Any passerby who even cast a glance at the building was beaten by the SS. Several prominent Jews (Bohor Alhadeff, Jack Alhadeff, Mois ­Soriano, Haim Tarica, and Iacof Franco) asked for the protection of the Italian authorities. The podestà of Rhodes, Antonio Macchi, with his assistant Faralli, argued with the German authorities that, according to the agreement between Berlin and the rump Fascist government, all Jewish property was to be administered by the Italian authorities. Meanwhile the order to sack Jewish property was already in progress. On the following day, Raffaele Turiel, the most trusted of the Italians, went to inform the Jewish women to present themselves at ten o’clock or else the men would be killed. (This order was posted throughout the city on July 21.) He told the women to bring their gold and enough food for eight days. Father Angiolini, head of the Catholic community, procured food and water despite German prohibitions and beatings. Milk was obtained for the babies when Podestà Macchi ordered the administration’s stores to be opened. On July 22 the Turkish consul, Salahattin Ulkumen, demanded the release of 14 Jews with Turkish citizenship.74 Other Jews who held Turkish papers, but were not on his list, were deported. On July 23 the Jews were stripped of their valuables; some swallowed their rings, many threw away their gold, and burned their paper money lest the Germans get them. Even so, some three sacks of cash and three valises of gold and jewels were divided up among the Gestapo and their cohorts. Meanwhile Father Angiolini sent nuns to assist the Jews, but the Gestapo sent them away on the grounds that they did not have Red Cross bands. On July 23, the Jews were assembled in Rhodes and at 3:00 p.m. were brought to the harbor, where some small boats awaited them. Starving and thirsty, they were beaten, herded onto the boats, and sealed under the deck planks. The boats then left for Kos, where 96 Jews were added


to the transport.75 The Jews arrived in Athens, where they were interned and tortured in the Haidari concentration camp before deportation to Birkenau and the obliteration of Rhodes Jewry by mid-August. Meanwhile the Italian authorities had immediately set up committees to register the Jewish property.76 All the movable items were listed, hauled off to warehouses, and placed under the protection of the Guardia di Finanza di Rodi. All but a handful of the Jewish possessions, most of it perishables that the military governor of Rhodes, General Wagner, distributed to his soldiers on the outlying islands, was thus preserved. Germans moved into the Jewish houses, and the remaining vacant ones were rented; the Italian administration collected the rents until the arrival of the English.77 By the end of October 1944, the invading Germans were gone from Greece, and nearly 90 percent of prewar Greek Jewry was dead. The isolation and ghettoization of Greek Jewry followed patterns already worked out earlier in Nazi-occupied Europe, and it was only Italian on-site policies that granted to the Jews in their occupied zone a reprieve of one year and some opportunities for escape. The deportation of the Greek Jews was effected from March 1943 to March 1944 in two major stages; the isolated islands followed seriatim during the summer of 1944. The chronicle of deportations and the fates of the deported follow in the next chapters, before we continue with the story of the Jews who remained in Greece during the war.

Map 3. Railroads in Greece (over).


F i v e Chronicle of the Deportations

The destruction of the Jewish communities of Greece was efficiently completed in two stages. The first began in the spring of 1943 and encompassed the Jews of Salonika, as well as the Jews of Thrace and eastern Macedonia, who had fallen under Bulgarian and German control after the Axis partition of Greece in 1941. This stage terminated in the summer of 1943. The second stage, in the late spring and summer of 1944, included the Jews of western Macedonia, Epirus, Akarnania, Thessaly, Attica, Peloponnesus, and the islands of Corfu, Crete, Cos, and Rhodes. These were the areas in the Italian occupation zone, occupied by Germany following Italy’s withdrawal from the war on September 8, 1943.1 This chapter chronicles the successive transports from Salonika and Athens, and the fate of these Jews in Treblinka and Auschwitz.

Chronicle of Extermination: Stage 1 (Spring and Summer 1943)


The transports from Thrace went via Salonika, Bulgaria, Vienna, and Cracow to Treblinka, where all of the deportees were gassed and cremated on arrival. There were no Greek survivors; only some nightmarish memories by those who survived the Treblinka revolt (summer 1943) perpetuate the memory of these first Greek victims of the Nazi Final Solution. On March 4, 1943, the Jews of the Bulgarian zone were rounded up according to plans that had been meticulously arranged the previous month on February 22.2

Chronicle of the Deportations

The figures given here include nearly all the Jews of Thrace, excluding the few who escaped or were in jail or hospital. The 476 or 471 Jews of Serres were arrested by Bulgarian police at 4:00 a.m. and imprisoned in the tobacco factory belonging to a Greek named Marulos, along with 19 Jews who were living in the village of Zilyahovo. All but 3 of the 592 Jews of Drama were arrested and imprisoned in the tobacco factory near the spring of Hagia Varvara. In the freezing cold of predawn, 1,484 Jews of Kavalla were arrested and imprisoned in the tobacco warehouse belonging to the Commercial Company of Salonika. They were joined by 16 Jews from the island of Thasos, 3 from the island of Samothrace, and 19 from the village of Pravishte. All but 11 of the 537 Jews of Xanthi were arrested on March 4. On the following day, 11 Jews of Sarzh-Shaban were driven by car under guard to Xanthi, where they joined the first group for the train trip to the Bulgarian concentration camps at Gorna Dzhumaya and Dupnitsa in Bulgaria. Eight hundred seventy-eight Jews from Alexandroupolis (Dedeagatch) and 42 from Komotini (Gümülcune) were also arrested in the same action. Thus in one concerted sweep 4,058 of the 4,273 Jews in Bulgarian-occupied Thrace were arrested, imprisoned, despoiled, and sent off by train to Gorna Dzhumaya and Dupnitsa. Along the way, there was an efficient transfer, car by car, from the Greek trains to the narrow gauge Bulgarian trains at Demir Hisar (Siderokastro). The transports from Alexandroupolis and Xanthi arrived at Dupnitsa beginning on March 7. That camp was closed two weeks later. All of the Thracian Jews, except for five who had died at the camp, were sent to Treblinka, where on arrival they were slowly gassed with carbon monoxide.3 The transports from the eastern Macedonian towns of Serres, Drama, and Kavalla arrived at Gorna Dzhumaya from March 6 to March 10. There the Jews were interned at the Anton Raynov tobacco warehouse and two local schools. The transports left for Treblinka on March 18 and 19. First they went by train via Sofia (where the fares were calculated, presumably for later collection) to Lom, the port on the Danube, then by ship on March 20 and 21 to Vienna, and finally by train between March 26 and 27 via Katowice to Treblinka, where on arrival they were all gassed.4 Another ninety young Jews from Kavalla



Chronicle of the Deportations

were part of the third transport from the concentration camp at Skopje, which left for Treblinka on March 29. By the end of March, 97 percent of Thracian Jewry in the expanded Bulgarian kingdom were dead.5 On the eastern border of Thrace, where German troops were stationed on the Maritza River to act as a buffer between the Bulgarians and the Turks, the three towns of Dhidhimotikhon (Demotica), Nea ­Orestias, and Soufli remained under German control. The Jewish communities of these towns were all related; the Nea Orestias community was less than a generation old and existed as a colony of Dhidhimotikhon. On May 4, 1943, all the Jewish men of Dhidhimotikhon fifteen years of age or older were ordered to gather in the synagogue. There they were informed that they were under arrest and would be transported to Salonika for forced labor along with their families. Within two hours the entire community, numbering about 740 men, women, and children, were gathered with all their portable wealth in the synagogue. They were soon joined by the 197 Jews of Nea Orestias and 32 Jews of Soufli, who were brought there by truck. Late on May 5, they were sent to Salonika by train, a journey that took three days. On Sunday morning, May 9, they were settled in the Baron Hirsch ghetto. The following morning, approximately 1,070 Thracian Jews joined the 3,500 Salonikan Jews who formed the seventeenth Salonika transport, which arrived at Auschwitz on May 16.6 The task of deporting the fifty-six thousand Jews of Salonika, who constituted perhaps 25 percent of the city’s population, was assigned to the Wehrmacht forces, headquartered at Arsakli under General Löhr of Army Group E. The efficient operation, which lasted from spring through summer 1943, was a combined effort of the Feldgendamerie, Max Merten, Dieter Wisliceny and Alois Brunner (the latter two were Eichmann’s Gestapo emissaries), and the Reichsbahn. The community, ghettoized for but one month, was systematically depleted. All cash was converted into counterfeit Polish zlotys and the community billed for the train fares. The Reichsbahn, however, was never reimbursed for travel costs; the money disappeared, into either Merten’s private coffers or the Wehrmacht treasury.7 Nineteen transports are recorded as leaving Salonika, and nineteen

Chronicle of the Deportations

transports are listed as arriving in Auschwitz. These numbers are based on the calendar compiled by Danuta Czech of the Auschwitz Museum.8 Additional information was obtained from the Greek railway authority. Although there is an apparent problem with this number, the list offered below, based on the calendar and juxtaposed with witness testimony, chronicles the destruction. Some of the material included here anticipates the broader discussion in Chapters 6 and 7. This organization may resolve the problem of a missing transport, which emerges from a close analysis of the extant records. The first Salonika transport left on March 15, 1943 and arrived at Auschwitz on March 20. It consisted of 2,800 Jews from the ghetto of Baron Hirsch.9 These included an additional 50 Jews of Langada.10 Of these, 417 men were selected to enter the camp and tattooed with the numbers 109371–109787; 192 women were numbered 38721–38912.11 While these 609 entered quarantine, the remaining 2,191 (approximate; some had died en route)—aged, invalid, pregnant, and children—were gassed and cremated.12 Heinz Kounio (no. 109565) of Salonika was part of this first transport, which he describes in his memoir.13 The route was Salonika to Belgrade to Zagreb to Vienna to Auschwitz. Kounio indicates, however, that his train arrived at 11:00 p.m. on March 23,14 an error corrected by his registration card, which gives the arrival date as March 20.15 His father, Salvator, had a pronounced limp from an unsuccessful operation; still, he was kept alive to serve as an interpreter and survived the war. The sequence of the numbers among the first, second, and third Greek transports suggests that it was mainly Greek Jews who were selected to enter the camp between March 20 and March 25. After five months of forced labor, Bienvenida Pardo (no. 38861) was assigned to Block 10, the medical experiment barracks at Auschwitz. Two women from Block 10 later testified at the Dering v. Uris postwar libel trial (of Leon Uris; see Chapter 6). Elie Mordok (no. 109588) was shot with twenty-five other prisoners in Block 11, the execution barracks alongside Block 10, on May 22.16 Nine women were in the selection of August 21, 1943.17 The second Salonika transport left on March 17 and arrived on March 24. It also consisted of about 2,800 Jews from the ghettos of Hagia ­Paraskevi and de la Petite Gare (alongside the Hirsch ghetto)



Chronicle of the Deportations

who had been moved to the Baron Hirsch ghetto on March 15 and 16.18 Of these, 584 men were tattooed with the numbers 109896–110479 and 230 women were numbered 38962–39191. The remaining 1,986 were gassed. The corpse of no. 110037 was brought to the main camp morgue from the auxiliary camp of Neu Dachs (Jaworzno, Jawoczno) on August 19, 1943; he had been shot, possibly during an attempted escape.19 Haskiel Mallah (no. 110285) was taken from Block 11 (for condemned prisoners) on September 21, 1943, and shot.20 Nine males were listed in a Jaworzno report dated January 18, 1944 (see note 61). One woman testified at the Dering v. Uris trial. Twenty-seven women were in the selection of August 21, 1943. The third Salonika transport left on March 19 and arrived on March 25. It consisted of 1,901 Jews from the ghetto of Regie Vardar, who had been moved to the Baron Hirsch ghetto.21 Four hundred fiftynine men were numbered 110483–110941 and 236 women were numbered 39193–39428. The remaining 1,206 were gassed. Jacques Benosilio (no. 110554) and Samuel Faradgi (no. 110641) were taken from Block 11 on September 21, 1943, and shot.22 Four males were listed alive in ­Jaworzno on January 18, 1944 (see note 61). Twenty-seven women were in the selection of August 21, 1943. It is to this transport that the fate of Dr. Leon Cuenca is attached. On March 23, Merten issued a directive to the Jewish community announcing that Dr. Cuenca, who was affiliated with the Committee for the International Red Cross in Salonika and was physician to the Italian Consulate, had fled with his family. Therefore twenty-five Jews were to be taken as hostages and shot in the event of any further escapes. Moreover, the ghettoized Jews were put under curfew from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 a.m. on pain of being shot. Only Jews of foreign nationality and the ghetto police were exempted. Merten’s directive, following the pseudo-escape of Dr. Cuenca, was apparently designed to terrorize the Jews into further submission.23 Actually, agents of the Gestapo had kidnapped Cuenca and his family on the night of March 18 and smuggled them into the third transport. Dr. Albert Menasche learned the details only after his arrival in Birkenau.24 The story became an official part of the transcript of the Merten trial in 1959 through the testimony of Dr. Cuenca himself.

Chronicle of the Deportations

The fourth Salonika transport left on March 23 and arrived on March 30. It consisted of 2,501 Jews.25 Three hundred twelve men were numbered 111147–111458 and 141 women were numbered 39623–39763. The remaining 2,048 were gassed. Six males were still alive in Jaworzno on January 18, 1944 (see note 61). Thirteen women were in the selection of August 21, 1943. The four-day hiatus between the third and fourth transports from Salonika to arrive at Auschwitz raises the question whether there was a transport that somehow got sidetracked to the wrong destination. The railroad traffic center in Vienna records on March 25/26 that a train of some forty-eight cars from Salonika passed through Vrbca, Czechoslovakia, and Cracow to Malkinia (March 27), which was the railhead for Treblinka.26 If accurate—and there is little reason to doubt the possibility of a death train passing through Cracow being routed north to Malkinia rather than west to Auschwitz—then at least twenty-eight hundred to three thousand Salonika Jews were sent to Treblinka, perhaps “inadvertently.” Yankel Wiernik and Shmuel Willenberg, both of whom survived the Treblinka revolt, described the last moments of a Salonika transport. They noted the vicissitudes suffered by the Greek Jews, who were ignorant of their fate, and they recalled the impact of the well-stocked trains, which alleviated the famine among the prisoners in Treblinka.27 But was this in fact a lost Salonika transport? Molho and Nehama 28 list the departure dates for eighteen of the nineteen transports from Salonika. Danuta Czech lists the arrival dates for nineteen transports from Salonika. Several discrepancies arise that call into question the numbers that Molho and Nehama recorded, as may be seen from this list: Departure from Salonika Transport number, date No. 1, March 15 2, March 17 3, March 19 4, March 23 5, March 27 6, April 3 7, April 5

Arrival in Auschwitz Transport number, date No. 1, March 20 2, March 24 3, March 25 4, March 30 5, April 4 6, April 9 7, April 10



Chronicle of the Deportations

8, April 7 9, April 10 10, April 13 11, April 16 12, April 20 13, April 22 14, April 28 15, May 3 16, May 9 17, ? 18, June 1 19, August 10

8, April 13 9, April 17 10, April 18 11, April 22 12, April 26 13, April 28 14, May 5 15, May 7 16, May 8 17, May 16 18, June 6 19, August 18

There are several correlations between the two lists that are verified from survivor testimony. Dr. Albert Nahon records that his transport left on May 10 and arrived on May 16. These dates correspond to Molho and Nehama’s transport sixteen and Czech’s transport seventeen. There is also a clear correlation between the two lists for transports one, eighteen, and nineteen. The problem seems to lie perhaps in a missing transport from the Molho and Nehama list, between their transports numbered fourteen and fifteen, or between fifteen and sixteen, which should have left on or about May 1. There is, however, no record of such a transport, not even in the extant train tickets from Salonika found in Ausch­witz.29 Moreover, the latter give no date for their transport seventeen, which raises another problem. These tickets enumerate sixteen transports through May 9, and after that there were only two transports in May.30 Then they designate as transport eighteen the one that left on June 1. Therefore the question arises: When did transport seventeen leave?31 With respect to numbers, Molho and Nehama count 42,830 Jews deported after sixteen transports and 45,420 after nineteen transports. Czech lists 45,853 Jews arriving in sixteen transports and a total of 48,533 after the nineteenth Salonika transport. 16 transports, 42,830 19 transports, 45,45032

16 transports, 45,853 19 transports, 48,533

In both instances, there is a difference of about three thousand, in the range that constitutes an average transport.33

Chronicle of the Deportations

This extra three thousand may very well have belonged to the lost transport that Wiernik and Willenberg claim to have witnessed in Treblinka toward the end of March 1943. On the other hand, the departure and arrival dates seem to correlate to transport fourteen in both lists, with a five-to-seven-day trip for each train. The problem most likely lies between Molho and Nehama’s transports fourteen and fifteen, wherein they did not count a transport that left on April 30 or May 1. Further research may clarify this point; however, it still leaves the problem of the transport that was directed to Treblinka at the end of March. One solution may lie in the boatload of Thracian Jews that arrived in ­Vienna on March 26 and was sent by train to Treblinka via Katowice soon thereafter. These should not be considered as Salonika Jews, who were sent according to all recorded reports to Auschwitz. Still, it is possible that the confusion may have arisen that all the transports from Greece were considered as Salonikan in origin.34 The fifth Salonika transport left on March 27 and arrived on April 3. It contained 2,800 Jews.35 Three hundred thirty-four men were numbered 112307–112640 and 258 women were numbered 39964–40221. Only the Greek women were numbered consecutively after the fourth transport; the Greek males were entered into the camp along with other males.36 The remaining 2,208 were gassed. Three of the women survived the Block 10 experiments: Palomba Bensoa (no. 39965) remained in Block 10 until January 1945; Bella Chimchi (no. 39966), who claimed to have been deported in April, arrived in Auschwitz later that month; and Louna Gattegno (no. 40077), who claimed to have been deported on April 10 and arrived on April 18, where she was sent directly to Block 10. Another victim of Block 10 (no. 40204) testified at the Dering v. Uris trial. Samuel Cohen (no. 112413) was taken from Block 11 on September 21, 1943, and shot.37 Two males were listed in Jaworzno on January 18, 1944. Thirty women were in the selection of August 21, 1943. The sixth Salonika transport left on April 3 and arrived on April 9. It consisted of 2,500 Jews.38 Three hundred eighteen men were numbered 112974–113291 and 161 women were numbered 40280–40440. The ­remaining 2,021 were gassed. Twenty women were later gassed in the selection of August 21, 1943.



Chronicle of the Deportations

Moshe Shmuel remembers his arrival on April 8, which should place him in the sixth transport.39 His story amplifies the one remembered by Mordekhay Tsirulnitsky of Ostrino about the three rabbis from ­Salonika who were forced to send home an encouraging letter.40 ­Shmuel identifies two of the rabbis as Yitzhak Gilette and the community scribe Abraham Migi. The letter, written in German, was received in Salonika and doubtless was interpreted positively by Rabbi Koretz.41 Tsirulnitsky later relates a moving story from an anonymous transport: “Children from an orphanage were brought here on one of the trains from Greece. On the railroad platform the SS men wanted to separate the teacher from the children with whom she had arrived. She categorically refused to leave the children alone and, instead, she walked off with them to the gas chamber.”42 The seventh Salonika transport left on April 5 and arrived on April 10. It consisted of 2,750 Jews.43 Five hundred thirty-seven men were numbered 114094–114630 and 246 women were numbered 40537–40782. The remaining 1,967 were gassed. Several of the males were later victims in Dr. Horst Schumann’s sterilization experiments.44 Leo Hazan (no. 11436?) was captured trying to escape and sent to Block 11 on June 23; he was shot two days later.45 Simon Salter (no. 114095) was sent to Block 11 in Auschwitz I on August 27, 1943, on suspicion of attempted escape. He was shot during a large selection from Block 11 on September 4.46 Two males were listed in Jaworzno on January 18, 1944. Two men and one woman testified at the Dering v. Uris postwar libel trial. Twenty-five women were in the August 21, 1943, selection. The eighth Salonika transport left on April 7 and arrived on April 13. It consisted of 2,800 Jews.47 Five hundred men were numbered 114875–115374 and 364 women were numbered 40841–41204. The remaining 1,936 were gassed. Sarah Pardo, whose number was recorded as 76912 (perhaps a mistake by the interviewer), claims to have arrived at Auschwitz on April 15 and been interned in Block 10. Another Pardo (no. 115246) recalls having left on April 3 and arriving April 9; his younger brother (no. 115247) was given the job of peeling apples. Their residence was near the Great Synagogue in central Salonika, which helps locate the area from which the Jews of this transport were taken. Zako Rozen, the middleweight boxing champion, bore no. 115264. Salomon

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Chaciel (no. 114992) was taken to Block 11 on October 29, 1943, and shot on November 9.48 Only one male is on the Jaworzno list of January 18, 1944. Fifty-one women were in the selection of August 21, 1943. The ninth Salonika transport left on April 10 and arrived on April 17. It consisted of 3,000 Jews.49 Four hundred sixty-seven men were numbered 115848–116314 and 262 women were numbered 41354–41615. The remaining deportees, approximately 2,271, were gassed. One hundred women from this transport were the first victims detailed to Block 10. Ester Grottas (no. 41512) claims to have been deported on April 6 and arrived at Auschwitz on April 14. After six months of forced labor, she was placed in Block 10 toward the end of September and remained there for six months as a medical guinea pig in the sterilization experiments conducted by Dr. Clauberg and his associates. Ora Menashe (no. 41581) claims to have been deported on April 17 and arrived in Auschwitz on April 25. She was assigned on arrival to Block 10. Two other women (nos. 41579 and 41614) testified at the Dering v. Uris trial. Prisoner no. 115857 died in the Buna Auxiliary Camp and was transferred to Auschwitz I on May 26.50 Lieto Kapon (no. 116052) was taken from Block 11 and shot on September 21, 1943.51 Mordoch (no. 116044) and Salomon Cohen (no. 116046) are on the Jaworzno list of January 18, 1944. Sixteen women were in the selection of August 21, 1943. The tenth Salonika transport left on April 13 and arrived on April 18. It consisted of 2,501 Jews.52 Three hundred sixty men were numbered 116317–116676 and 245 women were numbered 41616–41860. The numbers for both men and women follow consecutively those of the ninth transport. The remaining 1,897 were gassed. Thirty-one women were in the selection of August 21, 1943. The eleventh Salonika transport left on April 16 and arrived on April 22. It consisted of 2,800 Jews.53 Two hundred fifty-five men were numbered 117199–117453 and 413 women were numbered 42038–42450. The remaining 2,132 were gassed. Moise Sarfati (no. 117428) is on the Jaworzno list of January 18, 1944. Fifty-five women were in the August 21, 1943, selection. The twelfth Salonika transport left on April 20 and arrived on April 26. It consisted of 2,700 Jews.54 Four hundred forty-five men



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were numbered 118425–118869 and 193 women were numbered 42882– 43074. The remaining 2,062 were gassed. Eight males are on the ­Jaworzno list of January 19, 1944. Twenty women were in the selection of August 21, 1943. The thirteenth Salonika transport left on April 22 and arrived on April 28. It consisted of 3,070 Jews.55 One hundred eighty men were numbered 118888–119067 and 361 women were numbered 43123–43483. The remaining 2,529 were gassed. One woman (no. 43339) testified at the Dering v. Uris trial. Forty-three women were in the selection of August 21, 1943. The fourteenth Salonika transport left on April 28 and arrived on May 4. It consisted of 2,930 Jews.56 Two hundred twenty men were numbered 119781–120000 and 318 women were numbered 43779– 44096. The remaining 2,392 were gassed. Itzhak Nechama claims to have remained in Salonika until April 26, which should put him in this transport, although he states that he was deported along with twenty-seven hundred Jews.57 As far as he knew, only ten Jews on his transport survived the war, none of whom were from his immediate family. Leon Benmayor (no. 119842) gave his testimony in 1990.58 Three males are on the Jaworzno list of January 18, 1944. Forty-one women were in the selection of August 21, 1943. The fifteenth Salonika transport left on May 3 and arrived on May 7. It consisted of approximately 1,000 Jews.59 Only 68 women were selected and were numbered 44259–44326. The remaining 932 were gassed. Four women were in the August 21, 1943, selection. The sixteenth Salonika transport presumably left in early May and arrived on May 8. It consisted of 2,500 Jews. Five hundred sixty-eight men were numbered 120650–121217 and 247 women were numbered 44380–44626. The remaining 1,685 were gassed. Daniel Carasso (no. 120812) was a pharmacist who was selected to work in the hospital of Block 19.60 The corpse of no. 120943 was brought to the main camp on August 19, 1943, from the auxiliary camp of Neu Dachs; he may have been shot during an “escape” attempt.61 Moses Benjamin (no. 120765) was taken from Block 11 and shot on August 20, 1943.62 Five males are on the Jaworzno list of January 18, 1944. Eleven women were in the August 21, 1943, selection.

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The seventeenth Salonika transport left on May 9 and arrived on May 16. It was the largest and consisted of approximately 4,500 Jews from Dhidhimotikhon (670 or 740), Nea Orestias (32), Soufli (160) in eastern Thrace, and Florina (372) and Veroia (660).63 The latter were arrested by Edgar Kunio of the Salonika Judenrat, among them 386 locals from Veroia and 170 Salonikans who took refuge there during the famine of 1941. Four hundred sixty-six men were numbered 121910–122375 and 211 women were numbered 44934–45144. The remaining 3,823 were gassed. Dr. Marco Nahon (no. 122274) and his son (no. 122275) were from Dhidhimotikhon, two of the twenty survivors from that town and Nea Orestias who survived the camps and returned to their homes at the end of 1945. Haim Salomon Calvo (no. 122060) from Nea Orestias testified to the fate of 1,000 Jews at Jaworzno.64 René Molho (no. 122213) remembered leaving on May 11 and arriving on May 16. His brother died from the medical experiments. Two males from this transport died in the Neu Dachs Auxiliary Camp.65 Eighteen males are on the Jaworzno list of January 18, 1944. Ten women were in the August 21, 1943, selection. The eighteenth Salonika transport left on June 1 and arrived on June 8. It consisted of 880 66 Jews from the Salonika Judenrat and its bureaucracy, including Spanish and Italian nationals who had been promised internment in Theresienstadt. Two hundred twenty men were numbered 124325–124544 and 88 women were numbered 45995–46082. The remaining 572 were gassed. One male is on the January 18, 1944, Jaworzno list. Three women were in the August 21, 1943, selection. This transport included many of the intellectuals and physicians who served the community during the period of the deportations. Dr. Albert Menasche was among them. The leaders of the Judenrat and their families (seventy-four individuals) were separated from the remainder of those selected and subsequently transferred to Bergen-Belsen (August 1943) which, in its initial phase, was a camp designed for hostages held for possible exchange or repatriation (see Chapter 7). The nineteenth Salonika transport left on the night of August 10/11 and arrived on August 18. It consisted of 1,800 Jews selected for forced labor in late March.67 Only 271 men were selected and numbered 136919–137189. The remaining 1,529 were gassed. Isaac Senior (no.



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137135) recalls that the young men from this transport were the first selected for forced labor in the ruins of the Warsaw ghetto and were transferred there in late September 1943 (see Chapter 7). David Zvi received no. 137142 and his brother no. 137141; they went to Warsaw in September.68 Salomo (Shlomo) Arukh (no. 136954), a champion boxer, remained in Auschwitz. The twentieth Greek transport left from Athens on April 2 and arrived in Auschwitz on April 11, 1944. It consisted of 1,500 Jews from Athens and other mainland towns of the former Italian zone.69 Three hundred twenty men were numbered 182440–182759 along with 113 women whose numbers were not recovered from the prisoner clerks’ unofficial records (possibly numbers 76856–77183). The remainder, which included 1,067 men, were gassed. Errikos Sevillias (no. 182699) describes this transport in his memoir, although he errs on the date of arrival.70 Daniel Bennahmias (no. 182477) served in the Sonderkommando but luckily survived the war to record his testimony.71 About 150 to 200 men from this transport were drafted into the Sonder­kommando, including Josef Sackar (no. 182739), Ya’akov Gabai (no. 182569), his brother Dario, Shaul Chazan (no. 182527), and Leon Cohen (no. 182492).72 Dino Daniel (no. 182543) from Veroia was transferred to Block 19. The twenty-first Greek transport left from Athens in mid-June and arrived on June 20.73 It consisted of some 2,000 Jews, about 1,795 from Corfu and the remainder from Athens and other locales. Four hundred forty-six men were numbered A15229–A15674 and 131 women were numbered A8282–A8412. The remaining 1,423, nearly all from Corfu, were gassed.74 Dr. Miklos Nyiszli, the Hungarian pathologist who served as coroner to Mengele and as physician to the Sonderkommando, described their arrival and demise in his postwar memoir: Last night they had burned the Greek Jews from the Mediterranean island of Corfu, one of the oldest communities of Europe. The victims were kept for twenty-seven days without food or water, first in launches, then in sealed box cars. When they arrived at Auschwitz’s unloading platform, the doors were unlocked, but no one got out and lined up for inspection. Half of them were already dead, and the other half in a coma. The entire convoy, without exception, was sent to number two crematorium.75

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The twenty-second and last transport from Greece left Athens in early August and arrived in Auschwitz on August 16. It consisted of approximately 2,500 Jews, approximately 1,750 from Rhodes and Cos (1,673 and 94 respectively, 22 of whom died en route) and the remainder from Athens and other locales.76 Three hundred forty-six men were numbered B7159–B7504 and 254 women were numbered A24215–A24468. The remaining 1,900 (including 1,202 men), nearly all from Rhodes, were gassed.77 Four Czechoslovakian Jews (Sidney Fahn, no. B7310; his wife, Regina, and child Shani; and his brother Rudolph) were part of this transport.78 The Greek victims in Treblinka numbered about 4,150 (plus perhaps another 2,800 from the wayward Salonika transport at the end of March 1943), while those sent to Auschwitz numbered 54,533 according to records kept by prisoner clerks in the Politische Abteilung.79 Of the latter 41,770 were gassed and cremated on arrival, while 8,025 men and 4,732 women were selected for quarantine and from there dispersed among various work kommandos in the Auschwitz complex, and to other work camps and factories in the Reich. By September 1944 approximately 2,469 Greek Jews remained alive in the Auschwitz complex80: 292 males in Auschwitz I, 929 males in Auschwitz II (Birkenau), 517 males in Auschwitz III (Buna-Monowitz), and 731 women in Auschwitz II (Birkenau). These 2,469 were all that remained in Auschwitz of the 12,757 who were selected from the Greek transports; they constituted the largest body of Greek survivors in Poland and Germany to that date. On the eve of the closing of the camp, 701 Greeks are listed in the final roll calls.81 The “episodes of extermination” 82 of the 10,288 during the fall, winter, and spring of 1944–45 are explored in Chapter 6.




Abnormal Deaths in a Foreign Land

Of the approximately 60,000 Greek Jews who experienced Auschwitz, some 18 percent (about 12,750) were selected for labor on arrival in the camp, and of these no more than 2,000 returned to their homes. Approximately 1.1 million men, women, and children (mostly Jews) died in Auschwitz; no more than 60,000 (approximately 3 percent) survived the experience. Half of this number died in the death marches from Auschwitz during the last weeks of the war.1 If these estimates are valid, then the Greeks seem to have had a better overall survival rate than other ethnic groups, once they passed the initial selection. In this chapter we shall chronicle how thousands of Greek Jews (estimated to be nearly 11,000, primarily in Auschwitz and Treblinka) suffered abnormal deaths in a foreign land (mita meshunah be’eretz nokhriah).* The intense family loyalty of Greek Jews, which had prevented numerous youths from escaping to the mountains where they could fight or survive with the Resistance, was perhaps the major factor in the loss of many young men and women. After arrival in Poland, for those men selected for destruction through work, a day or two often passed before they learned that their wives and children, mothers and fathers, grandparents, and extended families were gassed and burned on arrival. The shock rapidly turned to despair and many chose to follow their loved ones to death, often by electrocution on the charged barbed wire that surrounded each camp. Nor could their friends or surviving relatives deter or convince them otherwise. Occasional Greek suicides are recorded even among the Sonderkommando. * This phrase conflates two sources: Sifre Devarim 218 and Exodus 2:22.

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These individual acts of suicide are superseded by a collective act that was unique in the history of Auschwitz. During the summer of 1944, when the number of incoming Hungarian Jews necessitated enlargement of the Sonderkommando, a group of 400 or 434 Greek Jews was selected to join the disposal units. When their new duties were explained to them, they took the extraordinary step of holding a council and announced their collective refusal to participate. Even when threatened by Dr. Mengele with death, they still refused and were quickly gassed. According to Olga Lengyel, who first reported this incident: “But what a demonstration of courage and character these Greek peasants had given. A pity the world does not know more about them!”2 Escape was nearly impossible from Auschwitz, at least for the Jews. True, the Polish Resistance successfully smuggled men in and out of the camp, as did the Allied prisoners who were less strictly guarded. But Auschwitz, or at least Birkenau (Auschwitz II), was a killing center for Jews, and the terrible secret had to be kept at all costs. It is astounding, therefore, that a few Jewish escapes were actually successful. Several attempts by Greek Jews to escape, although foiled, nevertheless contribute to both the folklore and the historiography of the camps.3 In January 1944 Fero Langer, a Slovakian Jew, organized an escape that included four prisoners, Dutch, French, Polish, and Greek. They were shot in the back outside the camp by their SS contact, and their dead bodies were exhibited to the prisoners on parade.4 During the summer of 1944 one of the Greek Jews in the Son­ derkommando, Albert Errera, formerly an officer in the Greek army, attacked several guards in an escape attempt. He was part of a group of three or four Jews that traveled under guard by truck to the Vistula River periodically to dispose of the ashes of the hundreds of thousands of Hungarian Jews currently being murdered. At the riverbank Errera incapacitated one of the SS guards. The other prisoners declined to escape and even attended the wounded guard. Errera swam across the Vistula but was wounded during his escape. Eventually he was caught by a ­canine search patrol, returned to the camp and beaten to death. His story is an important part of the folklore of Greek Jewish survivors, and it reportedly had important repercussions for the



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Sonderkommando ­revolt. Leon Cohen, for example, emphasizes the impact of Errera’s attempted escape on the Russian POWs in the Sonderkommando.

The Sonderkommando The Eleventh Sonderkommando is unique among the sequence of squads that worked in the crematoria and rightly takes a special place in the historiography of Auschwitz. Yet its actual history is still somewhat confused, particularly regarding the role of the Greeks. We have, for example, three photographs of the Sonderkommando at the burning pits taken during the summer of 1944 and smuggled out of the camp in an attempt to inform the world of the systematic slaughter occurring in Birkenau. According to survivors, a Greek Jew identified only as Aleko actually snapped the pictures.5 The Eleventh Sonderkommando was the only one to revolt, despite the common knowledge that every previous Sonderkommando had been eliminated (with some individual exceptions) after approximately three or four months of service. The presence of certain Greek Jews gives one possible explanation for the Eleventh Sonderkommando revolt. This Sonderkommando functioned from late spring through October 1944. During that summer myriad Hungarian Jews arrived for their destruction. Of the 663 who serviced the five crematoria, at least one-third were Greek Jews. A number of them are known by name, and in fact eleven of them survived not only the revolt but even Auschwitz itself.6 Most Greek memoirs commemorate the role of the Greek Jews in the Sonderkommando revolt, even as the Greeks are largely ignored in the general literature on that seminal event. The Greek contingent consisted mainly of young men from the provincial towns who were deported in late March 1944. Many of these men were veterans of the savagely fought Greco-Italian War, including several battle-hardened officers and experienced veterans, such as Joseph Varouh.7 Others were professionals who had participated in communal affairs—for example, Yomtov Yacoel—and contributed to the resistance in Greece as urban intellectuals. Many more were merchants or workers.

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For some time, arms and ammunition had been reaching the Sonderkommando through the efforts of Jewish members of the general Resistance in Auschwitz. An uprising planned for August 15, 1944, was postponed to September and then again to October. According to various memoirs, the arms came from a number of sources. Young women working in the munitions plant smuggled explosives, which were then transferred to the Sonderkommando camp.8 The plan was to dynamite the chimneys of the crematoria and escape in the direction of the advancing Soviet army. By the end of September 1944, there were 663 men in the Sonderkommando9; 200 had earlier been tricked into a room in the Kanada area and gassed on September 24. Their bodies were secretly burned in crematorium 2 by the SS guards. The disposition of the remaining kommando was 169 each in crematoria 2 and 3, where they slept in the attic. The other 325 who serviced crematoria 4 and 5 and the open burning pits were housed in number 4. The Greeks were mainly in crematoria 4 and 3, with several in number 2. Despite the isolation of this kommando at the end of June 1944 by Hauptscharfführer Moll, contact was maintained with the Resistance in the main camp via crematorium 1 (in Auschwitz I), usually through the ration carriers and injured prisoners who frequented the hospital. At the beginning of October, there was another attempt to reduce the Sonderkommando, this time by three hundred. Those selected by the kapos were the newcomers to the crematoria, mostly Greeks and Hungarians (housed mainly in crematoria 4 and 5). The veteran prisoners organized themselves for the revolt, which had already been postponed several times.10 Some of those selected informed the Resistance that they would fight and invited the remainder of the kommando to rouse the camp for the long-overdue revolt. The main Resistance forces (Polish gentiles) rejected their plan, the fortunate three hundred plus concurring. Meanwhile the doomed three hundred continued their preparations. On the Sabbath of October 7, a general roll call was scheduled for noon in the courtyard of crematorium 4, at which the numbers of the three hundred previously selected were called. It was then that the assembled prisoners rioted and began to throw stones at the guards. Shouting erupted and within minutes fifty-five guards arrived in force



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and opened fire with machine guns. The Gestapo followed and finished off the survivors. The revolt was over in less than an hour, although it took several hours to reestablish order around the crematoria, and another few days to capture most of those who attempted to escape. Approximately 250 men were shot from crematoria 3 and 4. Crematorium 4, the center of the revolt, was blown up by the prisoners. Along with a group of Russians who managed to break out of the camp and who were later killed in battle a few kilometers away, the total casualties came to about 450. Thus about two-thirds of the Kommando died in the revolt and its aftermath. A smaller group (about 30) succeeded in escaping and were later captured. They successfully obfuscated their true identity and were interned in Dachau. The prisoners of crematorium 5 did not participate in the revolt and so were spared punishment. Their task, as described by Mois Misrahi, was to cremate the bodies of those killed. The surviving prisoners were quartered in crematoria 2, 3, and 5 and numbered about two hundred. On November 26, 1944, half of them were selected and killed by unknown means. Of the remainder, thirty continued to service crematorium 5, while seventy dismantled numbers 2 and 3. These one hundred, including eight Greeks, were part of the general evacuation of Auschwitz in January 1945. (Crematorium 5 was blown up by the SS on January 26, 1945.) Contrary to the prepared plan to execute the remaining Sonderkommando, the one hundred were left alive; for some unknown reason the officer in charge was replaced at the last moment. Because his replacement did not know that his charges were to be executed, he evacuated them to Mauthausen. Many of them survived the war, and their memories (some published, others oral) add another dimension to the contemporary records, which were written down and buried on the grounds of the crematoria.11 Of the two separate phases of the revolt, the first was the organized plan among the veterans, in conjunction with the main camp Resistance movement, while the second was a spontaneous one, independently planned by the Greeks and Hungarians. Some of the veterans were caught up in the latter revolt. Many of them died, while a few succeeded in escaping. With respect to the Greek Jews, their role in the planning of the original revolt, which was supposed to be part of a general camp revolt, is attested to mainly in Greek memoirs. Given that

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the Greek participants had prior military experience, such a role is not improbable, although the memoirs of Polish Jews and gentiles do not mention them.

The Auschwitz Experience The memoirs of Greek Jews, both male and female, reveal how they served and survived the vicissitudes of the Auschwitz experience. Thus the investigator may use the Greek experience as a microcosm to survey the multiplicity of experiences, as well as the vagaries of human nature, during that most trying of times. There is a range of differences among the administrative staff of a camp, its kapos, medical personnel, its whores, slave workers, garbage collectors, warehouse sorters, motor pool, and crematoria staff. Greek Jews experienced all of these—and perhaps a little more—having arrived during a period of transition in the history of the concentration camp system. Preparation of the camps at Auschwitz I and completion of the road to crematorium 2 at Birkenau were finished by the end of 1942. By that time the camp had developed an internal organization wherein the Polish political prisoners supplanted the German criminal element as kapos. By the summer of 1942 the Slovakian Jews arrived and formed the core of Jewish kapos and administrative staff. Thus by the end of 1942, the infrastructure for the mass annihilation of European Jewry was in place. On their arrival through the spring of 1943, 85 percent of Salonika Jewry were gassed to death and burned. The 15 percent selected for work were divided into several groups: those males and females who worked in the Kanada kommando (Effektenkammer) sorting the belongings of their families, the builders of Birkenau, workers in the armament and chemical factories of Auschwitz III, the medical experiment victims, and the Sonderkommando. Others, who were filtered off to different areas, for instance the orchestras, and who had a better chance for survival, are dealt with in the following chapter. Many of the survivor accounts from Auschwitz identify the Greek Jews as “Musulmans” or “Muslims” par excellence. Muslims12 (used derisively) were those who lost the capacity to survive. As they deteriorated



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physically and psychologically, they began to succumb to disease and hunger and were prime candidates for the selection process.13 But were the Greek men and women Muslims when they were selected for the last time? Wieslaw Kielar, whose memoir Anus Mundi summarizes the atmosphere of the camps and reflects his own sense of degradation, emphasizes the deterioration of Greek Muslims: [Prisoners] supplied us [in trade] with figs, dates, raisin and maize cakes, which had been brought by Greek Jews, huge numbers of whom were liquidated in the gas chambers in those days. . . . Not used to heavy work or to camp conditions, they quickly became Mussulmen. It was they who formed the majority of patients in Blocks 7 and 8.

Yet only a few sentences later he describes how, even though persecuted by their kapo, “they overcame the mud and torture and even planted a small garden.”14 His description of the Greek girls as emaciated, barefoot, wasted, dirty, disheveled, searching for lice, and stinking from lack of bathing facilities is matched by that of Alexander Donat who, however, expressed admiration for these girls who sang the Zionist national anthem “Hatikvah” as they were led to the gas chambers. Perhaps here is the place to record the story of Alegri, a fifteen-year-old who sang well, and when called on to sing rendered the poignant “Mama,” a Greek song of nostalgia.15 She was reportedly cremated in the summer of 1943. Kitty Hart in her memoir emphasizes the dangers that took such a heavy toll on the newcomers: Probably the biggest death rate was among the Zugänge, the newcomers, for many died of sheer shock. This was especially true of the Greek girls, who were brought from the warmth of their country into the midst of the Polish winter. They died like flies from shock and cold, they were the first to catch dysentery which was often fatal within a few days, and not many had escaped the typhus that raged throughout.16

Such were the impressions recorded by most of the survivors about the Greeks. They died like flies from the cold and disease. Yet none of these reporters ever communicated directly with the Greeks. Only a few had a common language with them, usually broken French. ­Seweryna

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Szmaglewska also recalls the death of the women who worked in the ponds of the Fischerei during the summer of 1943.17 It seems that many of the latter were Salonika women, whose last memory was later recorded by Judy Dribbon.18 Her conversation with some of the Greek teenagers before their selection allows the researcher an insight into their vicissitudes and their ephemeral impressions. During her orientation in the camp, she met “a group of women squatting by one of the puddles” who were wasted, wretched, and wearing rags. They were both defensive and fatalistic. Their replies introduce a new dimension of meaning to the camp term Muslim: “Who are you?” I asked. “What do you want of us? We have nothing to barter or sell. Leave us alone.” “I don’t want anything, just to talk, prisoner to prisoner.” “But you are a Christian and we are Jewesses,” the first one said bitterly. “We may be Christians, but we are human beings, and prisoners just like you. . . .” “No, you are not, because they can put us in the chimneys any time they want, and they would not do it to you.” “But we’re against this discrimination. Can’t you understand that?” “Even the Jews call us dirty Moslems, miserable corpses. Well, it’s not our fault, this climate kills us. We come from a warm country.” “Where are you from?” “We are Greek, mostly from Salonika and Athens. We came here over a year ago, and now less than half of us are left. We don’t speak German, and we’re not like our sisters from Slovakia, who get all the good jobs and walk over dead bodies. We are feminine and delicate. Our men always did everything for us. And we are lost here. We aren’t enterprising enough to ‘organize,’ so look at us.” “But what are those terrible sores on your arms and legs?” I couldn’t hold back the question. “Oh you mean those scabs.” She looked embarrassed. “They make us work in the swamps, all summer. Then the awful sores broke out all over our bodies.” “So how do you manage?” “Manage? We just sit around here, until they select us one after another. But don’t think we are dirty by nature. Since we have these scabs the block-leader won’t give us a change of clothes, or let us into



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the toilets or washplaces, or the dispensary. What can we do?” Another girl joined the group and began looking for lice in the seams of her dirty dress.

This is not the picture of a group of individuals who had already committed psychological suicide, or sunk into a semicatatonic state through malnutrition. Rather it is the picture of an alien group who fashioned a centripetal identity that was totally misunderstood by the other ethnic groups among the prisoners. Auschwitz was the first camp into which Greek Jews were admitted. Some of them were restricted to the main camps of Auschwitz I, II, and III; others were delegated to many of the subcamps that made up the Auschwitz complex. Later Greek Jews would be detailed to other work camps, including the special transports to the Warsaw Ghetto. Finally, toward the end of the war Greek Jews shared the general experience of the death marches, when they were transferred to camps throughout Germany. Many met their deaths inter alia in Dachau, ­Majdanek, ­Mauthausen, and the latter’s subcamps. It was in Birkenau (Auschwitz II) where most of the Greek Jews died. The arrival of huge numbers of Greeks in the spring of 1943 necessitated expansion of living quarters. Despite the selection of 85 percent (occasionally 90 percent) for the gas chambers, still the prisoner force increased by nearly eleven thousand Greeks from March 20 to July 18, 1943. In addition to the Greeks, there were also tens of thousands of Dutch, French, and other European Jews. It was the task of the Greeks to build new lagers in Birkenau. The heaviest work, according to Albert Menasche, was usually reserved for the intellectuals and white-collar professionals, “with the result that they perished in a very short time,” whether from the hard labor or the sadistic tortures of the German kapos. The task of the Salonika Jews was to build Lager D II, subsequently the Workers’ Lager, which was dedicated on July 12, 1943. Greek prisoners along with other nationalities also built the Disinfection Lager located between Crematoria 2 and 3. These construction feats consumed many of those who had been selected for labor. Some of the Greek males were sent to work building a railroad at Harmenz, one of the Auschwitz subsidiary camps that functioned as an

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agricultural experimental station. Many died from the hard labor and hunger, as well as the torture of the kapo. Several were killed as an object lesson in learning how to march.19 Errikos Sevillias (no. 182699) recalled in his memoir surviving a selection in the Arbeitslager (D Camp) and being sent to a series of work camps in the north along with other Greeks, many of whom died of the cold during the late fall and winter of 1944. It is not possible to ascertain how many of the 610 selected for this labor were Greek Jews, nor how many of them survived. Among major selections involving Greek Jews, on April 27, 1943, 128 Greek Jewish women were sent to Block 10 in Auschwitz, where they became the guinea pigs for Dr. Carl Clauberg’s sterilization experiments (see Chapter 7). More were added during the course of the next year. A few of the Greek survivors gave testimony at the libel trial of Dr. Wladislaw Alexander (Dering v. Uris) in London in 1964.20 One major selection specifically involving Greek Jews took place in Birkenau on August 21, 1943. The commandant of the women’s camp, Maria Mandel, signed an order that 498 women were not fit for work; of this number 436 were Greeks.21 On August 29, approximately 4,000 males were selected from Birkenau B-IId and gassed.22 During the malaria epidemic that ravaged Auschwitz late in 1943, Dr. Mengele is reported to have made a prophylactic selection among the Greeks and Italians whom he considered responsible; thousands were sent to the gas chambers.23 The number of Greek Jews was depleted by successive selections after August 1943. Aside from the regular selections (about every two weeks in specific blocks), several thousand men and women were designated for elimination on September 8, and an additional 327 men from the Birkenau Quarantine Camp were sent to the gas chambers on September 27. On September 3, 1943, a selection among the men took place to deplete the number of Musulmans. Isaak Zion, a Greek in the orchestra, was among those chosen.24 On October 19, 1,260 females were sent to the gas chambers, and on October 22 an additional 394 individuals from the infirmary were killed. Among this group was ­Lillian, the sixteen-year-old daughter of Dr. Menasche, along with two other members of his family.25 On December 12, about 2,000 women from Birkenau with typhus were selected. On December 15, 338 men,



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and on January 15, 1944, 363 men were selected for gassing from the Birkenau Quarantine Camp. Other major selections among the women took place in 1943 and 1944; however, the data on the number of Greek Jews involved is unavailable.26 Dr. Menasche reports that major selections also took place on Jewish and Christian holidays. According to Menasche, the last major selection was on February 3, 1944,27 although Dr. Gisela Perl recalls a selection in September 1944 that reduced by half the women in Blocks 28 and 29 of Camp C in Birkenau.28 These selections can be broadly considered within the category of prophylactic in which the sick and worn-out slaves were murdered. The medical experiments at Auschwitz (and other camps) resulted in a number of sensational postwar trials, in particular the Doctors Trial at Nuremburg in 1947 and the Dering v. Uris libel trial in London in 1964.29 Numerous Greek Jews, both male (about fifteen) and female (roughly two hundred) were victims of sterilization experiments. A number of the survivors gave testimony at these and other trials (see Chapter 7). Prof. Carl Clauberg,30 director of a gynecological clinic at Königsdorf and Konigshütte in Silesia (which neighbored on Auschwitz), and Dr. Horst Schumann,31 were responsible for the sterilization and castration experiments undertaken at both Ravensbrück (a women’s camp) and Auschwitz.32 In the latter camp, these experiments were centered in the notorious Block 10 of Auschwitz I (“Clauberg’s Block”). Dr. Alina Brewda, a Polish Jew who was transferred from Majdanek to Auschwitz in September 1943 and who served there until January 1945 as chief medical prisoner of Block 10, has left a detailed description in her memoir.33 Apparently the first one hundred women (nos. 41500– 41600) in Block 10 were taken from the ninth Salonika transport that arrived on April 17. Approximately another 110 (nos. 42500–42600) were taken from the (hypothetical) transport that arrived between the tenth and eleventh Salonika transports. Other Greek women, for example, nos. 38782 and 38968, from the first Salonika transport, were added as needed.34 The experiments on the female prisoners, conducted by Dr. Schumann, consisted of exposure to x-rays to sterilize the ovaries. Later procedures involved either a single or a double ovariectomy, usually

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performed by Dr. Wladislav Dering, a Polish prisoner, who administered only a partial anesthesia (spinal only; actually he was able to perform the operation in ten to twelve minutes). Because of insufficient prophylaxis, many of the women suffered both pain and infection, resulting in numerous deaths.35 Postwar litigation established that he had performed 130 operations of various types in connection with sterilization research.36 In the autumn of 1943, Professor Clauberg initiated new experiments, which consisted of direct injections into the Fallopian tubes.37 The women were subsequently subjected to X-ray examination and later operated upon by Dering. Those who survived this treatment were sent back to Birkenau, where they usually succumbed to a selection. On November 10, 1943, ten Greek girls underwent an ovariectomy. Eight survived the war to testify at Dering’s libel trial. Professor Schumann performed five ovariectomies on Greek youths in October 1943.38 Prisoner doctors and medical students ran all of the medical services at Auschwitz. In order not to insult the status of the SS physicians assigned to the camp, who were responsible for determining selections and who controlled the various medical experiments, the prisoners were called Pfleger (prisoner medical personnel). Assigned to Block 10, or to Block 15 in Camp B I 6, where they were assembled before transport to the experimental station, they left poignant descriptions of the depression and terror experienced by the young (sixteen-to-nineteenyear-old) and naïve Greeks.39 After May 1943, the prisoner doctors were able to establish some organization for the camp medical facilities. From April 1944 to January 1945, they treated not only prisoners but all the SS staff as well.40 A grapevine was established whereby newly arrived medical personnel were drafted into the hospital; this process accounts for the high survival rate of doctors and medical students.41 Of the many prisoner doctors from every nationality (Polish, French, Hungarian, and others), there were also a number of Greek doctors who were able to practice their craft, sometimes effectively, at the main Auschwitz hospital located in Camp I. Among them were Salomon Maissa and Samuel Veissi. Marco Nahon recorded his participation as a prison doctor, as did Albert Menasche, who transferred out of the orchestra into the hospital



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in October 1944.42 Other doctors were Daniel Carasso (no. 120812), a pharmacist, who was assigned to Block 19 in Auschwitz I in April 1943.43 He identifies Drs. Errera, Samuelides, and Kouenca (Cuenca)44 along with himself as forty prisoners selected for the hospital detail. For a while he served as chief medic in Block 19. One more Greek is mentioned as a hospital attendant; in the summer of 1944 Frank Stiffel was serving in Block 28 and was assisted by one Tazartes, a Sephardi from Salonika.45 In Birkenau, Block 2 of B IIf was opened as a hospital in October 1943. There Dr. Isaac Cohen (no. 118548) assisted Dr. Hermann (no. 85616) of Warsaw in its operating theater. By the second half of 1944, Cohen had become the block doctor (Leitenderarzt). At about the same time, an abortion ward was established in this block to terminate pregnancies of the new prisoners who were chosen for labor.46 There was also a prison hospital for Auschwitz III (Monowitz) in which Greek doctors served. This hospital was mainly for the slave laborers in the Buna Werke of I. G. Farben, which was established in the vicinity to manufacture synthetic rubber. Eventually the Buna-Monowitz complex contained twenty-seven or twenty-eight subcamps with about ten thousand prisoners, most of them men and not a few Greeks.47 Owing to the economic agreement between the SS and I. G. Farben, in which the latter paid four Reichsmarks per day for each laborer, this hospital differed from those in Auschwitz I and II. The stated purpose here was to give the prisoners the best medical care possible, which is why the death rate, though high, was still lower than those of hospitals in the other camps. The seriously sick were sent back to the hospital at B IIf (Birkenau), where they were killed with phenol injections to the heart or selected for the gas chamber. Shortly after his assignment to Block 19 in Auschwitz I, Dr. Leon Cuenca (no. 110941), a laryngologist, was transferred to the hospital in Auschwitz III (probably late May or June), where he remained until January 1945.48 He was assigned a small room where he practiced his specialty and “operated on mastoid processes of the temporal bone, made punctures of the tympanic membrane, removed nose polyps, and scarified peritonsillar abscesses.” Despite the lack of medication, which was a chronic problem, postoperational mortality was minimal.49 Franz Stiffel, who worked as a hospital

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attendant in the Krankenbau of Buna and later of Auschwitz (Block 28), described his emotional experience with the simple Salonika dock workers and fishermen who filled the hospital of Buna in September 1943. From them he learned some Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) during the week he spent there before transfer to Auschwitz I. Innocent victims of deceit and ignorance, they failed to adjust to the work conditions and passed a brief time in the Krankenbau before being selected for return to the gas chambers of Birkenau.50 How many Greeks passed through Monowitz is unknown. An examination of the surviving lists of prisoners transferred to Birkenau might supply some statistical data. On January 13, 1945, a census of the Monowitz camp noted 1 Greek and 343 Greek Jews. Unfortunately, this is the only extant statistical data available. From Auschwitz, men and women were sent out for labor and experiments to other camps. In the spring of 1943, some six thousand Dutch and Greek Jewesses were sent to Majdanek, near Lublin, to participate in a malaria experiment.51 Not one of them survived. A number of these girls were suffering from typhus. They had been selected, however, to participate in the malaria immunization program set up in Majdanek by Dr. Rindfleisch. The subterfuge of misdiagnosing these girls spared their lives at Auschwitz (only to have them die later at Majdanek); malaria so disconcerted the Nazi doctors there that they decided on prophylactic extermination to control the spread of the disease. Dr. Alina Brewda records in her memoir that she was assigned to care for three hundred Greek girls at Majdanek, with whom she communicated in French.52 She described them as very young (sixteen to nineteen) and very frightened, actually in a state of terror resulting from their Auschwitz experiences. They also had beautiful voices, and following this discovery by the Germans they were often forced to sing for the camp staff. Eventually they were established in a special block and received occasional privileges in return for these concerts. Brewda was transferred to Auschwitz on September 21, 1943. The female burial detail was then transferred to Auschwitz and tricked into a gas chamber.53 None of the Greeks survived the experiments, deportations, or final massacres at Majdanek in November 1943. Professor Pierre Biermann of Luxemburg testified at the Nuremberg Trial [NO-814] to experiments in Natzweiler (January–September 1943)



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and Buchenwald (September 1943–April 1945). He recalled a number of Greek Jewish women among the thirty experimented on at Natzweiler. These were subsequently gassed at Stutthof near Natzweiler. Later research identifies these Greek women as subjects in the experiments of Dr. August Hirt, professor of medicine and director of the Institute of Anatomy at the newly Nazified University of Strasbourg; he was also an SS Hauptsturmführer. Hirt proposed to Himmler that he be supplied with Jewish commissars from Russia so that he could study their skulls. When he changed his research from skulls to skeletons, Greek women from Auschwitz were supplied.54

Jaworzno, Warsaw About twenty kilometers from the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex was Jaworzno (Neu Dachs), which served as the camp for the surrounding coalmines. Toward the end of June, a number of Greek Jews who had arrived on May 16 were drawn from quarantine and sent to work there. Haim Salomon Calvo estimates about twelve hundred Greek Jews were already present at his arrival. The hard work of preparing mines that would later be worked by skilled Polish miners took a terrific toll on the Greeks. The prisoners of Jaworzno were evacuated on January 17, 1945, to Blemhaven. Of the four thousand Jews, including fifty-eight Greeks, only half arrived (including fifty-two Greeks); soon they were down to forty-eight Greeks. During a disturbance of some sort (bagarre), more than a thousand were killed; about five hundred escaped to the forest and were shot by the Germans. Only twenty-five Greeks were among the five hundred liberated by the Soviet Army.55 Several transports of Greek Jews were sent from Auschwitz to the Warsaw Ghetto site in autumn 1943. Survivors record varying figures.56 The first transport left in September and consisted of three hundred of the Greek Jews who had survived the forced labor in Greece only to be deported on the nineteenth transport from Salonika. Isaac Senior recalls that they were quartered in two sealed barracks in the center of the Warsaw Ghetto. Later they had to build ten more barracks to house the subsequent transports that added other non-Slavic-speaking slaves to their numbers. Two to three months later another transport, consist-

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ing of Greeks only, arrived. Among them was his brother Saul.57 The frequent transports included Greek, French, Belgian, and Italian Jews, perhaps five thousand in all, under the mistaken assumption that they would not have a common language with the Poles, Jews, or partisans in the area.58 Their task was to recycle the salvageable building material from the ruins of the ghetto, which had been destroyed in the revolt of April 1943. The valuables that were found went up through the hierarchy: some for food from the Poles, most of it to the Nazi conquerors. Occasionally Jews were found alive, hiding in the bunkers or the sewers; survivors were helped, if possible. Many of the workers died from disease, starvation, and the anti-Semitic cruelty of the SS contingent. As with the ancient Romans, so with the Germans: war captives were cheap and plentiful. Among the many tales that have survived the Warsaw revolts of 1943 and 1944, several pertain to Greek Jews, some praising the self-sacrifice and bravery of Saul Senior, a Jew from Salonika who immigrated to Palestine during the mass aliyah of 1934.59 He had returned to Greece in 1938 to organize further emigrations but was drafted into the Greek army, along with his friend Yoachim Eliakim, and both later served in Albania. They were deported to Auschwitz and then to Warsaw, where Saul’s courage and inspiration proved a valuable stimulus to the survival of the Greek prisoners, according to Albert Levi, whose life he saved.60 His position as clerk (he was in a laundry detail) gave him the opportunity to escape with the assistance of the Polish resistance. His contact, a young woman whom he met during these transactions, supplied him with papers; during the escape attempt he was shot and captured.61 On orders from Berlin, he was hospitalized for six weeks until he was well enough to be hanged on the gallows. After a brave call to survive the war, he sang the Greek national anthem followed by the Zionist anthem “Hatikvah.”62 In July 1944, most of the prisoners were marched out in a long column toward Germany. The remnant of that column would arrive in Dachau by the end of the month. Rabbi Halegua, who recalls baking matzah with a Polish rabbi during Passover 1944, described this death march. After walking for some time without water, the column panicked as they neared the Vistula River, and the guards fired on them as



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they charged the water. So many were massacred that the river ran red with their blood.63 The Dachau Zugänge lists for this period have survived, and a rough count of the Warsaw prisoners identified as Greek Jews comes to 280.64 On August 1, 1944, with the Russians approaching the east bank of the Vistula, the signal was given for the various underground organizations in Warsaw to rise in revolt. The strongest group was the Armia Kraiowa, under the leadership of General Bor-Komorowski.65 The battle lasted for two months while the Russians waited patiently across the river for the Germans to destroy the Polish Resistance. The Germans wrought terrible carnage, massacring Polish civilians, among them Jews.66 The Greeks who remained in Warsaw have their own memories of the revolt. A number of Greek slaves were housed on the outskirts of the ghetto area in the military prison on Djika Street. With the other prisoners (Hungarians, Rumanians, and Poles), they were freed on the first day of the revolt and sent to the front lines to dig defensive trenches. Polish anti-Semites harassed them as they faced Nazi artillery fire.67 This is confirmed by Albert Levi, who participated in the revolt and claims that the Greeks took an active part in the fighting—we recall that many had seen service against the Italians in Albania—and through their reckless disregard for their personal safety provided inspiration for some of the rebelling forces. Levi himself joined the defenders’ medical corps. During the revolt the Greeks separated on the advice of Isaac Arukh, so that some might survive to chronicle their fate.68 Levi records several battles and even the formation of a Greek contingent that fought under its national flag. Ultimately only twentyseven of them survived the war.69 Greeks could be found throughout the ghetto during the revolt. Bernard Goldstein recalls a Greek pickpocket who entertained his comrades with his skills in the main bunker at 26 Vspulna Street.70 Michael Zylberberg notes Greeks hiding in the cellar at 13 Franciscan Street, opposite the headquarters of the officer in charge of the young Poles.71 Isaac Arukh (no. 124338) recalls fighting in Starowka (the Old City) near the Bank Polska with the Second Division, a place where many of his comrades fell. He survived in a bunker along with David Cohen and Jesse Moissi.72

Abnormal Deaths in a Foreign Land

Mauthausen Mauthausen was a death camp for political prisoners located about twenty kilometers southeast of Linz in Austria. A little more than onethird of the approximately 335,000 prisoners from all over Europe sent to Mauthausen were brutally murdered. Included among these prisoners were more than a thousand Greek Christian hostages, Resistance fighters, and Greek Jews.73 Most of the latter were transferred from Auschwitz in late 1944 and early 1945. Two separate sources, alongside numerous memoirs of Greeks and non-Greeks, allow identification and a partial estimate of the number of Greek Christians and Greek Jews who passed through Mauthausen. One list comes from entry cards that chronicle the transfer of Greeks to Mauthausen. The Polish Brigade, which helped liberate the camp in May 1945, discovered cards that listed 179 Greeks.74 All but five were identified as Greek Orthodox, the majority of them from Crete. The remaining cards list 108 Greek Jews, the majority from Salonika.75 The second list was culled from the extant Mauthausen Death Books.76 These include the death dates of 213 Greek Christians, 45 Greek Jews, 2 Turks, and 2 Turkish Jews. The Greek Jews stemmed predominantly from Ioannina (11) and Salonika (8).77 A comparison of the two lists shows that the number of deaths among the Greek Christians exceeds the number of those who entered Mauthausen. Thus we are assured that we have only a partial indication of the total number that passed through the camp.78 Further, with respect to the Jews a comparison of the two lists shows that only one of the names in the death books matches the entry cards. Thus we know the names of at least 152 Greek Jews who passed through the camp. No doubt there were many more, as can be ascertained from survivor memoirs.79 Ebensee, Melk, and Gusen were several of the subcamps of Mauthausen whose names appear in survivor accounts. Numerous Greeks were transferred to these camps and died there, either from labor or from the mass executions carried out as the war ended. Although total figures for the Greeks cannot be even estimated, it may be said that the



Abnormal Deaths in a Foreign Land

death camp of Mauthausen and its subcamps served as a terminal postscript to the fate of those Greek Jews who succeeded in surviving the mass murders at Auschwitz.80 The majority of Greek Jews who passed through Bergen-Belsen and Dachau survived that experience; hence the stories of these two camps will be dealt with in Chapter 7. Finally, one must add the tremendous toll of prisoners that followed the closing down of Auschwitz between October 1944 and January 1945. Prisoners by the tens of thousands were marched to other camps, primarily Bergen-Belsen and Mauthausen. No one will be able to count the total number of anonymous slaves who fell by the wayside and were shot by the guards or who, weakened by disease and starvation, died of cold, or even in Allied attacks. We can, however, develop a rough sense of the scope of this catastrophe. For example, in February 1945 there were approximately 3,000 women (mostly Polish but also Hungarian and Greek Jews among them) at the camp in Helmbrechts. They were force-marched at the beginning of May 1945. When liberated there were 120 survivors, 40 of whom later died, even after receiving medical care from the Czechs.81 The preliminary survey by Shmuel Krakowski notes the deaths of innumerable Jews during fin-de-guerre death marches. As examples, only 50 percent of the 1,000 prisoners from the camp of Golleschau reached Flossenbürg and Brünnlitz, while, as noted, only 120 women (out of 3,000) from the camp of Helmbrechts survived the march.82 On reaching the new camps, thousands died from malnutrition and disease. The horror of these terminal reservoirs, as recorded by American (Dachau), British (Bergen-Belsen), and Russian (Auschwitz) troops on film and in memoirs, shocked (and ultimately desensitized) Western civilization perhaps even more than the subsequent revelations of the concentration camp experience from 1933 to 1945. Perhaps the greatest tragedy is the large number of individuals who were in extremis on the eve of liberation and who died by the thousands in the days and weeks after regaining their freedom.83 We shall look at this story from the perspective of the survivors in the next chapter.

S e v e n   How a Remnant Survived

How does one survive in an environment whose raison d’être is death? How does an individual fulfill the commandment to live when all around are strangers organized to kill? These were the most difficult questions Greek Jews faced daily in Auschwitz and Birkenau. Of the nearly thirteen thousand Greeks who were selected to work in the camp, fewer than two thousand survived the war to return to their homes in Greece.1 One may broadly define resistance as a survival factor. That is to say, any action that helped another prisoner survive flouted the camp policy to demoralize or kill those incarcerated. We discussed various forms of active resistance against the guards in the previous chapter. In this chapter we note various ways in which prisoners used their different skills and traditions to save themselves or others.2 The examples here, culled from the vast literature of survivors, are only a fraction of the many stories that can be told.3 Almost every survivor remembers Greek Jews from the camps simply because they were so different, and their experiences were so unlike those of other nationalities.4 Survivors repeat a number of themes about Greek Jews: the women were dark and beautiful; they sang sweet songs in strange languages; they stuck together; they were skilled merchants; and they died like flies in the cold of Polish winter, or in the notorious typhus selections in the summer of 1943. How accurate were these memories? Do they allow us insight into the survival tactics of the Greek Jews? Greek memoirs offer some insight into their survival techniques, although none defined them as such. The Greeks brought a number of cultures and languages with



How a Remnant Survived

them to the camps. Most were Sephardim with an ancestral Spanish language and culture that allowed them to interact with the Spanish prisoners they encountered. Others were Greek-speaking (Romaniot) Jews whose symbiosis with Greek life and culture had already existed for more than two millennia. Thus the Jews in the camps spoke medieval Spanish and Modern Greek, two languages not prevalent among the prisoners from northern and central Europe.5 Benjamin Jacobs recalls two Salonikans during his evacuation from Fürstengrube, a subcamp of Auschwitz III: “There were two Greek Jews from Salonika on our wagon. Since none of the rest of us spoke Greek, they huddled together, strangers among us.” He described the Greek Jews sent to Fürstengrube at the end of July 1944: “None of them understood German, but they proved themselves to be tougher than any of us.”6 Numerous memoirs mention the Greek contribution to the concentration camp’s polyglot patois, especially the (Greek) term klepsi-klepsi, which referred to their ability to “organize” through theft.7 Many Greek Jews spoke French, which they had learned in Alliance schools; this served them well among the French prisoners, while others, especially those of the islands, were fluent in Italian. A few knew German, in particular those whose immediate ancestry was German or Austrian or who had studied in the German school in Salonika.8 The only international language in which many were fluent, however, was Hebrew.9 The majority of those who spoke some Bulgarian or Serbian either were too old to survive the initial selection in Auschwitz or were sent to Treblinka where no Greek was selected for labor. Language skills thus worked to the benefit of the Greeks only where they found a larger group with whom they could interact. A few were also successful in learning some Polish and German to assist them in communicating. The Greek Jewish experience differed in another respect from nearly every other Jewish nationality in the camp. The anti-Jewish measures of the Nazis were put into effect in German-occupied Greece only a month before the Jews were deported from Salonika in March and April 1943, while in Athens and other areas of Italian-occupied Greece they could be implemented only after the collapse of that Axis ally in September 1943. Thus Greek Jewry had little experience with the specific cruelty of Nazi Germany, or its organizational efficiency in effect-

How a Remnant Survived

ing terror and death. The Germans so effectively fooled them that on arrival at Auschwitz, for example, they protested vehemently that they were in the wrong place. Their railroad tickets and land resettlement passes were, however, for a mythical state. Most went to the gas chambers utterly ignorant of where they were and what was going on.10 It took the others considerable time to adjust to the reality that they were now orphans; many could not adjust to the shock and committed suicide. Those who did adapt were determined to survive or at least to take vengeance if the opportunity arose. Survival in the German concentration camps was a complicated problem for the Greek Jews, ignorant of a hostile reality totally alien in terms of language, culture, and physical environment (cold and snow) to what they had known in their Mediterranean homeland. Other Jews, such as the Dutch, suffered terribly in the transition from the civilized atmosphere of their urban centers now turned into a Hobbesian reality of violence and hunger. There were also internal and external factors that all prisoners shared to some extent: the psychology and physical stamina of the individual as well as the psychology and character of the individual guards and kapos. Such personal characteristics are variables in the survival of each prisoner, and only through generalizations drawn from myriad anecdotes can some formulations be adduced for the social scientists. We note in this chapter some of the memories of individual Greeks that may contribute to general theories about survival in the camps. An additional factor that was arbitrary in the sense that many prisoners could not control directly their own work assignments was what I would designate as the stratification of risk, or to put it another way, the danger factor in various kommandos. Here the camp resistance, or “proteksia” among those with power and influence, was extremely important in the rescue of certain individuals or types. Some kommandos were designed to kill the prisoner as rapidly and cruelly as possible, especially the Strafkommando (life expectancy less than two weeks) to which one might be assigned for any infraction of the rules. Two kommandos had the potential for temporarily better conditions preliminary to a more certain death after an arbitrary or fixed time. Those in the medical experiments, we saw, survived only through luck, aid of the



How a Remnant Survived

resistance, or perhaps the manipulations of some Nazi doctors to that effect. Most, however, suffered a painful death from the ill effects of the experiments or their aftermath. Those in the Sonderkommando benefited from the luxury of excess food and (alcoholic) drink while they labored for some three months before their elimination. Only a handful from the last Sonderkommando survived, by luck, pluck, and the vicissitudes of the German system. As we noted earlier, about one out of six Greeks survived the camps and about half of them were from Salonika, even though they experienced slavery longest among the Greeks. Lower camp numbers were considered a badge of honor and indicated that the bearer had discovered some secrets of surviving the system. On the scale of survival, the deadliest level was that of hard labor, whether to prepare the infrastructure for building or mining or the useless and sadistic hard labor intended to sap the starving prisoner of the last vestiges of his or her strength. Many of the Aussenkommandos involved such killing labor. Only a miniscule percentage of those Jews assigned to such work— intellectuals especially were singled out for such a fate—were able to survive, and usually only through the help of others. Higher on the survival scale was the level of specialized work, where the skills of the lower and middle classes stood them in better stead. The camp was in need of shoemakers, seamstresses, painters, carpenters, mechanics, musicians, and other crafts necessary for continued functioning. Those who had the skills, or had the temerity to fake them successfully, fared better in terms of energy expended relative to the effort of the job. Later thousands of men and women were drafted into the armaments industry, where the main danger to survival was a sadistic kapo or Allied bombing. More privileged were those with highly desired skills: professionals such as doctors, dentists, jewelers, engravers, furriers and leather workers, skilled mechanics, engineers, electricians, and especially entertainers such as musicians, prostitutes, and even ­boxers. Others on this level were those who secured a privileged position as a Schreiber or a kapo, the latter generally chosen shortly after selection for his or her linguistic skills and knowledge of German. An unusually privileged kommando was popularly called Kanada, where the belongings of those sent to the camp were sorted for trans-

How a Remnant Survived

fer to Germany. Kanada was a cornucopia of food, clothing, money, and medicine that could be “organized” by the prisoners and used for survival. People were rotated in and out of this Effektenkammer; hence many enjoyed its relative safety but for only a short time. The prisoners who had the best chance for survival were those whom the Nazis wanted to keep alive for their own purposes. Aside from the privileged workers in the death camps, some were held as hostages in Bergen-Belsen and Theresienstadt (both the ghetto and the fortress). True, many of them died from starvation and inability to adjust to their imprisonment. However, it was not Nazi policy to kill them a priori. We may also include here the Jewish prisoners of war (including the thousands of Palestinians, among them some Greeks, captured in Greece) who benefited from the general protection accorded to British POWs. Soviet Jewish POWs, on the other hand, died along with millions of other Soviet soldiers for whose lives the Nazis took no responsibility and offered less care. Camp location, work assignment, and length of internment were therefore primary factors in the potential survival of an individual. Work assignment occasionally rested on the skills the prisoner could offer. Once ensconced within a niche, only then could individual and social survival skills have an impact on the potential for survival. Those with group solidarity had a better chance than “loners,” and this characteristic was particularly developed among the Greeks, according to the acute observations of Primo Levi. The Greek Jews practiced survival strategies common to many of the national groups who were sent to the camps. Foremost was reliance on ethnic solidarity. Every linguistic, ideological, or religious group formed its own nucleus in the camps, which drew to it others of mutual persuasion or experience in order to foster a “tribe” or “family” for purposes of survival.11 Occasionally these alliances overlapped and groups were able to forge links independently, or under the auspices of the resistance movement that developed in the camps.12 Trust was superseded only by the instinct for survival, and so draftees were most carefully screened; camp veterans preferred to rely on individuals with a similar background, if not personal acquaintance. In this environment of death and betrayal, of arbitrary selection and punishment, of brutality



How a Remnant Survived

and ­individual survival, one had to be extremely cautious in opening ranks to newcomers.13 Many Greek men and women recall how they relied on a small group (perhaps three to five) for mutual support. At least this is how the men put it in their memoirs. They describe a Hobbesian atmosphere of war of all against all, and only those who could network had a chance for collective survival. All of the Greek memoirs emphasize the mutual help of small and larger groups of Greek Jews in the camps. Women’s memoirs differ significantly from the Hobbesian picture presented by many male memoirs. While affirming the isolation of the Greeks from the less-sophisticated gentile prisoners and the more ignorant of the Jews, they note their solidarity with the French and Italians with whom they usually shared a Block. More difficult questions emerge when we deal with individuals as opposed to group practice. How did individuals interact with each other if they had a common language; how did they react to each other when they did not? What were the kinds of relations within specific ethnic groups and shared language groups? The psychology of the individual is important, but only rarely do we get a glimpse of the inner person in the written memoir.14 One young Greek girl from Rhodes found herself part of a group of Slavic-speaking women whom she followed “like a dumb kitten.” She remained mute during that period and survived only through the care of these camp veterans and by sheer luck. One day she did not follow them—whether an unconscious feeling or she just got lost—and that was the day they were selected. Other examples show that individuals did cross ethnic (national) lines, for a number of reasons. Doctors were responsive to their training and generally honored their Hippocratic Oath. Jewish doctors, however, recorded anti-Jewish attitudes by some non-Jewish doctors. Women especially built on their socially developed gregarious nature and held out a helping hand to other women regardless of their language or origin.15 Women survivors report that their experiences differed from those of male prisoners sufficiently to almost justify two parallel histories of this hell on earth.16 One could argue not only that there was a structured gender difference based on the work assignments but also the enforced physical separation of separate camps and gender divisions within the larger Lagers. Men were drafted out

How a Remnant Survived

of quarantine into heavy or specialized work kommandos. The former took their toll in the field through sadistic attacks on intellectuals and those who weakened from the work. Those with specialized skills had a better chance for survival; this included work (building trades), entertainment (boxing, music), and even mechanical skills. One Greek, who had owned several taxis in Salonika, claims to have run the motor pool for the SS in Auschwitz. Among the religious too, there was a deep respect for living. Many, secular and religious, translated their talents and experience into a mechanism for survival: singing, dancing, virtuosity on an instrument. Equally talented individuals, however, might arbitrarily be sent to the gas chambers even after the initial selection. A beautiful girl might be saved, another beaten to death or attacked by dogs trained to maim and kill. The system was a complicated one, with the rules constantly changing, especially for newcomers. Survival was in most cases a matter of individual luck, even if one succeeded in understanding and making some sort of adjustment to the system. One SS officer summed up the system thus: “Only what is ordered is allowed! Anything not ordered is forbidden and will be severely punished.” Unfortunately, no one informed the newcomers (Zugänge) what was permitted.17 Professionals, and those with special skills, had the best opportunity to survive if and when a call for special labor appeared and they were available and strong enough to respond. Such work afforded slightly better conditions, and most important more food. At the same time, these individuals were subject to the same threats from disease and hunger or arbitrary selection. One Greek girl, a newcomer, earned extra food after she impressed her Blockova (block supervisor) with her sewing skills.18 The Kanada Kommando at Birkenau was officially named the Effek­ tenkammer. Prisoners called it Kanada reflecting the immeasurable wealth looted from the victims who passed through the camp. There the food, clothing, medical necessities, and luxuries confiscated from the deportees, who came from all over Europe, were separated into categories and then transshipped to the Reich for distribution to a German citizenry whose resources had already been exhausted by 1941. There too uncounted wealth in jewels, gold, and paper money of a



How a Remnant Survived

dozen nationalities was collected for Nazi war use and future plans.19 The treasures brought by the victims were sorted, recycled, and some were used to suborn the German guards. The disorganized nature of Kanada facilitated a number of escapes. One section of the site was by the railhead and a second within the crematoria complex. Escape from Auschwitz, but also from the gas chamber, was more possible from this area. Clothing, supplies, and money were readily available to potential escapees. Moreover, it furnished hiding places to wait until the search died down, as several Greeks attest. As in Treblinka, it was possible on occasion to escape hidden among the trucks and freight cars full of loot that were regularly shipped back to Germany.20 Strangers for whatever personal reasons, and others for selfish reasons, saved many individuals, and curiously enough some were rescued by their captors. One might generalize and hypothesize; each case was different on the part of the savior. One Salonika Jew was saved by the quick action of an unknown person who, for whatever reason, perhaps her extraordinary beauty, pushed her into the Kanada Kommando while she was on her way to the gas chamber.21 Later, for Christmas 1944, the prisoners put on a variety theater in the Sauna,22 where that same Salonika Jewess, later identified as Olga Benroubi, performed an Easter dance called “Taba.” Her beauty and talent captivated the audience.23 She survived the last months through the encouragement of her fellow prisoners and immigrated to Palestine after the war. Stella Levi reports that the Lagerälteste of her block took pity on the Rhodes girls, who were tormented by the Germanophone prisoners who did not believe the girls were Jewish. Once they recited the prayers in Hebrew, however, she put them with the Francophones. Later, when they were sent to Turkheim, the Salonikan kapos helped some girls by assigning them a safe position; the others unloaded freight cars in neckhigh snow. Moreover, she was lucky to have a decent Todt boss who brought her food. But more noteworthy were the antics of a French girl from Lille; Myriam was a born comedienne and a singer who encouraged the girls every night to sing and dance and thus escape their depressing reality.24 This responsibility, or concern, for those one knew recalls the protection of Lili and Yvette Assael by the notorious guard

How a Remnant Survived

Irma Griese, who was not generally known for her humanity. Erika Kounio too, we shall see, was well treated by her supervisor. Some young Greek mothers were saved on arrival at the selection ramp. Camp policy was to send the old and the young, mothers accompanying their children, and the pregnant, the sick, the infirm, and the invalid directly to the gas chambers. The men who worked at the unloading ramp, also part of the Kanada Kommando, were drawn usually from the immediately preceding transports so that they often witnessed the arrival of their own family members and friends. Albert Menasche recorded how his friend Isaac Tivoli, a pharmacist from Salonika, met his wife and sons arriving on a following transport. His sons, eighteen and twenty, were sent to work in the camp. The Lagerführer promised to save his wife from the crematorium. He did. However, the following morning one of the camp doctors selected the forty-year-old woman.25 More successful was the tactic of Albert Benveniste, who bravely shouted out in Greek for mothers to leave their children with the old women: “The Red Cross will take care of the old women and children.” This risk allowed some of the mothers to survive the initial selection.26 Another member of the Kanada Kommando, Errikos Sevillias, recorded how lucky choices and adroit decisions help him survive.27 On arrival, he was directed to the group destined for the gas chamber. Unaware of the destination, or purpose, of the selection, he jumped to the other group in order to be with his brothers-in-law and nephew.28 Later he was fortunate enough to have dysentery in the quarantine camp and so avoided being selected for the Sonderkommando. Again, during the night selections in 1943, he and a friend repeatedly hid and thus avoided death. In late October 1944, 680 men, many of them Greeks, were selected for a work camp near Breslau. Seventy, including S­evillias, were designated as unfit for travel; once again he switched lines and so avoided the gas chamber. Despite a harrowing winter in several mountain camps, he and a number of the other Greeks survived to return to Athens at the end of August 1945 along with some three hundred Greek male survivors, who passed through the displaced persons camp in ­Katowice and hospitals in Spenheim and Mannheim. The desire to remain with their own was a survival tactic practiced by many of the ethnic and national groups in the camps.



How a Remnant Survived

Whereas the Kanada Kommando was the best location for food and amenities, several other work areas were also relatively well accommodated. Physicians, dentists, and pharmacists were semiprivileged. Their duty was to assist in the medical experiments, comfort the dying in the various blocks and subcamps, and help others survive by performing abortions on pregnant prisoners or killing the baby at birth. Occasionally nonmedical prisoners in the barracks performed these acts. Dentists (mostly French, although several Greek Jews also performed this gruesome task) were sent on demand to the Sonderkommando, where their job was to remove gold teeth and dentures from the corpses prior to cremation.29 Pharmacists usually functioned as orderlies. Peregrinations from the main camp led a number of Greek Jews eventually to Theresienstadt before liberation. Hayyim Refael arrived on the second transport from Salonika. After forty days in quarantine, he joined the many Greeks sent to Monowitz to prepare the ground for construction.30 After six months, he returned to the main camp to work in a construction kommando (Hauskommando). A bout with dysentery proved to be a lifesaver. He entered the hospital weighing only thirty-five kilos; after a winter of “eating at the expense of the dead” his weight increased to sixty-five kilos. He left the hospital for Birkenau, where he was lucky to be assigned in April 1944 to the Kanada Kommando, in time however to suffer the psychological trauma during the summer of the massive Hungarian and Slovakian transports as well as two transports from Greece and Italy.31 In November 1944, he went to Melzbachthal (?) near Breslau, where he dug mines alongside Jews from Rome; at least there the food portions were larger. In January 1945, cannon fire was heard and the Nazis transferred them to a nearby locale to set telephone poles. When the death march began, only a few Greeks remained alive. All he can remember from rest stops in Flossenbürg, where he met Yitzhak Angel, and Ordhuf (Klavinkal Lager), where he tried to escape with Shmuel Nifusi, were the huge pits for burning bodies. Recaptured, they arrived in Buchenwald, then under constant air attack from the Americans. A fourteen-day train ride brought them to Theresienstadt. His survival was primarily a matter of luck. He was the youngest Greek to survive the deportations, although Isaac Bourla makes the same claim. In

How a Remnant Survived

Theresienstadt, while recovering from typhus, he met Esther Vivanti, whom he soon married. Esther Vivanti and Mazal Mordo were two fifteen-year-old girls from Corfu orphaned in Auschwitz. After indoctrination to camp rules in quarantine, Esther met Kula Semo from Arta and later worked with her and Lucia Bivas in Schafhaus in an ammunition factory, where they remained for five months. Another group of Greek girls also worked there. During the German retreat, the slaves went to Willinstadt (?) and then boarded a train for a fourteen-day trip to nowhere. Many girls jumped from the train before it arrived eventually at Theresienstadt, where they were officially liberated on May 10. Esther, Mazal, and Kula survived to immigrate to Israel, where they married and raised families.32 Medical training and skills were paradoxically a desideratum in the concentration camps, at least during certain periods, and many Greeks had practiced as doctors or were in medical school when the war broke out. A number of Greek physicians are recorded in the main camp of Auschwitz and its subcamps.33 One doctor who survived, Albert ­Menasche, opted first for the orchestra, knowing that there he had more opportunity to get food. He also set up a private medical practice, as the orchestra’s conductor recalled in his memoir.34 Later, when the camp needed physicians (late 1944), he avoided a selection by announcing that he was a doctor. A prize-winning flute player, he had also had his daughter Lillian musically trained. This skill availed her only a few months. Just sixteen, she played in the women’s orchestra until a selection on October 19, 1943, doomed her to death on October 22. His memoir contains a description of the male orchestra (the date is probably 1943): six Dutch, seven Greeks, five Polish Aryans, five Polish Jews, four French, three Germans, two Russians, one Norwegian, one Czech, one Italian, and one American. The orchestra numbered fifty in May 1944.35 The women’s orchestra at Auschwitz, reorganized in January 1944, consisted of forty-seven women of various nationalities; Alma Rose, the niece of Gustav Mahler, was conductor.36 In November of that year, the orchestra was evacuated to Bergen-Belsen and never reconstituted. During 1943, there may have been other Greek Jews in the orchestra



How a Remnant Survived

besides Lillian Menasche, but no names have survived. During 1944 there were the two Assael sisters. Lili, a music teacher who played accordion, spent much of her time transcribing musical scores for the orchestra. After the exodus to Belsen and despite being sick, she and her sister Yvette nevertheless survived under the protection of the beautiful and notorious guard Irma Griese.37 The duty of the orchestra was to play marches and other classical music for the prisoners who worked outside the camp. The latter staggered off before dawn to a rousing concert and returned after dark dragging their dead to the strains of Deutsches Hochkultur. Toward the end of the camp’s existence, the orchestra would give up to four concerts on Sundays and Christian holidays.38 (Jewish holidays were reserved for selections.) The women’s orchestra gave special concerts for SS personnel after a transport or selection.39 At the end of October 1944, mutual support assisted Dr. Menasche to survive his peregrinations through the concentration camps.40 His train went through a bombing raid in Berlin and deposited him in Oranienenburg for quarantine. From there he marched to Sachsenhausen and then was sent by train to Dachau, where he arrived in November to begin work in Camp II. Sick with fever, he managed to enter the hospital, where a Parisian colleague, Dr. Sylvain Levy, arranged his transfer to Dachau’s Camp VII. There he met several survivors of the Salonika detachments that had been sent to Warsaw in June 1943.41 Two of his friends from Salonika were in charge of his block and promised to take care of him. Next he was transferred to Dachau’s Camp IV, where he was the doctor for Block 46 and met more Salonika Jews. Again he was evacuated, this time to Camp I, along with his nephew, where the Americans eventually liberated him. In his case, professional as well as national solidarity were key factors in his survival. Whereas Nazi practice was to cover up their policy and the facts of the mass murder of Jews, several groups of prisoners should not have survived at all. Particularly at risk were members of the Sonderkommando, the “secretaries of death” in the Politische Abteilung, and those who underwent medical experiments. Their survival seems to be a matter of luck and resistance by the camp officials as well as the camp underground. It is difficult to substantiate the claims of camp officials to

How a Remnant Survived

their role; many were tried as war criminals and their postwar testimony is at best tendentious. Nonetheless, it is worth recording what evidence we have, if not for wartime evidence then at least for their postwar use. Moisses (Moshe) Mizrahi stemmed from the poorest stratum of Greek Jews, the poverty-stricken family barely surviving in Athens after they migrated from Chios. He was one of the eleven or twelve Greek Jews who survived from the eleventh Sonderkommando, where he first was assigned to crematorium 2. He later served at the burning pit that Hauptscharführer (sergeant major) Moll, supervisor of the gas chamber, had excavated to cremate the overflow of Hungarian Jews during the summer of 1944. One of the Greek Jews from Athens, according to Dr. Marco Nahon, could not suffer this horror and leaped into the flaming pit along with its victims.42 Moshe survived the massacres after the revolt and later mixed in with other prisoners, among them his two brothers and two cousins, who were being evacuated to Dachau. After his brother died outside Vienna, he escaped from the train, was arrested, and was subsequently imprisoned as a Greek Christian (not as a Jew). Assigned to street repair, he escaped with the aid of a Greek laborer and after liberation returned to Greece. Subsequently he retired to the United States, where his son is a cantor. Here too a combination of solidarity and luck helped this simple man survive. None of the survivors of the Sonderkommando could explain why they were not killed before leaving Birkenau. They did know enough, however, to hide their participation in the Sonderkommando when they reached Mauthausen and the question was put to them. Hella Kounio, who was born in Karlsbad and therefore knew German, survived the initial selection. She and her daughter Erika arrived on the first transport from Salonika and were saved through the aid of two non-Jewish sisters from Berlin. They were assigned to the camp registry, where they were protected as part of the administrative staff.43 The women of these offices succeeded in rescuing many individuals from the selections through their control of prisoner numbers, if and when they were asked to intervene by the camp resistance.44 They also functioned as translators for the Greek women and used their position to help some of them overcome the difficulties of adjustment to the



How a Remnant Survived

terrors of the new environment. Erika Kounio also recalled the pleasant attitude, accompanied by extra food, of her supervisor at the Politische Abteilung. Indeed he warned “his girls” surreptitiously not to answer when their numbers were called at the evacuation of the camp; he either knew or suspected that bearers of secrets were destined not to survive.45 How could any of the victims survive, when it was Nazi policy to eliminate any trace of their medical experiments? Was it luck, planning, or some other factor? Insofar as the women were concerned, they attributed their lives to luck. Lore Shelley, a survivor herself who collected the memoirs of those who underwent medical experiments, interviewed Dr. Hans Muench, who was in charge of various aspects of the research facilities at the Hygienic Institute in Rajsko, a subcamp of Auschwitz.46 Muench, who was acquitted of war crimes at the 1947 Auschwitz trial in Cracow, told Shelley that he devised some innocuous experiments at the Institute, for which he drafted the females of Block 10, including a good number of Greeks, at the eleventh hour. With the cessation, if not completion, of the experiments of Clauberg, Schumann, Wirths, and Weber in summer 1944, the subjects should have been killed. Instead, Muench instituted a series of bacteriological experiments from sputum to attempt diagnoses of tuberculosis, ­typhus, spotted fever, and so on; the whole idea was connected with the need for test sera for the SS. Muench claims he specifically asked for the “relatively well-nourished Clauberg inmates in Block 10” rather than fresh subjects from the camps. Periodically the underground would smuggle into the group specific individuals whom it was interested in saving, whether political prisoners, friends, or younger individuals who were thus vetted for survival.47 Mutual support was the major factor in the survival of Yitzhak Belleli of Corfu on the death march that began in Birkenau and left from Auschwitz main camp. Accompanying him were Shabbetai Belleli, Shlomo Belleli, Leon Moustaki, and several others who died along the way. They rested one day at Gross Rosen and then entrained for Dachau, 120 men per wagon (open or closed as they experienced). After a thirty-day quarantine, they went to Mühldorf for three months, where the Greeks shared a block and built an aircraft facility. At night

How a Remnant Survived

they shoveled snow from the runway; they were liberated at the end of April 1945.48 ­Yoachim (Behor) Eliakim of Salonika was in a punishment kommando when he was selected for transfer to Warsaw, where he recalls a typhus epidemic that killed many of the Greeks. In July 1944, he was one of the few surviving Greeks transferred by foot and train to Dachau. There they were fed and refurbished and then sent to build a new camp, Waldlager, where he linked with David Pichon. They survived Allied destruction of the camp and its facilities and later bombing of the train that carried the slaves, until the German surrender, when they were released. Danger continued, however, and a group of soldiers encamped nearby fired on the prisoners, killing many and locking the others in the train until the Americans released them on May 1. Greeks in smaller groups were liberated in lesser-known camps. Isidore Allalouf was a painter in Monowitz (Buna) from the beginning of May 1943 to January 1945 and eventually became responsible for his kommando.49 He was evacuated to Gleiwitz, where he witnessed the German half of the city fleeing to Germany and thence to Berlin, and from there to Oranienenburg where they engaged in cleanup. Then they prepared runways at Flossenbürg and watched the dead burn. As they were marched toward Trostberg, a subcamp of Dachau, the SS indiscriminately murdered large numbers of prisoners. Liberation for him and Raul Saporta came at Trostberg on May 3. After the Americans flew him to Athens, he worked in Salonika for a while and painted for a psychiatrist who advised him to leave the city for another locale lest his prewar memories destroy him. Rather than serve again in the Greek army, he left for Israel in 1949. Dario Akonis represents the poor stevedores of Salonika.50 Poverty forced him to leave primary school after two years, and from age ten he hustled to survive until he got a job at the port, where he worked from sixteen until twenty-one. He left his wife and two young sons at the ramp in Auschwitz and worked in Buna alongside his brothers Nahman and Israel in Kommando 7. After a year, he and one brother worked in the kitchen with Y. Pepo ­Nahman, Sammy Shoel, Salamo (Shlomo) Arukh, Shabbetai Cohen, and another lad named Albert. In January 1945, they left for Gleiwitz for a night’s rest and then to Dora for a night and on to Ehrlich to quarry stone. He survived the Todtzimmer (where the dying were



How a Remnant Survived

a­ llowed a “peaceful” death before being burned in pits) and later found several Greeks. On the way by train to Henken, they were strafed and, he said, “I saw a sea of dead” that the Germans soldiers collected. The Russians soon liberated them at Henken. Fortunately, he met there another Greek, a Christian from Kalamata, and they assisted each other in an adventurous return to Greece. In all of his experiences, he recalled his friends who helped each other survive. The smaller camps are recorded for posterity only in the recollections of survivors. The solidarity that we have already noted among Greek Jews preserves the names and number of Greeks who passed through these forgotten oases of terror in the last days and weeks of the war. In a few instances, they allow us to document where victims died—small consolation to future generations whose extended families all but disappeared during the great slaughter. Rena Bivas (no. 38761) was liberated in Malkof along with Meri Nahman, Flor Bivas, Starina Maestro, Rachel Levi, another Rachel (all from Greece), and two French sisters, Georgette and Paulette. She remembers singing for the Germans “Lili Marlene,” which she translated into Spanish and substituted the names of all those with her in the camp, another tactic that the polyglot Greeks could use. Her husband, Shlomo Bivas (no. 109433), with whom she communicated in camp and even met clandestinely on occasion, was liberated in Hillersleben, a German resort camp where the Americans brought him and three other Greeks along with 420 prisoners. Rivka Belleli of Corfu (no. A-8375), liberated in Saltzweder, found her two sisters and numerous other Greeks alive in Bergen-Belsen.51 Another of the unique phenomena that emerge from the Greek memoirs is the presence of two champion boxers from Salonika who continued to exercise their skills in Auschwitz and other camps. Elsewhere we noted the Greek wrestlers in Warsaw; however, neither mentioned bouts to entertain the guards. On the contrary, it appears that Sunday boxing matches were part of the relaxation allowed the prisoners even in Birkenau. Memoirs rarely mention such entertainment, and scholars have not analyzed the phenomenon. Indeed, without the memoirs cited here (unedited and uncritiqued), such entertainment might well have been overlooked in light of the horrific memories that dominate all survivor testimony. Several facts emerge from these two memoirs that

How a Remnant Survived

were collected in Israel during the 1980s. The two boxers held privileged positions in Birkenau and Buna respectively during 1943 and both were in Buna in 1944. The authorities openly protected them for their entertainment value. The question is, how many other such professionals shared a similar experience? Their being identified as professionals suggests that much depended on the individual and his response to the sorting procedure during quarantine. Also noteworthy is the extent to which they could and did assist their fellow Salonikans through their mobility and access to supplies. Needless to say, they remained in good shape during the entire period of slavery, as did many others who had special skills that were rewarded by their captors. Understandably, this facet of camp life has been generally neglected in the literature. Salomo Arukh recalls being approached many times by andartes to escape forced labor in Thebes prior to the deportation. He and other young Salonikans, however, preferred to return home to assist their families, still presumably in the dire straits in which they left them. When they returned to Salonika, they found them to have been deported, and when they later arrived in Auschwitz they were already orphans. In the quarantine barrack, the Lagerkommandant discovered Arukh was a boxer—as he claimed, the champion of Salonika. For nine months, Arukh had free run of Birkenau with responsibility for order and cleanliness. When the Lagerkommandant was reassigned to the Russian front at the beginning of 1944, he transferred Arukh to Buna, where he met Yaakov (Zhako) Rozen, another champion boxer from Salonika.52 He became chief cook in Buna and so was able to help the Salonikans with extra soup. From Buna he marched to Gleiwitz and from there traveled by train to Bergen (apparently he means Dora); the journey took twelve days, and of the original 150 about 10 died each day in their wagon. While the others slaved to make V-1 and V-2 rockets, he continued to box. Zhako Rozen, the other boxer, worked in the mine. The British liberated them in Bergen-Belsen. He and Rozen sought out the women’s camp and took charge of feeding and clothing the young Greek girls. There he met his wife-to-be, Martha, and eventually settled in Israel. Rozen was also from a poor neighborhood in Salonika.53 He learned to box in the Maccabee Sport Club from Dino Uziel, the Greek boxing champion. In 1937, they swept the card in the Olympia Theater in



How a Remnant Survived

Athens: Rozen as middleweight, Uziel as light heavyweight, and Dimi Ducia from Yugoslavia as heavyweight. During the occupation, he was jailed on a charge of stealing tires from the Germans (worth 350 gold pounds each to the Bulgarians) and after release was interned in Baron Hirsch and shortly thereafter sent to Auschwitz, where he arrived on April 13. When a kapo struck him, he knocked him down and so was acknowledged as a boxer. From quarantine, he went to Buna, where he organized boxing matches every Sunday, the Lagerkapo even supplying a ring for the matches. During the week, he worked in the kitchen and so was able to assist his fellow Salonikans with extra soup. Dr. Cuenca, who may have maintained the Red Cross protection he enjoyed in Salonika, told him to send him anyone weak for a fifteen-day rest in the hospital. He even bought a violin for Zako Cohen for evening entertainment among the Greeks. When they were ready to leave the camp, Cuenca advised him to keep all the Greeks together to assist their survival. From Gleiwitz they went by train to Dora, where he worked on planes and continued to box. In Bergen-Belsen he worked in the kitchen. This last memoir helps to put into perspective the mutual support evidenced by many of the Greek testimonies. As with Joseph Varouh’s organizational skills and their impact on the Sonderkommando revolt, so here we have evidence of Cuenca’s organizational skills. He had worked with the Red Cross in Salonika and his ability to contact individuals in Athens was perceived as a threat to the Germans. In the camps he was able to co-opt and organize mutual aid for the prisoners. Of course, other physicians worked with the Resistance, especially the Poles. Further evidence to elaborate on Cuenca’s activities has yet to come forth.54 Among the sixty-two testimonies collected by Shmuel Refael in Routes of Hell, we note the camps where Greeks were liberated: Dachau (five) Waldlager via Dachau (four) Mühldorf via Dachau (one) Feldafing via Mühldorf (four) Tutsing via Mühldorf (two) Malkhof (one) Leipzig via Malkof (three)

How a Remnant Survived

Neubandberg via Malkhof (one) Hillersleben via Magdeburg (one) Mauthausen (three) Gusen 1 (one) Gusen 2 (one) Ebensee (two) Neustein via Mauthausen (one) Bergen-Belsen (nine) Saltzweder via Bergen-Belsen (one) Buchenwald (one) Fleissberg via Buchenwald (one) Altoting via Fleissberg (one) Gatzberg via Buchenwald (one) Trostberg via Oranienenberg (one) Neustadtlager via Dora (one) Neustadtgalba (one) Henken via Ehrlich (one) Schferin (one) Ravensbrück (one) Karlsbad (one) Breslau (one) Theresienstadt (two) Blechheimer (two) Auschwitz (two) Warsaw (three)

Though but a small part of the travails of Greek Jews, this experience of thirty-two camps and locales by some fifty-seven prisoners is a fair indication of the mobility among the slaves through the thousands of work, punishment, and annihilation camps in the Third Reich. (Several of the witnesses in Refael’s book hid in Greece, and the rest fought with partisans in Poland and Greece.) In a number of instances, the memoirs record the presence of other Greeks in these camps. Itzhak Nechama was among the more fortunate Greek Jews drafted directly out of quarantine in Birkenau for labor in German wartime industry. After thirty-eight days, he was assigned to an anti-aircraft artillery factory, where he worked for eighteen months. Then in January 1945



How a Remnant Survived

he was sent to Mauthausen (arrived on the 29th); later he was assigned to the Mauthausen work camp called Gusen I, where he remained until liberation. The better working conditions of his factory experience gave him an edge over the arrivals in Gusen from Birkenau, who died at an increasing rate.55 A parallel to Nechama’s experience was that of Zak (Isaac) Stroumsa (no. 125097), who began his slavery in the orchestra at Birkenau, under­ went an operation in Auschwitz, and aggressively approached an SS officer identifying himself as an electrical engineer. He was reassigned to Monowitz where he assisted, and ultimately befriended, the German civilian engineer in charge. They even exchanged addresses, which led to Stroumsa’s arrest by the Gestapo and subsequent trial in Auschwitz. Mirabile dictu he was acquitted and continued with the Union Kommando until January 19, 1945. He spent the remaining months of the war in Gusen 2 Lager.56 In all of the Greek survivors’ memoirs, there is an emphasis on luck, mutual support, and determination to survive. These are the three key ingredients that most survivors record.57 Two survival incidents illustrate this point. Morris Moshe relates that toward the end of the war he was on a prisoner train at Poing (just east of Munich). Some of the Germans began firing at him and several other Greeks (Salvator Moshe and the two daughters of Rabbi Mordekhai Seisas). A Wehrmacht officer threatened the soldiers with his pistol and thus saved them.58 Heinz Kounio and his father Salvator were among the few Jews (of three hundred) to survive the Allied bombing of the clothing factory outside Auschwitz I, which he dates in September 1944. In fact, his father was completely buried in the debris of the collapsed building, and only by luck did his son hear his voice.59 Primo Levi notes these factors as a key characteristic in the survival of the Greeks, listing “their aversion to gratuitous brutality, their amazing consciousness of the survival of at least a potential human dignity,” which “made of the Greeks the most coherent national nucleus in the Lager, and in this respect, the most civilized.”60 Some Greeks deported in March and April 1944 were drafted in groups directly from quarantine to other camps and so managed to avoid the horrors of the Auschwitz experience completely; their solidarity contributed to their survival. Dr. Aharaon Peretz recalled this

How a Remnant Survived

ethnic solidarity in describing a group of Salonika Jews whom he met in Stutthof. Peretz claims that these Greeks nearly took over the men’s camp, some functioning as kapos, others as a burial detail, but all preoccupied with survival as a group. These Greeks had been transferred from Auschwitz, presumably at the end of 1944 and on arrival effectively defied the German guards by refusing to understand any orders, despite continued beatings. They shared everything: food, cigarettes, and power. They exhibited a gallows humor mixed with a joie de vivre that astonished the doctor.61 Moses Samuel, who arrived in Auschwitz on April 8, 1943, recalled an incident that illuminates another facet of the relationship of language to survival. When one Salonikan, Saul Molcho, indicated that he knew German, the guards beat him. Whereupon Samuel and the other five hundred Salonikans henceforth refused to acknowledge any comprehension of German and so avoided repetition of the incident.62 Aside from the tactic of professed ignorance, there was another general factor in this example. Depending on time and place, within the complexity of the camp experiences the ability of a large enough group to defy the guards by refusal to do certain work was occasionally successful. The defiance of the Greek Jews on two occasions in not working in the Sonderkommando was unsuccessful, but Hermann Langbein records a number of collective acts of defiance that did succeed.63 The Jewish doctors in all the hospitals assisted the camp resistance movement in a number of ways, primarily by suborning the SS personnel, which allowed them to protect patients from selection, and by admitting more patients than the quota allowed.64 Jack Handali has added a further note to these underground attempts to save young Jews. Leon Stasiak, a Polish Communist who had gained the confidence of the Polish underground in Auschwitz I, told him after the war that the Underground arranged for younger Jews to be assigned to easier tasks. He accepted this report and correlated it with his own experiences, which he had hitherto considered a matter of a lucky assignment.65 The resistance network in the camp did not only single out individuals for safer jobs. Indeed, gentile prisoners and Allied POWs were smuggled out of the camps on numerous occasions. Other memoirs contain similar stories and suggest that luck is too general a term to



How a Remnant Survived

account for the survival of certain categories of Jewish slaves, such as medical personnel, young people, artists, and artisans.66 But for the majority, luck was still a predominant factor, though occasionally influenced by other circumstances. Morris Moshe records how a group of Greeks survived a selection when the lawyer Raphael Habib called them together to sanctify the Sabbath.67 After the service, the Polish kapo informed them that in their absence a selection occurred to fill a transport for the gas chamber. When the kapo could not find them, the SS dispatched the depleted transport without them. The religious background of the Salonikans was a strong element in the survival of many of them. Joseph (Pepo) Salem, a well-trained hazan (cantor), kept his sanity by mentally rehearsing the range of Salonikan melodies that he had mastered, and by conducting services whenever possible.68 In a similar vein, Moshe Halegua, a young rabbinical student in Salonika, kept his focus by assisting a well-known (but unnamed) Polish rabbi in Warsaw during Passover 1944.69 The Salonika religious tradition was coupled with a deep and abiding love for music that perpetuated among the women the romanceros and balladas of medieval Spain and among the men the rich musicological heritage of Romaniot and Sephardi piyyutim that had been enriched by exposure to the creative and mystical music of the Ottoman Bektashi dervishes. Moses Refael, who was instrumental in organizing the postwar choral group of Greek survivors in Israel in the late 1970s, emphasizes that such a passion sustained him and the other sixteen members of the choral. So much did the Salonikans in particular, and the other Greeks as well, impress the Nazis in camps that Refael recalls the Germans nicknaming them Die Singende Pferde (“the singing horses”).70 Lucia Franco of Kos notes how the Germans demanded their schwarzen Italienen sing the popular song “Mama” as they marched; the girls soon turned it into their act of resistance. After the final evacuation of prisoners from Auschwitz on January 21, 1945, approximately sixty-eight hundred prisoners who were either too sick to travel or whom the SS missed were left in the complex. According to Jozof Bellert, who headed the Polish Red Cross team after the camp’s liberation, only seventeen of them were Greeks.71 The Greek experiences in Bergen-Belsen are markedly different from

How a Remnant Survived

the Auschwitz stories we have been following. The experiences are divided into two distinct narratives. One concerns those who were taken on death marches to the fields between the German towns of Bergen and Belsen and left to starve or freeze to death, if they survived the epidemics that ravaged the wretched slaves. This story begins in the fall of 1944 and is part of the general collapse of the Third Reich and its extended concentration camp system. This facet of the camp more properly belongs to the previous chapter, which chronicles the deaths of over ten thousand Greek Jewish exiles throughout the Nazi empire. A different fate befell those “privileged” Jews who either belonged to the Judenrat of Thessaloniki or held Spanish passports. Theirs is a story of tangled diplomatic maneuvering and intrigue between German and Italian allies, between Spain and the Western allies—in particular the American Joint Distribution Committee and the U.S. government.72 It is the story of survival in a special concentration camp as hostages for trade and negotiation. It highlights the tensions between the Dutch Jews and the Salonika contingent.73 Here the Salonikans fought among themselves as well as taking advantage of the Dutch over whom the Salonikan Judenrat initially held authority. The camp at Bergen-Belsen was started in the summer of 1943; Werner Weinberg, a German Jew, who was part of the second Dutch transport (January 1944) to the camp, recalled the dated inscriptions carved in the beds. The camp was constructed with stone barracks to hold hostages who would be used to trade for Germans (POWs and the Templar colony from Palestine, which the British had interned). Originally there were seventy-four Greeks74 in the new camp (the story of the two Spanish transports will be dealt with separately); later some two thousand Dutch Jews joined them. The administration of the camp remained for a while in the hands of the Greeks. A revolt of the Dutch on December 22, 1944, succeeded in having the SS replace Jacques Albala, whose viciousness had been perfected in Salonika, with Walter Hanke, whom the Dutch considered a good man, as Lagerälteste.75 The Greeks did not fare well in Dutch memory.76 The political administration of the camp consisted of Jacques Albala as Judenälteste— indeed he had his own kapo, a less-than-brutal criminal from Berlin named Walter Hanke—and Edgar Kounio as Arbeitsführer, who earned



How a Remnant Survived

a reputation as a dreaded slave driver and who considered himself better even than the SS Scharfführer. Kounio, however, assigned the Dutch Jews the best jobs (the kitchen and garden kommandos). Additionally there were Leo, a handsome brute who functioned as a kind of kapo, and an Alfred who, being retired (!), did no work. Rabbi Koretz was occasionally sick and weakened by hunger throughout his period of imprisonment, and according to his son he appeared only to fight with Albala. The four Orthodox Dutch rabbis in the camp, though they permitted their co-religionists to eat the camp soup, refused it for themselves and died of starvation. Hence it is unlikely that they had much contact with Koretz; at least his son does not mention any in his memoir of the camp. The tensions between the upper-class Athenian Sephardim and the middle- and lower-class Salonikan Judenrat whom they treated with contempt also made an impression on the Dutch. At the beginning of August 1943, the 365 Salonika Sephardim bearing Spanish passports were deported on the last train to Auschwitz, where their car was detached and forwarded to Bergen-Belsen. They were released to Spain at the beginning of 1944 through the efforts of the War Refugee Board and the Joint, which removed them, as part of the agreement with Franco, to a holding camp near Casablanca. From there they were taken to Palestine whence most of them returned to Greece in midAugust 1945. The Sephardim of Athens, numbering 155 with Spanish passports and 19 with Portuguese documents, were deported on March 25, 1944. They were found by the Americans on April 13, 1945, in a train en route to the Spanish border, sent to a transit camp in Bari, and from there repatriated to Greece.77 On the other hand, Dr. Jean A ­ lalouf was a respected doctor and competent administrator of the health services in the camp; the Queen of Holland honored him after the war for his humanitarian services.78 He was not, though, able to save Rabbi ­Koretz from the typhus that he contracted in Tröbitz after liberation from the camp. At the end of the war, the last train from the BergenBelsen privileged camp brought the surviving Greek and Dutch Jews to Tröbitz; the Greek Jews moved to the neighboring village of Schilda, where Rabbi Koretz died on June 2, 1945, after a fourteen-day illness. Werner Weinberg, later a Reform rabbi at Hebrew Union College in

How a Remnant Survived

Cincinnati, buried him in the Jewish graveyard at Tröbitz, where his son Arie said kaddish.79 The vast majority of Greek Jews railroaded to the Auschwitz complex were efficiently murdered on arrival in the new technological facilities developed in the camp (Chapter 5). Their experiences in 1943 overlapped those of the Dutch Jews who suffered their destruction at the same time. A comparison of the fates of those selected for labor or experiments points up the responses of these two groups. The Dutch urban Jews could not adjust to the violence of forced prison life as well as the Jews of Greece for whom economic hardship was a natural condition. The Greeks, on the other hand, could not adjust to the violent extremes of Polish weather, and many died rapidly. Moreover, the endemic malaria of Greece, which they brought with them to the camps, singled them out for what I call prophylactic selections (Chapter 6). Though isolated by virtue of their linguistic heritage, it was mainly through their traditional social structure—which drew its strength from ancestral religious practices, a will to survive, and luck assisted by innate cleverness—and unknown camp resistance activities that about 18 percent lived through the vicissitudes of Auschwitz and other camps (Chapter 6). Further study of the many memoirs now appearing may elicit other factors and deeper understanding of those we have already noted.


E i g h t Freedom or Death


Resistance in Greece during World War II is a complicated affair that, for our story, involves Greeks, both Christians and Jews, along with British, American, and Palestinian Jewish forces. Many of these separate elements worked at cross-purposes on occasion thanks to the differing goals of each group. At times, however, several were to work in tandem with impressive results that were either beneficial or deleterious to the local populations or the war effort. It is necessary for our purposes to untangle these separate elements from their postwar apologia and fit them into a general pattern of war history for the period 1941 to 1944. Only in this way can their respective attitudes or nonattitudes toward the Jews in Greece be clarified. In a later section of this chapter, the role of the Greek Jews in the Resistance is explored in light of their aims and accomplishments. The Greek Resistance to the Axis dates, in Greek eyes, to the refusal of Ioannis Metaxas to surrender to Italian demands in the predawn ultimatum of October 28, 1940. Subsequently this date has entered the national calendar as Oxi day, the date on which the Greeks said “No!” to the Axis and stood shoulder to shoulder with a beleaguered Great Britain, which, despite having been chased from a defeated Western Europe, remained the sole bulwark against the Axis. Victorious over the Italians for more than five months, an exhausted Greece was quickly overrun by Nazi forces in April 1941. The Greek Resistance was manifold and was fought on a number of levels according to the locale. Crete, for example, opted for what Nikos Kazantzakis called “Freedom or Death,” for only in the latter was the former obtained. More than a thousand Cretans were deported

Freedom or Death

to Mauthausen, and even more were shot in reprisals, let alone the greater number of women and children butchered by the Wehrmacht in “cleansing operations.” Nine thousand is the figure cited by the Greek court in its indictment of the Wehrmacht generals and their cohorts. On the other hand, the war between the “Right” and the “Left” saw German-sponsored Security Battalions invade the Peloponnese to restore control to a Quisling Athens. In Epirus, from the end of 1942 to 1944 EDES struggled to control the highlands from Arta to Ioannina against occasional German attack and persistent ELAS attempts to incorporate that movement into its own network. ELAS(the fighting arm of EAM), increasing in strength from the end of 1942, dominated Central Greece (the Pindus and Olympus ranges) and absorbed or extirpated rival andarte bands in its attempt to create a new social order for the Greek mountains. This was a social revolution that never succeeded; yet it is of historic interest when divorced from postwar polemics. Greek Resistance falls, then, into a number of distinct periods. Moreover, they do not follow each other chronologically, and some areas of Greece never experienced all the stages. One also must distinguish between the better-known resistance in the mountains, traditionally the refuge of the free Greek, and the resistance in the cities, where EAM was supreme. Within EAM one should distinguish between the secret KKE goal to create a Communist regime in Greece and its socialist or democratic allies who pursued their own interests. The danger to the historian is to telescope all of this complication into an insidious view of a republican or monarchist right (the stages in this development are complicated) versus a red left. With these ­caveats in mind, we shall attempt to scan the complexity of the Greek Resistance insofar as it affected the Jewish communities in Greece. Of necessity, this perspective may be strange to the contemporary reader who has been trained to see the problem as stated above rather than in the context of the complex history of the period. No excuses are necessary to this presentation of a novel perspective; historically it can be justified by the sources at hand, although admittedly others may have their own historical view and prejudices based on a political analysis of the surviving sources. Perhaps a more competent position would be for the historian to compare the Yugoslavian and Albanian



Freedom or Death

situations to the Greek story, but that would be beyond the limits of this study.1 The story begins with the tragedy of the Greco-German war. Prior to the German invasion, the Greeks succeeded for any number of reasons—their bravery versus Italian incompetence must rank high on the list—in pushing Mussolini’s legions back across the Albanian border and holding a line against all subsequent attempts to renew the Italian offensive. At the same time, Greece had heavily defended its northern frontier in Thrace, with the construction of the Metaxas line of forts, against a potential Bulgarian (if not a possible German) attack through that old World War I nemesis.2 The Greek tragedy, which Athens followed unto defeat, was to count on the Yugoslavs to protect the ­Monastir Gap. When the latter failed to do so, the historical tragedy was complete, and Greece was doomed to defeat even though in some cases she chose to fight to the last man, as in the battles for Rupel Fort and Crete.3 The politics of the Western option have complicated this historical tragedy due to the British (who were the most involved) domination of the historiography of the Greco-German war. Indeed, the Greeks have not made a successful effort in describing it from their perspective.4 That story begins with the British decipherment of the German code, the so-called Ultra secret. Once Churchill knew of Hitler’s plans, already at the end of 1940, to attack the Soviet Union in the spring of 1941, his efforts were turned toward forcing the Yugoslavs and Greeks to engage the Germans in order to allow Stalin sufficient time to prepare for the attack. Unfortunately, until the actual day of Operation Barbarossa Stalin refused to believe that Hitler would renege on their mutual pact. Stalin, after all, would keep his word—as he understood it—to the letter until the end of the war. Only then would he break it, at least in the eyes of the West. The British also engineered it that Col. William Donovan, Roosevelt’s new chief of the OSS, would go to Belgrade and try to influence the Yugoslavs to take a more active defense against Axis arms in the area. That mission contributed to a coup in support of the Allies and forced Hitler to implement Operation Marita, which was his planned option in such a turn of events in Yugoslavia. In the meantime, the British had convinced the Greeks

Freedom or Death

to allow them to assist in the case of a German attack by supplying seventy-five thousand men and equipment to defend several alternative lines, none of which were decided until too late; the continued delay resulted from the Greeks hoping against all odds that the Yugoslavs would plug the Monastir Gap. As in World War I, part of the British force was landed in Salonika and another in Volos in order to take up various positions in Greek Macedonia. The tragedy then acted out its final scene. German, Hungarian, and Italian troops attacked an unprepared (and internally divided) Yugoslavia, which fought bravely and collapsed. Many of her troops retreated to Greece or into the mountains, where they formed the core of two opposing resistance movements that shortly developed there. At the same time, German troops in Bulgaria smashed against the Metaxas line, which sometimes held until the last man in some of the more heroic fighting of the Balkan campaigns. With Salonika occupied on April 9, the Greek troops in Thrace were cut off and forced to surrender. As the British evacuated Salonika, blowing up all militarily useful supplies and transportation in the process, and fell back toward Olympus in a scorched earth retreat, the Northern Epirote Army, still in Albania and now cut off, opted for surrender. There were two lines of organized retreat south: one from Ioannina to Arta to Patras, the other along the Aegean coast to Athens. The Greeks and the British held a last defensive line in the Peloponnese while the successful rescue of the fighting contingents of Australians and New Zealanders was effected as planned on the same day Britain announced it was stripping the North African defenses to come to the aid of Greece and her king. These troops were lifted off the beaches in Attica and around Kalamata and brought to Crete. The remainder, consisting of Cretan fighting divisions and other Christian and Jewish Greek soldiers, retreating Serbs, and thousands of auxiliary elements in the British Expeditionary Force—including fifteen hundred Palestinian Jewish volunteers, mostly in transportation; for political reasons they were not allowed to fight—were taken prisoner if they surrendered, or went into hiding either among the local population or into the mountains, where they formed fledgling resistance bands or attempted to escape to Crete, Egypt, or later to Turkey in order to rejoin the main British forces.5



Freedom or Death

If the British military aid to Greece was a calculated political act of derring-do that resulted in a catastrophe (see below) for Greece, the heroic defense of Crete overseen by General Bernard Freyberg, a Jew from New Zealand, was the first of the two gallant “failures” that were to write important chapters in the British military history of World War II. Suddenly, a new kind of warfare was initiated in Crete. It would not be the first novelty for the Balkans; the partisan war that would wreak such damage in Yugoslavia and Greece from 1942 to 1944 was also something new for the professional German and British armies. At the same time Freyberg was assessing his forces—both British and Allied Imperial troops and the remnants of the Greek army—to face the German attack (with the help of indirect Ultra reports), the navy received orders to offlift on signal the British defenders of Crete. Freyberg thus went into battle under orders to abandon Crete on command from Cairo. The ten days of Crete witnessed a bloody no-holds-barred slaughter between General Freyberg’s imperial defenders and General Student’s crack paratroopers, who invaded the island by air, a first for World War II and never successfully repeated by either side.6 The battle for Crete hung in the balance for ten days, although the Germans won the initial advantage, which they maintained through their control of Maleme airfield, taken on the first day. Alongside the activities of all troops in uniform, the Cretan population fought valiantly and with vigor. The civilians slaughtered German paratroopers as they landed. Such was their courage, respected by the Wehrmacht for its ferocity, that when seventeen Cretan women in traditional costume were brought as prisoners of war to Athens during the campaign, they were allowed to keep their knives as a badge of honor during their imprisonment.7 On the tenth day, with the issue still in doubt on both sides, General Freyberg was ordered to withdraw. The battle for Crete was officially over, and the resistance simultaneously began among those Greek and Imperial troops trapped on the island. Only at this point can the question of German reprisals against the “innocent” ­civilian population be discussed from an historical perspective.8 From April, May, and June 1941 until November 1942, throughout Greece (moving from north to south and following the German advance) the Resistance in Greece has to be seen as the continuation of

Freedom or Death

the Greek war against the Germans (with the aid of Imperial stragglers who joined operational units or who were hidden among the local population). In November 1942, a new stage was initiated with the mission of Brigadier E. M. Myers to immobilize German communications and supplies to General Rommel, who was carrying on a successful campaign against the British in North Africa. Myers’s mission was the second gallant failure of the British in Greece and lasted from November 1942 to the summer of 1943. These dates circumscribe the initial stages of the emergence of a civil war among the Greek Resistance forces that would break out into an internecine tragedy from the summer of 1943 to October 1944, under the aegis of his successor Maj. Christopher Woodhouse. Myers was an engineer teaching in the British military college in Haifa before being assigned to Cairo headquarters. An English Jew of remote ancestry (by coincidence, he was a cousin of Freyberg’s), he was chosen for the mission thanks to SOE (Special Operations Executive, an impromptu British program formed in 1940 to support resistance movements in occupied Europe) policy of having a senior officer supervise the mission, which entailed blowing up a major bridge on the northsouth rail line through Greece. In September 1942, a Greek agent of the British called for the mission through his clandestine radio. The British were relatively quick to react. Myers received additional parachute training; as second in command, he was assigned the much younger Woodhouse, who had read classics at Oxford and was fluent in modern Greek, and a crew that included both a Palestinian Jew as radio­man and a Palestinian Arab skilled with a knife.9 Commando tactics adopted by the British in Cairo were based on those developed by Orde Wingate and introduced among the Haganah in Palestine during the 1930s. After some initial vicissitudes, Myers succeeded in carrying out his mission (code-named Harling), the destruction of the Gorgopotamos Bridge. Assisting him were the forces of Napoleon Zervas (forty men) and Aris Velouchiotis (one hundred men), each representing what would become the two major contending Greek resistance forces during the subsequent course of the German-Italian occupation. Colonel (later general) Zervas was the acknowledged leader and spirit of EDES. At first an avowed republican, he later became a monarchist through the



Freedom or Death

influence of Woodhouse, with whom he became a boon companion. Velouchiotis, a recanted Communist, had the most prominent band within the group that subsequently became ELAS, which by spring 1943, under the leadership of Col. Stefanos Sarafis, was to become the regular (if illegal) army of EAM, the latter a congeries of republican and socialist groups subsequently dominated by the KKE, the Greek Communist Party. The destruction of the Gorgopotamos Bridge on November 25, 1942, was the first international and intra-Greek resistance success.10 It was a unique feat that fired the imagination of the Cairo command; however, it was never repeated on such a scale.11 The Germans used two hundred eighty-six Greek Jews and Christians to repair the Gorgopotamos Bridge. In June 1943, Myers’s British team alone demolished the Asopos Bridge.12 Myers’s report to Cairo led to a change in the nature of his mission, which officially terminated with the destruction of the Gorgopotamos Bridge. As he and his team made their way to the Adriatic coast, where a submarine was to meet them for the return to Cairo, his superiors in SOE made the decision to leave him in Greece to organize the Greek Resistance in accordance with Winston Churchill’s vision of “setting Europe ablaze” through underground resistance. This policy would entail sabotage against German communications and arranging for supplies to those guerrilla bands, which Myers would absorb under an organizational umbrella. Myers thus followed two policies during the next eight months: sabotage as directed from Cairo (this was coordinated with the overall Mediterranean strategy and was also geared to keeping the Germans prepared for the pseudo-Balkan invasion) and the political one, which he succeeded in formalizing, albeit doomed to failure because of the nemesis of the stasis that had been a fixed factor in Greek politics since World War I. Myers assigned his officers as British liaison officers (BLOs) to the major bands. Woodhouse was sent to Zervas in Epirus, where he eventually induced this old republican to make a statement in favor of the king, now in exile between London and Cairo, where he had two separate and conflicting governments.13 Konstantin Pyramoglou, Zervas’s second, remained a staunch republican, as did most of his officers. Myers remained with the main body of ELAS, which was staunchly antimon-

Freedom or Death

archist. It was also several months before he learned via Woodhouse that ELAS was under the control of the KKE, which set policy through the Central Committee of EAM. He was informed of this by Woodhouse, who entered occupied Athens in January 1943 and learned of the KKE control of EAM and of the “paper resistance” of the ­Athens-bound Greek generals. For as long as Myers was in Greece, he succeeded in subordinating political problems to the actual military policy against the occupiers. He did succeed in having all the (Greek national) bands sign an agreement—the Natbands Treaty of July 1943—which formed a shaky structure within which he could follow his orders to harass the occupiers in conjunction with Allied Mediterranean strategy.14 After Myers was reassigned in August 1943, the Greek Resistance entered a new stage. Woodhouse, still with Zervas, became head of the mission for SOE. His anti-Communist reports exacerbated the confusion among his SOE control center in Cairo, which was also receiving pro-ELAS reports from its other BLOs. Shortly thereafter SIS, another British agency in Cairo, began to send in its own liaison agents to gather data.15 This too was conflicting because of the tensions between EDES and ELAS, always expressed by the Greeks in political terms. Later the Americans sent in their own agents to supply information to OSS and other branches of the U.S. military. Usually under the protection of the BLOs, these Americans tended to reflect the attitude of the latter. Finally, in August 1944 the Americans sent in a brigade of Greek-­A mericans, who divided into nine groups to sabotage and harass the Germans during their final months in Greece.16 The idea was to convince the Wehr­ macht that the invasion of Europe would still come through Greece and that the approximately three hundred thousand German troops in Greece would be tied down in defense and pacification, thus keeping them from reinforcing either the Italian (since the Sicilian crossing) or the developing French front (since the Normandy landings). During this period from August 1943 to October 1944, the unstable structure of the Natbands broke down into an off-and-on civil war between EDES and ELAS, in which both sides either made truce or cooperated with the Germans in their internecine strife.17 Also during July to September 1943, from the removal of Mussolini to the surrender of Italy (and precisely during the transition from Myers to Woodhouse),



Freedom or Death

the Germans faced the collapse of the Italian forces in Greece. At this “stab in the back,” Hitler was furious and punished the Italians accordingly. Those who did not surrender to the Germans were attacked, and after surrender their officers were shot; of the 140,000-man occupation force, most were sent to German labor camps. Some units were reorganized and fought with the Germans. Others surrendered to Woodhouse or different resistance units18 and were rearmed to fight (ineffectually) against the Germans. Many individuals, either former prisoners or new recruits, joined ELAS units and remained in the mountains until the German evacuation. Alongside the BLO and individual Imperial troops, the American agents and the Greek-American brigade, and the organized Italian units and individuals, there were other non-Greeks in the mountains. Escaped Soviet POWs, including Jews, fought with the resistance in Crete. Deserters from the Wehrmacht included Russians, Poles, Czechs, Hungarians, and others who had been in combat, occupation, or labor units. Also there were small groups of deserters from various units of the infamous Strafbattalions 999 (these units were their only exit from a concentration camp), which fought with ELAS in Chalkidiki. The deserters demanded to fight only against SS troops and not against the regular Wehrmacht.19 Communist and other bands from Albania, Yugoslavia, and Bulgaria freely crossed into Greek Macedonia and occasionally into Thrace. Among Greeks the situation was also extremely complicated. While the Epirote and Central Greek mountains were under the control of EDES and ELAS respectively, the Peloponnesus, Macedonia, Thrace, and the islands were divided between ELAS units (in the minority) and local fighting units (usually royalists). The Greek government in Athens, under German control, was allowed to raise Security Battalions of evzones20 to fight against the “communists” primarily in southern Greece and keep order in the region of Athens. Also, the Axis organized Vlach, Slav, Turcophone Greek, and other ethnic bands in northern Greece and fanned their ethnic animosities to keep the resistance forces in the north off balance. It is against the background of this complex chaos that one must read the story of the massacres of the Greek villagers during 1943 and

Freedom or Death

1944. It was they who bore the brunt of German anger expressed in both Wehrmacht and SS barbarity and brutality. Occasionally additional victims to the overall Jewish tragedy can be counted among the general butchery. Among the three hundred killed during an Epirote village wedding celebration was a Jewish family who had been invited to the wedding.21 Nor did the fighting bands show any mercy to hostile villages, which by the nature of the situation included everyone in rural Greece. Potentially there was no safe place in Greece during that period (the situation was exacerbated during the civil war that followed the German evacuation, but this story is beyond our scope) except through the strength of one’s own arms. The civilian population—mainly the aged, women, and children—suffered their fate as stoically as the urban Greeks endured the terrible famine of the 1941–42 winter. To paraphrase Thucydides, the deutsche invasion brought in its wake dearth and death. The attitude of the Resistance toward the Jews was magnanimous. Anyone who spoke Greek was considered a Greek; only his politics determined his fate. If a man were hiding from the Germans, it was better for him not to express any counterpolitical views.22 Moreover, the Jews of Greece during the interwar period had not actively participated in the stasis that characterized Greek politics. While Athenian Jews supported Venizelos, Salonikan Jews had to contend with the animosity of his followers. Jews of the smaller provincial towns honored the king as the symbol of Greece. They loyally served Greece, and their own interests too, of course—perhaps the only organized group to do so on this level—and thus they were not caught up, save for individuals, in the revolutionary struggles of the wartime period. Consequently any Greek Jew who escaped or was recruited to the mountains was welcomed into the various Greek Resistance units.23 More often than not however, a Greek Jew served under an alias (to be discussed), which obscured his Jewish identity and obfuscated the postwar reconstruction of his contribution to the anti-Nazi record of the resistance. EAM actively recruited young Jews for the mountains, although no documentation states an official policy.24 Rather there seems to have been a general sympathy for Jews among various organizers within EAM (see next section); Andreas Tzimas even tried to approach Myers



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on this level.25 Jews in the student section of EAM at the University of Thessaloniki may also have been a factor. Once in the mountains, these youths also served with no overt indication that they were Jews. What is clear in general (we shall explore it shortly) is that the Resistance did not coordinate its policies and actions with any specific regard to the Jewish tragedy. In only a few instances were Jews in the Resistance able to intervene on behalf of their co-religionists. Urban Jewish families were encouraged to escape into the mountains, where they were offered the traditional hospitality that the villagers freely gave to victims of lowland oppression.26 ELAS took many of them under its protection, and as Sarafis records it was one of his more satisfying memories of that tragic period in Greek history to have helped these refugees survive the war.27 His memoirs suggest that he was unaware of the many Jews among his officers and troops. Both the organized and unorganized resistance in the cities of Thessaloniki and Athens and elsewhere also helped to hide Jews from their Nazi persecutors. Individual police in Salonika rescued their friends and occasionally even their families (see the upcoming story of Mosheh Bourla), while in Athens the chief of police, Col. Angelos Evert, actively supported and rescued Jews—an example followed by many of his men.28 Markos Vafiades of EAM relates in his memoirs how he recruited young Jewish students in Thessaloniki for ELAS. Many, however, later returned home to accompany their parents into exile (read: death) in Poland. Individual Greeks saved their school friends, sometimes by pulling them bodily out of the transport marches to the train station and hiding them for the duration of the occupation. Others tried to arrange for the escape of personal friends and business colleagues, but in too many cases the individual Jews concerned chose to stay with their families. This helping hand is first evidenced by the actions of the Red Cross (International Committee, Swiss, and Hellenic) in Thessaloniki in July 1942, followed by various foreign consulates protecting “their” citizens and employees. Moreover, the French and Swiss consulates, in a policy followed by the Swedish and other Red Cross units active elsewhere in Greece, did not identify those they helped by religion, the Germans having forbidden any allocations to Jews.29 This policy was commend-

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able in that it succored Jews at the time, but it left no information in their respective archives to elaborate on the extent of the assistance. The limited data available indicate that the Jews were equally treated when possible. A group identifying itself with the initials EBE, which stood for “Greeks, Help the Jews,” matched the clandestine help in Thessaloniki. The liberal politician George Exindaris revealed the existence of this otherwise unknown organization, perhaps connected with the Archbishop of Athens Damaskinos, after his escape to Cairo in mid-1943. By the time the formal resistance was organized in Thessaloniki (PAO in late spring and EPON in the summer), it was already too late; nearly all of the Salonikan Jews had been deported to Auschwitz. In any case, it would have been impossible to save more than a handful of individuals given the local situation. On the one hand, Thessaloniki was the seat of the German occupation forces in Greece until the fall of 1943, and its Jewish population was a highly visible and demographically large minority compactly organized in readily identifiable areas. It was much easier for the Greeks, for example, to hide or pass on occasional escaped Imperial troops, including several Palestinian Jews and Arabs. Yet only a few of these soldiers succeeded in freeing themselves from German confinement or recapture. Recent studies on bystanders and the local Greek administration in Salonika indicate that more detailed research is necessary into the problem of assistance compared to the loss of nearly the entire community. Nicholas Hammond, the BLO for Thessaloniki, arrived there late in the spring of 1943. He took up headquarters in the now-abandoned Baron Hirsch quarter along with squatters and ELAS units and was informed of the recent deportation of the Jewish community only on June 6, when ELAS units brought him a rabbi whom it had kept under protection in the mountains.30 Hammond’s report notwithstanding, the general British ignorance of the fate of the Jews—indeed, their total disregard—is characteristic of all the SOE and SIS reports sent during the war or in oral and written postwar memoirs. Not only the officers in the field but even their respective headquarters in Cairo and various British government bureaus (Foreign, Colonial, and Home Offices) in London seemed unaware as well as unconcerned about the tragedy



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threatening or overtaking Greek Jews during the war.31 A fighting resistance in Thessaloniki emerged only in the late summer of 1943, perhaps after the final deportation of the Judenrat to Bergen-Belsen. In Thessaloniki, we must admit that the timing was too late to save the community. (For the attitude of the local population, see Chapter 4.) From Ioannina, where Jews made up about one-quarter of the city’s inner population, we have the same silence. The SIS officer who gathered intelligence on the German order of battle for his Cairo command from a variety of sources in the city (which included the German translator as well as the numerous young boys and girls who came up to his headquarters regularly on weekends to party with the andartes) was also totally ignorant of the Jewish tragedy unfolding there. He was not even informed that the deportation of the Jews had taken place! Nor can one find a hint of the Jewish tragedy on Corfu in the written report—extremely detailed even as to the caliber of pistols possessed by the andartes—of the OSS agent, an historian by profession, who gathered information there.32 The tragedy of the Jews in Greece is compounded by the fact that it went unreported by Greek informers, unnoticed by Allied agents, and therefore unrecorded by Allied intelligence. Had there been a modicum of communication from the highest levels, already aware of the existence of the Final Solution in the summer of 1942, to their commanders in the field, then one tiny Jewish community in Greece could have been saved with an absolute minimum of effort. This community was the only one in occupied Europe to have been liberated by the ­A llies for a short time. Shortly after the Italian capitulation, and before the Germans could replace them with their own occupation troops, the British mounted an invasion of several of the Dodecanese islands. Their planning, hampered by the U.S. strategy to concentrate all efforts and resources on liberating the Italian peninsula, was insufficient to invade Rhodes, which had the largest Jewish community of the islands. Instead SBS forces and various Allied troops, including Palestinian Jews, were landed on Kos and Leros, which they held for several weeks in late September 1943. Thousands of Dodecanese Greeks took the opportunity to flee with returning SBS ships to Cyprus and Palestine. Alas, no one of those

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involved—including the Jewish Agency in Jerusalem and the Palestinian troops—thought to warn the small Jewish community of Kos to escape. Their fate was deportation to Auschwitz along with the Rhodes community in July 1944. A handful of males later passed through Mauthausen, where they were liberated in spring 1945. Athens, however, was a completely different story. Here the various resistance groups were nearly totally successful in their efforts to protect and rescue Jews. Not only were the Greeks involved but also Axis allies, several embassies, and the Haganah in these various rescue ­operations. The most important aspect of the success of the Resistance in the Italian zone, which comprised the bulk of mainland Greece, was the animosity of the Italians for the Germans, which limited the latter’s actions, and the laxity of the Italian occupation. Not that the Italians were incapable of savage reprisals against the Greeks; the list of Italian war crimes is not a short one. However, a comparison of the Italian occupation to that of the Germans shows that the Greeks in general, and the Jews in particular, fared much better under the Italians than under the more brutal and efficient Germans. The Jews were able to function openly and carry on a somewhat normal life in which they suffered from the same deprivations as the Christian Greeks. On the other hand, their small numbers (maximum eight to ten thousand during the occupation period), their urban, mercantile and educational skills, as well as connections with the Greek leadership allowed some of them access to sources of protection and support. All three prime ministers of the occupation period attempted, albeit ineffectually, to intercede with the Germans to stop the persecution and the deportation of the Jews of Salonika. The head of the Greek Orthodox Church, Archbishop Damaskinos, also interceded with the occupation authorities and in the end issued a circular to his flock to extend a protecting hand to the Jews.33 His text was from Paul: “There is neither Jew nor Greek in Christ!” He also authorized issuance of false baptismal certificates to Jews,34 and his orphanages took in a considerable number of Jewish children with no recorded attempt to convert them. His clergy throughout Greece responded favorably to the Jews, including many for whom the traditional church polemic against Jews had reduced them to a demonic level.35 Monasteries and convents also



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took in Jews, as they did Greeks and British on the run, and provided them temporary shelter. Only a few ultraconservative bishops bought the German propaganda line that the war was the fault of Jews and Communists, who were accused of being, to all intents and purposes, the same people.36 Athens Police Chief Evert and his colleagues in many Greek cities (for example, Larissa) made available numerous false identity papers so that Jews could pass as Greek Christians during the period of the German occupation. The Minister of Public Security, Konstantine Maniadakis, continued his support of the Athenian Jews so long as they did not engage in activities detrimental to his job of protecting the internal security of Greek society.37 Individual Greek Christians of all political persuasions took in Jews, occasionally whole families. A rightist upper-class woman hid “­Matthaios C.” along with a leftist Greek, with the explanation that solidarity against the enemy was more important than politics. The two men passed the months playing backgammon, and Matthaios later wrote an introduction to the game.38 During the fateful roundup of Passover 1944, a number of Greeks saved their Jewish neighbors, or if they were arrested took their children into their homes. In one case, a mother hid her baby in a dresser drawer and as she was led away asked her neighbor to save it. The mother survived Auschwitz to relate the story herself, her baby now a year older in her arms. Perhaps the oddest rescue is attributed to a member of the Security Battalion orchestra. When he saw a Jewish friend of his trapped in one of the frequent German razzias (roundups), he grabbed his arm and pulled him into the band, where he survived until liberation.39 The penalty for Greek Christians assisting Jews was execution, but then the Germans freely executed Greeks for any number of reasons. Aside from the hospitality and humanity of the Greeks, there was the element of resistance to the hated occupier that encouraged them to save Jews. One of the major dangers to both Jews and their Christian protectors was the threat of denunciation from Greek informers and from Jewish collaborators, who came to Athens where only their special skills could root out the refugees in hiding. Pepo and Ino Recanati and others were later tried for war crimes and sentenced accordingly (see Chapter 10).

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EAM, with the special assistance of those Jews in the Resistance movement, facilitated the task of finding safe houses for the Jews. Occasionally this was done by force, but on the average there were enough “Red” districts, as the Germans called them, to hide the few thousand Jews who remained in the city. More important was the rescue movement established by ELAS and the Haganah in which Greeks smuggled Jews by truck to Euboea and from there by caique to Çesme in Turkey (see Chapter 10).40 Most of these Jews were Salonikan refugees who held foreign passports. The system called for the wealthy to pay the expenses for the poor who reached the isolated harbors. The old pirate families of Attica were instrumental in supplying or leading the caravans. Some went even further: the Caratzes family hosted several Austrian refugees in their home, business partners of theirs who had escaped to Greece. The latter initiated a quite successful business among Austrian occupation officers with whom they had gone to school. For safety’s sake (it was embarrassing to have the enemy doing business with guest Jews under your roof) the Jews were invited to leave.41 Not all followed this escape route under the auspices of EAM/ELAS. Those who attempted to escape on their own paid a heavy price. Some were denounced; others were duped. Hayyim Alvo left Salonika shortly before Passover 1943 and went by train to Athens (disguised as a brakeman), where he hid for three months with an air force officer. He and a number of air force officers and recruits contributed toward the purchase of a caique. The captain took the money but never appeared. The group eventually escaped on a caique, possibly supplied by the British.42 Occasionally such efforts resulted in disaster, as when a caique full of young Jews sank in the Aegean.43

Jews and the Resistance The full Jewish role in the Greek Resistance will remain a mystery. Most Jews hid their identity under an alias. Hence their contribution was as Greeks, and so their participation is subsumed within the official documents of the Resistance and the memoirs of its participants. Joseph Matsas, a veteran of the mountains, devoted his postwar scholarship to



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chronicling a roll call of Jewish fighters in the Resistance.44 Though his research is mainly unpublished, he presented some of it in a lecture after Greece began to pardon ELAS andartes. He estimated some 650 Jewish fighters (out of a total of some 30,000); this figure must be considered as the minimum, however; there were other Greek Jews whom he did not identify and foreign Jews as well, from Austria, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, the Soviet Union, even Poland, and Palestine, the latter including some Salonikans from the BEF. Hence I would estimate a figure closer to 1,000 Jews, that is, a little over 3 percent, which was significantly higher than the percentage of Jews in the general population.45 On the other hand, some twelve thousand Jews (estimated by the Greek Jewish leadership) were called up for service in the Greek army during the war. As Michael Matsas, Joseph’s cousin and author of a history of Greek Jews during the war, has argued, had they known of their fate there would have been a much larger number of Jewish fighters.46 But the Jewish role in the Resistance cannot be restricted only to those who fought. Many served in logistics, as recruiters, and as interpreters; several of the latter are listed on Christopher Woodhouse’s pay roster.47 Others contributed technical skills, such as Josif Kohen in Crete, who operated as a printer for a few weeks.48 Jews in Athens were in close contact with Greek politicians during the occupation and interacted with their professional colleagues (many with EAM). Jews escaped to fight in Greek units with the British in North Africa. The Jewish Agency for Palestine contributed money and supplies (including badly needed boots) to ELAS and participated in the escape route from Euboea to Çesme. Most of the thousands of Jews in the mountains had secondary and occasionally university-level education. They assisted, in various ways, in the development of the revolutionary society that ELAS promoted to modernize the hitherto ignored mountain Greek communities. From the thousands of females who fled to the mountains, many served as nurses and trained local girls to be nurses’ aides; some of these women achieved a legendary reputation.49 As their stories are collected and categorized, a broader and deeper picture of the Jewish role in various ­facets of the Resistance during World War II will continue to emerge. The fate and postwar experiences of many of these individuals are treated in Chapter 10.

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The Cities The anomalous situation of a German army headquarters stationed in a city with more than fifty thousand Jews did not go unnoticed by Hitler. First he authorized Himmler in October (actually November) 1941 to remove the Jews of Salonika; later he sent orders at the end of October 1942 forbidding any fraternization with the Jews.50 The second was less successful than the first. German and Austrian officers continued to be billeted in Jewish apartments and, finding some common language with the owner, dropped all sorts of information that was gathered and forwarded to the Allies.51 Thousands of Jews in Salonika in various professions interacted individually with Greek military men and others to pass on whatever they heard. For the first two years of the occupation, those who could escape brought full descriptions of the declining economic conditions in occupied Greece to debriefing agencies in Istanbul and Cairo. Précis of these reports are contained in the consular reports of Burton Berry (the Istanbul consulate) in the War Refugee Board files of the Roosevelt Library in Hyde Park; Ambassador Lincoln MacVeagh’s reports to President Roosevelt are also in the Roosevelt Library and in the U.S. National Archives in Washington, and in various archives in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv as well as at other depositories. These reports give a detailed summary of the economy in Greece, the political situation, those who helped Jews, the names of traitors, and military assessments insofar as they were surmised by the refugees. The data, whether used or not at the time, is extremely useful in reconstructing the general (and the Jewish) situation during the occupation. The wartime careers of Jews in the urban resistance help us understand the range of activities in which Jews participated. Children as well as adults resisted the occupiers. The former would paint slogans on the walls in Athens, as did Sam Nahmias and his Greek friend. They soon learned that such actions got people shot.52 Alhi Refael of Athens, on the other hand, was recruited by EPON representatives at age fourteen along with his friends to paint such slogans as “Death to the Conqueror.”53 Older youths actively engaged in sabotage, as recounted by Isaac (Zak) Kostis, who participated in a small group that dyna-



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mited ships in Piraeus harbor; he was decorated after the war for his exploits.54 Three individuals illustrate how more seasoned urban Jews functioned within the Resistance: Barukh Shibi and Sam Modiano were newspapermen from Salonika who spent the war years in Athens. Asher Moissis was the last elected president of the Jewish community of Salonika. Removed from office by Metaxas in 1936, he left for Athens in 1941 where he reestablished his legal practice and served as the community lawyer; he remained an active Zionist throughout his career.55 Shibi accompanied the retreating British south, aware that he was on the Gestapo’s wanted list, and reached Crete along with Greek Parliamentary Deputies Mentesch Bessantchi56 and Jacques Ventura (both of whom were later captured).57 Unable to continue to Egypt, Shibi returned to Athens and began working with EAM, soon joining the leadership for Sector 3A.58 Among his activities, he succeeded in having prominent Greeks stop publication of an anti-Semitic economic weekly. He also helped preserve the works of Professors Zakythinos and Keramopoulos to be used in postwar refutations of Bulgarian claims to Macedonia and Thrace.59 Shibi reported to a semi-underground committee on pro-German activities among Greek intellectuals. His EAM unit (consisting of Jews and Greeks) printed an underground newspaper and pamphlets. Some of these were geared specifically to the Jewish problem in Salonika; they also issued printed warnings to the Athenian Jews not to report to the German-controlled synagogue in Athens.60 Shibi also admits to his role in the abduction/escape of Rabbi Barzilai from Athens (more on this later). Modiano, who held Italian citizenship, was active in occupied Salon­ika, working within the Italian consulate, with some independent Greek organizations consisting of army officers, and with a special unit of MO5.61 The latter, according to Modiano, parachuted a South African named George Bauer (a personal friend of Field Marshal Ian Smuts) to organize Greek resistance in Macedonia. Modiano’s cousin by marriage, the latter a full colonel in the Greek army, sent Bauer to Modiano, who in turn passed him on to Fidel Kondopolis, who was married to one of Modiano’s nieces; the colonel was running an organization for a former air minister of the Greek government to rescue remnants of the BEF stranded in Greece.62 Through his son in

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the Jewish police unit organized by the Jewish collaborator Hasson, ­Modiano was also able to get some food to his friend Ventura, under arrest in the Baron Hirsch ghetto, on the night before he was deported in 1943 to Auschwitz.63 Modiano emphasizes that he did not belong to any specific organization but rather acted independently through an extensive network of friends, colleagues, and relatives. In other words, his initiative allowed him to be a liaison between organizations and yet remain autonomous to pursue his own goals. In his capacity as journalist and publisher, Modiano was an important figure in interwar Greek politics, especially in Salonika, as a “personal friend” to Venizelos and as a liaison with Jewish business leaders. The Italian authorities certified Modiano as an Italian military officer, identifying him as head of the consulate’s department for the Jews of Italian origin.64 There he claims to have established a bureau that prepared false papers for 350 Jewish families whom he got on the last Italian military train that left Salonika. Modiano proudly recalled that the train was supplied personally by Mussolini, whom he knew from the latter’s days as a journalist. After the Germans left Athens, the British certified him as a war correspondent with the rank of brevet captain in the British army, which allowed him to help organize the Haganah mission (see Chapter 10).65 Asher Moissis, now relocated in Athens, worked as a lawyer for the Jewish community. He maintained contact with his personal friend and sometime partner Yomtov Yacoel, who was the lawyer for the Jewish community of Salonika. When Yacoel fled to Athens in March 1943, Moissis encouraged him to prepare a report on the occupation and deportation of the Jews. Yacoel was arrested literally in midsentence and deported to Auschwitz. Moissis later published this historically invaluable report and authenticated the testimony as evidence in the Eichmann trial.66 As a successful lawyer, Moissis had many contacts among Greek politicians and intellectuals. His memoir (discussed later) illustrates how the Jews of Athens orchestrated the support of the Greek government, church, professional organizations, and university during the occupation to protest deportation of the Salonika Jews. Indeed, notwithstanding the desire of many Athenian Greeks to assist their fellow Greeks, it appears that Jewish initiative was necessary to



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stimulate their potential allies in the effort to save Jews. The general literature from the war does not emphasize this point. Jews with access to Christian leaders approached them to make public statements in behalf of the Jews. The statements of General Tsolakoglou,67 Professor Logothetopoulos, and Ioannis Rallis, when each served in turn as puppet leader of occupied Greece, reflect the Jewish perception of the situation, which they delivered as politicians. Asher Moissis’s postwar report is worth quoting here68: On March 13, 1943, Visliceny [sic] and Brunner called Coretz and told him that two days later the dispatch of Jews would be transported to Baron Hirsch, . . . Lawyer Yomtov Jacquel [i.e., Yacoel] lawyer of the Jewish community telephoned me to Athens, notified me as to what was happening for the first deportation of the Baron Hirsch. What steps did we take? We went to Archbishop Damaskinos—Damaskinos was in bed, but he saw me and said he would talk to Altenburg in Athens (Altenburg was the Nazi Commissioner of Greece). Altenburg told him that he could do nothing because the order came from Berlin. The prime minister then was Logothetopoulos who was a Germanophile (now in prison). All the leaders of the political parties wrote a petition to Logothetopoulos asking him to intervene and to ask of the Germans not to persecute the Jews because Jews were Greek citizens and in Greece there was no discrimination between Jews and Greeks. Logothetopoulos went to Altenburg and he told him what he had told Damaskinos. He made a note of protestation to Altenburg which Alten­burg said he would send to Berlin. On the fifteenth or sixteenth of March, Asher Moissis went to Logothetopoulos together with Rabbi Barzilai and Albert Amarillio and we took with us ­Tsaldaris69 who was my friend, as well as the friend of Logothetopoulos. I spoke very forcefully to Logothetopoulos and he said, “What can I do, I am very upset about it.”70 Then I told him, “If it is for the Jews to die, because they are going to their death, then they have the right to ask of the Greek government to die inside Greece, and not to go out of Greece to unknown places.” I yelled so loud that all the other personel [sic] gathered around so that Logothetopoulos fell into his chair.71 The result of that was for me to write a note of protestation. The dispatching of the Jews had begun. I saw Logothetopoulos, and Tsaldaris was with me, twice again.72 Tsaldaris helped us very much. Then

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we decided to ask Logothetopoulos to resign with the whole government. 32 other organizations, professional, labor and scientific academy asked for his resignation, headed by Damaskinos and the church. Through ­Tsaldaris, Logothetopoulos sent me that he would like to resign, but the Jewish problem was the “weak point of Hitler” and he didn’t want to leave the impression with the Germans that he was resigning because of the Jews. After fifteen days, the Germans put Logothetopoulos out of office and they appointed Rallis, prime minister. As soon as Rallis took the oath of office, after great pressure on our parts and on the part of the political leaders, especially on the part of Kavandaris,73 leader of the Liberal Progressive Party, who went to Salonika to take up the matter of the Jewish persecution. But he could do nothing. The Nazis would not listen to him. He remained there only one night. The Nazis would not listen to him.

Moissis’s report sheds new and interesting light on the end of the Logothetopoulos government.74 Archbishop Damaskinos was also approached by Jews and these leaders to make a statement.75 In February 1943, Rabbi Koretz and several Jewish lawyers independently approached the archbishop of Macedonia, Metropolitan Gennadios, to intervene with the Germans. On the eve of Rallis’s flying visit to Salonika, Koretz prevailed on ­Gennadios to arrange a meeting with the prime minister and later saw Rallis in a tear-filled interview that so angered the Nazis they arrested him and interned him and his family in Baron Hirsch.76 Such meetings and public statements had no effect on the Germans. What is important is that they were heard ultimately by the Greek people and hence contributed to the assistance given to Jews in hiding or in the mountains. The statements were as effective in retrospect, if not more so from the archbishop to his clergy, as the statements broadcast over the BBC to occupied Greece.77 The influx of Jewish refugees from the Bulgarian and German zones brought new wealth and influence to the Athens community. Various sources suggest that as many as five thousand Jews found their way to the capital, among them the wealthy of Salonika; it was to them that Yomtov Yacoel turned for money to ransom the Jews in forced labor. Other Jews of means escaped to Cairo. Ambassador MacVeagh’s reports to President Roosevelt in 1943 and 1944 summarize the Greek



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situation through translations of the talks given by these refugees to Jews and Greeks in Cairo. These reports illuminate the attitudes of the Italian authorities and the Greek police in Athens vis-à-vis attacks on Jews by pro-German groups and the Gestapo. Even so, most of the pro-German groups, including ESPO, EEE, and other Fascist/Nazi gangs, continued to bribe and extort money from Jewish businessmen. In December 1942, ESPO agents sacked the Jewish community offices in Athens and destroyed or carried off its records. The community council disbanded, and an unofficial committee was formed to watch over community concerns. Shortly thereafter the Resistance bombed ESPO headquarters. When a number of Jewish leaders were imprisoned, the Italian authorities were contacted, and they were subsequently released. The loss of the community rosters was to benefit the Athenian Jews during September 1943 when the Gestapo demanded them from Rabbi Barzilai. Shortly after the Germans took control in September 1943, Higher SS and Police Leader (HSSPF) Gen. Jürgen Stroop, who had presided over the destruction of the Warsaw Ghetto the previous spring, was assigned to Athens to facilitate deportation of the Athenian Jews; he was accompanied by Walter Blume, the new commander of the SiPo/SD. Rabbi Barzilai was summoned to Gestapo headquarters and ordered to hand over the community registers. In his postwar account, Barzilai states that he argued ESPO had destroyed them the previous year.78 He also notes that he heard the Gestapo discussing the deportations, a discussion he understood through the little German he had learned as a student in Jerusalem. When he was released with the order to produce new lists, he went home and passed the message that Jews should flee to the mountains (“The old man is sick and needs to go the mountains to recuperate”). Over the weekend of September 23, 1943, he escaped with the aid of Archbishop Damaskinos. The rabbi’s story has entered into Jewish historiography as a counterpoint to the failure of Rabbi Koretz to do something similar in Salonika.79 Shibi, however, claims that he organized the kidnapping of the rabbi with some colleagues from EAM. He informed Joseph Nehama, a member of the community council who agreed to the project, and he also sought permission from the central committee of EAM. Shibi and

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the Athenian journalist Kostas Vidalis worked out the details. Then Shibi contacted Professor Nikolaos Louvaris, the minister for religious affairs, to intervene with Archbishop Damaskinos, who immediately offered his hospitality to the rabbi. Accordingly, Ilias Kefalides and Salomon Sasson were designated to hide him in the Dexameni Quarter of Athens whence, disguised as a Greek merchant, the rabbi and his family were escorted out of the city and met Kapetan Makkabaios, who brought them to the headquarters of Lt. Demitrios Demitriou (“Nikephoros”). Modiano adds further details on the rabbi’s escape. His friend Paul Noah80 informed him that the “Rosenberg Kommando” had come from Salonika and was after Rabbi Barzilai. Modiano went to EAM, which contacted Vidalis, editor of the communist Eleftheri Ellada and an executive member of the Communist Party.81 Vidalis then went to Shibi and made final arrangements. Two armed men, one a Jew, went to the rabbi’s house and told him to prepare to leave82; he was then driven out of the city, apparently in the archbishop’s car, and transferred to a truck (EAM used postal trucks as a cover), which brought him to the hills. The final stage to safety was made on a donkey. Eventually Rabbi Barzilai was brought to the BLO Chris Woodhouse. His statements on behalf of EAM/ELAS were widely reported and, it seems, the OSS investigated whether the rabbi was indeed a Communist.83 It emerges from a conflation of these separate stories that (1) the ­Gestapo wanted Barzilai to cooperate, (2) the Jews in the Resistance did not want to give him the opportunity, (3) Jews worked with EAM leaders and government officials to secure his escape, and (4) Jews were privy to considerable secret information through their contacts, which they were able to exploit with a little initiative. The reaction is more important than the details, however. The disappearance of the rabbi shocked the community into awareness of their danger such that they took heed of Resistance warnings to stay away from the synagogue. Many Jews followed the rabbi’s example and, with the assistance of EAM, went into hiding or to the mountains. The plan of the Salonika resistance men was successful in avoiding the possibility of a repeated failure of nerve coupled with naïveté that had contributed to destruction of their beloved community.



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“Sta Vouna” “To the mountains” has been the traditional Greek response to lowland oppression, whether by urban Greek governments or by conquerors. Other than occasional punitive or tax-collecting raids by occupying authorities, the mountains, which could not be controlled indefinitely, generally remained free. The Italians and the Germans learned this punishing lesson in Greece from 1941 to 1944. Leon Uris romanticized his uncle’s (Aron Yerushalmi) wartime experience in his novel The Angry Hills. The hills, though, were not angry. Rather they were poor and neglected, then they were poor and filled with internecine fighting, then they were poor and subject to German “cleansing raids” against andartes, and then they were poor and began to organize. For maybe a year, the villages experienced collectivization enforced by ELAS or introduced by Jewish agronomy students, learned popular democracy through the ELAS People’s Courts and its rough justice, and received education and medical treatment from the many educated refugees in the mountains. Once the Germans left, the mountains were still poor, and they were to become poorer yet and even unhappier during the subsequent civil war in Greece. World War II was the watershed of modernity for the mountains of Greece; today they are somewhat less poor thanks to the Common Market and less populous owing to the siren call of the city. Escaped POWs fled to the freedom of the mountains, where demoralized soldiers had already reverted to the tradition of the klephtes (literally “robbers”) who were the folk heroes of Greeks under Ottoman occupation. The renascent klephtes, some outright bandits indeed, were eventually controlled by ELAS once it organized authority in the mountains. ELAS went even further and absorbed or dissolved all independent bands or rivals organized by the British (for instance, by Col. Eddy [Myers] and other BLOs) except for EDES, which was restricted to western Greece. The Jewish military story in the mountains was primarily in northern and central Greece, the area controlled by ELAS: the Pindus range, the regions of Mounts Olympus and Pelio, Grevena, Paiko, and the Naoussa/Edessa region.84 Resistance in Greece continued in the wake of the surrender of the

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Greek forces in 1941, first in the north in April, then in the south in May, and finally in Crete in June. Many demobilized soldiers continued the fight in preference to a long, hungry, and barefoot walk for five hundred to a thousand kilometers to the uncertain future of their occupied homes. The Axis released Greek POWs in the wake of Hitler’s May 4 speech praising their valor. Elias Nissim from Salonika, one of the defenders of the Rupel Fort in Thrace, remained in the mountains. He died in the Pentalofos hospital of wounds incurred in the fighting around Grevena in 1944.85 Jews supplied valuable middle-level services in the andartiko. We find them scattered throughout the mountains, despite their small numbers, among the various resistance movements: EKKA, EDES, but primarily ELAS, which dominated most of “Free Greece.” Some 650 are named, but estimates ranging from 1,000 to 2,000 are not necessarily exaggerated; some 8,000 Jews reportedly survived in the mountains. Elsewhere we have discussed various individuals within the context of the Occupation. Here we categorize the participants according to their varied functions. Napoleon reminded us that an army marches on its stomach. Hence supply is perhaps the most important facet of the military; without food and weapons there can be no active resistance. Hence ETA (Epimelita tou Andarti) was a central organization in the mountains that attracted a number of Jews, among them Moissis Sakis, who supplied ELAS regiment 54 in Thessaly; Lazarus Azaria, who was chief of ETA in Thessaly; Max Varon on Mount Olympus, where he headed an agricultural collective for fifty-two villages; and on a local level Leon Matsas in ­Psilovrahos and later in Agrinion. On the unit level, there were specialists in the dangerous task of acquisition of supplies, some drawn from fighters and others with linguistic and organizational skills. Among the former were David Broudo and Albert Preznalis, while the latter included Albert Yahbes on Mount Olympus and Yaakov Arar (Harari) in Macedonia.86 A number of Jews became kapetans and kapetanissas, that is, leaders of units in the resistance and not part of the regular army structure that was established for ELAS. Kapetan Kitsos was born Yitzhak Moshe in the Baron Hirsch Quarter in Salonika. He became an activist during



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the 1936 tobacco strike that led to the Metaxas coup.87 He was drafted in March 1940 and fought in Albania, where he learned of the surrender of the Greek army when a German armored car reached the front lines and he had to translate the terms to his commander. Returning to Salonika and joining ELAS, he was able to help his fellow Jews by organizing food and occasionally taking revenge against collaborators. His last act before going to the mountains near Naoussa, where he had served for a while in the army, was to help kill one of the SS sadists in the ghetto. At first, he recalls, there were only some ten to twelve men in his band; by summer the number had increased to about two hundred.88 They survived the winter by stealing food from the fields, but in the spring they were already raiding German silos for distribution to the farmers. He remained in that general area and actively led his men against the Germans and collaborators until November 1944. His commander, Papaflessas, praised him for fulfilling all his missions successfully, while his men answered his query why they hastened to volunteer with him: “Because we know you will bring us back alive.” Kapetanissa Sarika was born Sarah Yehoshua in Chalkis, the capital of Euboea. A precocious and intelligent child who forced her mother to send her to school, she volunteered for a nursing course at the beginning of the Italian invasion when she was just fourteen. Her uncle, Col. Mordecai Frizis, was killed repelling that attack. After the Germans replaced the Italians, she forced her mother to escape to the mountains, where she became a teacher. When her cousin was mistaken for her and brutally murdered, she joined the Resistance and demanded her own squad of teenage girls; she recruited them from the villages and trained them in diversionary tactics for the main body of fighters. She was seventeen in 1944 when she told an American Greek reporter: “This is my country. I was born and raised here. The Greeks are my people, their fight is my fight. This is where I belong.”89 As noted above, a large number of fighters were drawn from the Jews who escaped to the mountains. A partial roll call is in my book Jewish Resistance in Wartime Greece. More can be added as memories unlock.90 Joseph Matsas, a student at the Aristotle University with a predilection for poetry and literature, was among a group of more than one hundred young Salonika Jews recruited by Markos Vafiades. Later a

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number returned to accompany their parents into exile. Matsas, a combat veteran of the Albanian campaign, was assigned to a group of forty fighters, ten of whom were Jews. He also helped organize the resistance theater in the mountains and wrote didactic plays. More than a few Jewish officers commanded smaller ELAS units. Many Jewish doctors and nurses who had served with the Greek army and Red Cross escaped to the mountains. There they delivered the first professional health care to the villagers and staffed resistance hospitals. The nurses in particular trained the local girls to be nurses’ aides. Some of them were honored after the war, notably Dora Bourla and Fanny Florentin. Robert Mitrani, a medical student and son of a well-known physician who died in Auschwitz, organized a medical corps for his unit and also fought. Adopting the nom de guerre Hippocrates, he served in Regiment 13, Company 36 along with fifty Jews from Salonika and Athens and died on January 5, 1944, during a firefight near Agia Triada, Kaloskofies, in which, though wounded several times, he tried to save his commander Kalias.91 Among the experienced doctors was Errikos Levy of Ioannina, who was a career officer in the Greek army and later supplied Zervas with valuable information before he was captured. Deported to Auschwitz along with the Ioannina community, he survived the war and was honored for his work among the camp slaves. Relations and sympathy between the KKE and the Jewish working and student class, forged during the early interwar years, continued throughout the occupation period. Apparently only a few Jews in the prewar period were committed Communists; the figures for those imprisoned before and after the war were minimal. Many more were Socialists, especially among the young students whose schooling was interrupted by the war; these youths accepted the broader program of EAM for reform of Greek society. But the majority of Jews in the mountains were apolitical; they came out of desperation, as an escape from persecution and deportation and constituted an overwhelming plurality, both in the Resistance and among those in hiding. These Jews served in lower-level officer and noncommissioned ranks of ELAS, whose upper ranks were drawn by General Sarafis from Venizelist officers retired by the Metaxas regime. Their education and linguistic



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skills, as well as their organizing ability, allowed Jews to complement the infrastructure of the Resistance army of ELAS, similar to their roles in the Greek regiments and support services during the Albanian campaign. Jewish participation in the Resistance emerged in five stages: (1) those who continued to fight in the mountains in the late spring and summer of 1941 and whose numbers are unknown; (2) those who escaped forced labor from the end of summer 1942 and were absorbed into various bands; (3) those recruited or aided by EAM in the spring of 1943, primarily in Salonika but also elsewhere in Greece, such as Volos; (4) those who escaped Athens in the fall of 1943; and (5) those who left the former Italian zone in the spring of 1944 during the deportations. The growing presence of Jews in the mountains followed the pattern of persecution by the Nazis; the largest reservoir of Jews, however, to draw from was Salonika. The third stage involved Salonika, the demographic center of Greek Jewry. The question to be answered is why more Jews did not escape to the mountains. Most postwar memoirs recall the solidarity of Jewish families and the unwillingness of young Jews to abandon their parents, who, they thought, were going to a new and strange home in the Kingdom of Krakovia. Numerous memoirs illustrate, moreover, how difficult it was for city boys and girls to adjust to rough life in the mountains, especially after the weakening famines of the previous winters. Also, it must be remembered that the resistance in Macedonia did not organize until summer 1943. Daisy Carasso, for example, acted as liaison with her brother, who was hiding with Christian friends, and other young men.92 She recalls being sent away by the family matriarchs when she tried to organize their escape to the mountains.93 Later a Jew who was friendly with a black marketeer from a village near Kilkis arranged for her to leave for the mountains with her mother and her young sister. Following a series of adventures, including passing off her mother as a long-term resident of France to account for her peculiar Greek accent, she joined EPON, where she prepared food and clothes and assisted the families of andartes left in the twenty-two villages surrounding Serres and Nigrita. She also helped recruit young men, did guard duty, carried ammunition, and distributed leaflets and propaganda in Nigrita.94

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Abraham Arditi’s memoir summarizes the problems and illustrates the special role of Jews (though never acknowledged qua Jews) in the mountains. ELAS and EKKA (“monarchists,” as the latter were perceived) sent their agents to recruit the masses of the Jewish quarters. Arditi and his friend Abraham Sciaki finally decided to join. Arditi and two others went to the end of the tramway and met fourteen other Jews and the andarte guide who directed them to an EKKA officer. They boarded a train filled with Italian soldiers and, after a few stops, were met by Greek contacts. Many of the Jews, exhausted from the preceding six months’ malnutrition, returned to Salonika; only four remained. They were hidden and fed in the villages for several weeks and later, as andartes, in the underpopulated monasteries. When the andartes arrived, Arditi was chosen to be the leader’s secretary based on his fluency in Greek(!); one of his responsibilities was to tutor the leader’s two children. His Jewish ethnicity was apparently not a problem; villagers “used to invite me to all the village parties and even the priest would debate with me for long hours about religion.” During an ELAS attack on his band he refused to fight fellow Greeks and was captured along with a doctor from Cairo; they were taken to the mountains above ­Vermion, “where there were many partisans both Christians and Jews.” Advised by a Jewish andarte to tell the truth during his interrogation, he was given a typewriter and told to translate French and Italian documents into Greek. Soon he received officer rank and produced, as part of his duties, a newspaper in Greek for ELAS Regiment 50.95 When news reached him of the deportations from Salonika, he requested permission to return home, where a Greek Christian friend warned him of the situation. He added that the young Jewish men had sworn not to abandon their families, and they considered anyone who fled to the mountains to be a traitor (see Chapter 10). Finally, his friend admitted that his family had already been deported, whereupon he returned to his unit.96 As noted, resistance in the mountains was not organized until summer 1943, coincidental with the final deportations of the Salonika Jews. Consequently most of the recorded stories of Jews who survived the period cover the last year and a half of the German occupation. Albert Preznalis fled to Salonika after the Bulgarian occupation of Serres in



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1941 and returned home once the Germans began their deportations. A Greek Christian friend directed him to a group of andartes active near the villages of Sevastia and Sohos; later he fought against Germans, Bulgarians, and collaborationist Greeks. Among his responsibilities was acquisition of supplies, a dangerous and skilled task performed by a number of Jewish andartes. Preznalis met a number of Greek Jews in his band, one of whom was a Polish Jew named Jan (Jacob) Fuerst, who participated in several battles against the German 999 units,97 whom he encouraged to desert to the Greeks. Some of the latter indeed joined the andartes, but only on condition they would fight against SS units.98 During 1943 and 1944 the mission of ELAS units was secretly twofold: to unify the mountains under ELAS control and to assist British plans to use Greece as a feint for Allied operations in Italy. Postwar apologies and polemics of both sides obfuscate the situation, especially for the mass of andartes and their supporters. It is true that ELAS was used to further the social and political revolution envisaged by EAM, which, the British claimed, the Greek Communist Party (KKE) controlled. Britain, on the other hand, through its BLOs and their control of weapons and gold (as Hammond constantly emphasizes in his memoirs), pressed ELAS to accelerate harassment of the Germans and interruption of communications and transport, but only in concert with Cairo directives.99 The local Greek scene was subject to forces far beyond the borders of Greece. Britain was committed to restoring the king to a Greece liberated by her troops. Churchill, for his part, was fascinated with the Balkan option, which he hoped would redeem the failed Gallipoli campaign of World War I.100 The Greeks, of course, were willing to die, or let noncombatant Greeks die, in order to redeem the honor of Greece sullied by the occupation of Italians, Germans, and Bulgarians.101 The attitude in the mountains was simpler. Several andartes whom I interviewed, one a Greek Jewess and another a Greek Jew, independently stated that war is war and civilians unfortunately suffer the consequences. As an occupied country whose successive governments served at Hitler’s pleasure, the official Greek position was to control or kill the Communists. The United States, on the other hand, saw the path to the end of the war via Italy and not Greece.102

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Contrary to these wider ramifications, the collective memory of the Jews in the Resistance varies in different regions of Greece depending upon their role in the war and their relations with the central and local governments. Many of the stories of heroism among Greek Jewry resonate with the Greek discourse of “freedom or death,” and many Jews did die in the mountains (and in the cities) during 1943 and 1944 to earn their right to Greek citizenship. Unfortunately, the postwar governments of Greece chose to persecute those who were in the mountains, and the Jews among them suffered accordingly (see Chapter 10); this accounts somewhat for the Jewish, if not public, reticence to pursue the subject. Once ELAS was organized as a regular army under General Sarafis, the memoirs of Jewish andartes can occasionally be categorized according to units and areas, and the missions they were involved in can be chronicled. Most of the survivors, whose memoirs were collected by Yad Vashem after their emigration to Israel or by Michael Matsas in his Illusion of Safety, were active in Boeotia (many from Athens), Thessaly (many from Volos, Larissa, and Trikala), and Macedonia (many from Salonika). These andartes participated in the British operation called “Animals,” which was promoted to fool Hitler into thinking that the proposed invasion of Sicily was actually aimed at an invasion of Greece, and later “Noah’s Ark,” aimed at harassing the German retreat. The plethora of German documents that record their punishing response to andarte attacks is one indication of the failure of that brutal policy.103 Attacks continued, and “Animals,” which kept some 300,000 troops in Greece, fooled the Germans. The 999 battalions, the SS brigades, and various ethnic units organized from the Reich empire responded like automatons to guerrilla attacks. The principle was to exact vengeance according to Wehrmacht orders (fifty hostages shot for each German killed and ten for each wounded). The trains that were derailed and the officers (including generals) killed or wounded during the process of German evacuation only aroused the Furor Teutonicus. Nearby villages were identified and destroyed in punishing reprisals; women and aged men and children were butchered or burned in sealed churches. Lt. Kurt Waldheim, in his capacity as Ic Intelligence, identified such villages for retaliation; his postwar apologia tendentiously asserted that he



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was only doing his duty. By war’s end, thousands of houses throughout Greece were recorded as destroyed and nearly half a million Greeks were listed as wartime victims.104 It was a brutal and ugly war in Greece. Modern Greece tends to define its reality in terms of wartime heroism, and so POWs and civilian losses do not have prominent notice in the Greek historiography of the war. Rather it is the heroism of Greece and its resistance that is emphasized and lauded. Hence it is not out of place to record the valor of Greek Jews in the Resistance, which the state has acknowledged in various forums. Marko Carasso, brother of Daisy and son of Alberto, was helped to escape from a Salonika prison in spring 1943 to become an andarte. Cited for his bravery in the battle of Regiment 16 against the komitatzes105 near Kastoria, he was chosen for the Reserve Officers Training School established on September 1, 1943, at ELAS general headquarters.106 He fought aggressively to avenge his father and was killed during an attack on a train at Muharrem Hani in July 1944.107 Lt. Samuel Eskenazi from Larissa, a decorated veteran of the Albanian war, commanded a company in Regiment 54. He was killed at Kalas Straits.108 Lt. Yohannas Hadjis of Arta (nom de guerre Skoufas) already had the rank of second lieutenant from his Albanian experience. As a first lieutenant, he was killed during an attack on German units at Amphissa.109 The Bourlas are one of several entire families that fought in the resistance. Toward the end of May 1943, Moshe Bourla’s friend who was a policeman sent him to the mountains. The same friend rescued the family when he learned of the imminent deportation of the neighborhood near the Great Synagogue (one of the last left in the center of the city). He hurried to mark the Bourla family home so that the Germans and the Greek police would pass it by. On the following day he smuggled the family out of the city in a furniture truck. Moshe’s two sisters, Yolanda and Dora, the latter earning the nom de guerre Tarzan for her exploits, and his father, Leon, were soon fighting in Vermion. A family in Naoussa hid his mother, Esther. His younger brother Solomon was killed in September 1944 in a firefight near Veroia after killing several Germans. Moshe fought through the end of the war. His subsequent vicissitudes belong to the persecution of Communist andartes during the civil war.110

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Yitzhak Mosheh (Isaac Moissis, nom de guerre Kapetan Kitsos), whom we met earlier in this chapter, outlined his exploits in an interview at Yad Vashem in 1988. In addition to constant sabotage, destruction of bridges and roads, and guarding food sources from German raids, he was also the political advisor for a platoon and later for a company.111 Mosheh fought Italians in the Grevena region near Kastoria and in the mountains of Dzina in Macedonia (occasionally on the Yugo­slav side of the border); on September 23, 1943, he was in a battle at Kostohori; on April 20, 1944, his men attacked Germans near the village of Megarama near Edessa; he arrested collaborators near Mount Pituk. Mosheh recalls the Battle of Pelargos, where he fought alongside the Turkophone Greeks, whom he considered the best fighters in the war. He fought several battles near Veroia, in one of which Solomon (Charles) Bourla died. His last battle was on November 4, 1944, near Kilkis, where retreating units of Germans and local collaborators were slaughtered in great numbers.112 Jews fought among fellow Greeks throughout the mountain war.113 Still, there is one battle that stands out as a special Jewish action, at least in the memory of Greek Jews. The story of the ambush at Karyes (known as the Battle of Karalakou) on May 6, 1944, is dryly listed in the roster of ELAS actions as follows: “6 May. A column of 600 Germans advanced into the southern Olympus district, fell into a 10th division ambush and was decimated. German dead 150, wounded 150, prisoners 18. Booty: 12 heavy machine-guns, 25 Steyrs, 80 rifles, 20 pistols and a large quantity of ammunition. ELAS dead 8, wounded 12.”114 The actual story is more pertinent to our theme. The Germans in L ­ arissa heard of a group of twelve Jewish families from Larissa hiding at “Kalyvia tou Handjiara.” An SS battalion was dispatched to arrest them, which they did, and then set fire to the site. Meanwhile, Lt. Marko Carasso and several other platoons (totaling 150 men) learned of the Jews’ arrest from one of the boys who escaped the trap; they set up an ambush, which caught the column as it passed through a deep ravine. Joseph Matsas, who researched this incident, counted 230 German dead and 14 prisoners, including the officer in command and his interpreter. The Jews were saved.115 This is the only recorded incident where a specific military action was undertaken on behalf of Jews by Jews or the Resistance.



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In addition to the numerous fighters, there were many trained Jewish nurses among the women who served with the andartes. Fanny (Flora) Florentin was with the Hellenic Red Cross in Albania. She and her husband, Leon,116 escaped to the mountains of Paiko in March 1943, where she served as a nurse to a Jewish doctor (called Dr. Yanni, later killed during the civil war) and trained young village girls to be nurses’ aides. Rather than abandon her wounded andartes during a horrendous withdrawal from a German search-and-destroy mission in the area of Grevena (inside Yugoslavia) in fall 1944, Fanny was captured along with Salomon Matalon.117 Their communist leader committed suicide, but before he killed himself he gave her a knife, presumably to do the same. When interrogated in Ioannina, she defiantly told the SS she was a Greek citizen and Jewish; she was transported to Paulos Melas prison in Salonika. The wife of a Greek doctor informed her sister Maidi, who then contacted Flora’s friend (a Belgian named Mrs. Riades) with the International Red Cross. (Kosta Zannas, head of the Hellenic Red Cross, later saved the sister.) Sentenced to execution, Flora was abducted from prison by Resistance members who had bribed the guards.118 Her story sheds further light on both Jewish roles in the mountains and the opportunity for survival in the city where influential friends had the potential to save their Jewish colleagues. Scores of memoirs by Greek Jews are catalogued in archival depositions and close to a hundred others were randomly published; still many more stories are yet to be told, in particular the early resistance in Salonica and the andarte experience in Euboea.119 Too many witnesses and participants, however, have long kept silent either out of fear for their safety during postwar oppression of ELAS veterans in Greece or out of bitterness at their reception in Israel. Many others remained reticent out of modesty or embarrassment in the face of the Holocaust experiences of their relatives, friends, and co-religionists. We shall see some of the difficulties they and the camp survivors faced in Greece in the years following the war (Chapter 10), but first we need to look at the various attempts made to rescue Jews from Greece and at the tradition of relief by foreign governments and Jewish organizations before and during the war.

N i n e   Relief and Rescue

Greek Jews, especially in Salonika as well as refugee Jews in Greece, had been in constant need of economic assistance since World War I. There was no reason to expect the circumstances to improve once World War II broke out. Indeed, new refugee pressures in Athens and Salonika, compounded by the man-eating famine of 1941 to 1942, exacerbated the situation. The German occupation of Greece and the British interdiction of Palestine blocked the one possible emigration outlet. Already in the mid-1930s, Britain was pressuring the Greek government to stop transit of Central European Jews through Greece to Palestine.1 The German conquest of Greece closed any other opportunity for escape to Western countries, which publicly announced at the Evian Conference in 1938 their unwillingness to accept Jewish refugees. Hence the German occupation of Greece threw a death ring around a population previously trapped by want and indifference. The two themes, relief and rescue, united only in 1944 under the auspices of the War Refugee Board established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Until then relief was carried out haphazardly by a number of good-hearted institutions whose headquarters did not understand the Final Solution, or if they did fathom its depth they did not act on the futility of that knowledge. Rescue was even more uncoordinated. There were, of all the diplomatic and military possibilities, only three entities that could rescue or save Jews in occupied Greece: the Italian army, the Greek Resistance, and the British army. Of these, the first two were the most effective, at least until the collapse of the Italian war effort. Nearly all the Jews who survived the war in Greece did so under the auspices of the Greek Resistance, whether as fighters in ELAS, as civilians under the protection of ELAS, as guests in Greek



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homes, or in hiding on their own resources. On the other hand, even when given the opportunity, the British failed to exercise any initiative or action to assist the imperiled Jews. Diplomacy, as too often has been the case, could only delay at best. At worst, the governments of Spain and Turkey had to be cajoled, if not threatened, into making official statements that were pale but more effective reflections of their intent than the deeds, occasionally heroic, of their respective diplomats who successfully protected their charges. Nor do the foreign services of the Allies fare better in retrospect before 1944, when saving Jews became a belated part of President Roosevelt’s official war effort, although assistance was given to refugee Jews by the men on location. The story of relief and rescue, of vain attempts and petty squabbling, is a depressing one. Yet it points up in microcosm the results of indifference and ill planning that are the hallmarks of human interaction in all periods past and present. It is a story, nevertheless, that cuts across the lines of all the major and minor actors in the drama of the war. As such, it throws light on areas usually ignored, while it also illuminates better-known areas through another perspective. The story also shows what individual human beings can do in the face of bureaucratic intransigence, procrastination, and indifference.

Jewish Friends, Jewish Opponents The story begins, of necessity, with the Greek government and its Christian and Jewish citizens, all three relatively constant factors in their attitudes throughout the period 1936 to 1945. The principle for the Greek government may be summarized this way: whatever possible for our Jewish citizens and nothing for our Jewish opponents. Officials and functionaries implemented or blocked this principle according to their personal politics and prejudices. If the principle remained abstract, and subject to personal interpretation, during the period of the German deportations, nevertheless no Greek government during this period, however powerless were the successive puppet governments of the conquered and occupied country, promulgated any antiSemitic legislation on its own.2

Relief and Rescue

Aspects of Metaxas’s policies did cause inconveniences for Jews. True, under British pressure, he interdicted transit of refugees through Greece to Palestine; refugees were not, however, prohibited from entering Greece until 1940 and remained unharassed during their sojourn or until they succeeded in obtaining visas to Egypt or Turkey. True, Jewish newspapers were closed at the outbreak of the war with Italy; yet they were mostly owned or edited by Greek Jews holding Italian or other foreign citizenship. True, officer status was denied to Jews entering the military; this was part of the reorganization of the army to exclude all but Christian Greeks loyal to Metaxas. Despite this reorganization, apolitical Jews who were professional military could be found as front line and medical officers during the Italo-Greek war. True, the Jewish school system was under heavy pressure (since the 1920s) to Hellenize its curriculum and staff; even so, Jewish studies were never prohibited. Indeed they received government support, as did the community of Salonika. The Hellenization policy was part of Metaxas’s ­xenophobia and is a by-product of his program to restrict the influence of foreign schools.3 Despite the policy of selective exclusion, both the government and the military took steps against anti-Semitism during the 1930s. ­Venizelos tried to distinguish between his friendship for Jews (and his respect for them as Greek citizens) and the blatant anti-Semitism of his political followers in Salonika as well as his own infelicitous political rhetoric. Metaxas, after his successful coup, outlawed the EEE, which had earlier been convicted by a Greek court for promoting the notorious Kambel riots of 1931. The head of the Greek army condemned translation of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion into Greek and castigated his officers for parroting that tripe among his corps. During the Italo-Greek war, Metaxas elevated to the status of national hero Col. Mordekhai Frizis, the highest-ranking officer to die on the Albanian frontier. General Tsolakoglou, whom the Germans installed as the first head of government for conquered Greece, issued a public statement on behalf of the Greek Jews. His successor, Professor Logothetopoulos, protested, albeit tardily and ineffectually, to the German plenipotentiary in Athens. The last prime minister of occupied Greece, Ioannis Rallis, intervened personally (again ineffectively) in



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Salonika itself against the deportations while, according to rumor, he grieved over the deportation of Athenian Jews. At the same time, we must recognize the difference between the more positive attitude of the leadership of the government and church toward the Jews and the more petty attitude of many middle-level bureaucrats in the political and military arenas. The example of Salonika may suffice here, although research on the situation there is still in its infancy. The protest of 150 lawyers against the deportations and the support of the university for Jews have not been factored in with the evidence of callousness among local officials who pursued their domestic interests. The Greek governments-in-exile in both Cairo and London worked closely with Greek and foreign Jews to assist their plight, and Cairo maintained close contact with Greek Jews in Egypt and Zionist contacts in Jerusalem. The contribution of Greek Jews who fought with the Greek army, navy, and air force in the Egyptian theater of war was recognized, as was the Jewish participation in the fighting against the Italians and Germans. Hayyim Alvo, for example, at age twenty-one escaped from Salonika (for a small sum he was passed off as a railroad worker) and hid with an air force officer in Athens for three months. He escaped from Greece with a group of air force officers and joined the RHAF in Egypt. He recalled about a dozen Jews who trained as pilots and bombardier/navigators.4 Nor was there lack of sympathy in Washington, New York, and Jerusalem, not all of which can be attributed to political expediency (more on these foreign efforts later in this chapter). The attitude of the Greek Resistance, Greece’s unofficial government during the latter half of the war, was examined in the previous chapter. Hence the attitude of the three main Greek governmental centers during the war is remarkably free from the anti-Semitism that characterized the policies of the German enemy. Could one expect a different attitude from the Greek Orthodox Church? In the previous chapter, we surveyed the official, practical, and theological efforts of Archbishop Damaskinos on behalf of the Jews. The majority of his clergy followed the leadership of Damaskinos and assisted refugee Jews and those in the andartiko. Such aid reflected their positive response to the call to help Jews circulated by the Orthodox

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Patriarch Benjamin (1936–1946) in Istanbul in 1944.5 Here is another (rare) case during the war in which the subordinates in a bureaucracy followed faithfully the principles of their official leadership in their positive attitude toward the Jews. The Orthodox Church evidenced none of the ambivalence of the papacy and rejected any complicity with the Roman Catholic Croatians in the massacres there. A number of notable Orthodox leaders in Eastern Europe and the Balkans took courage from the Patriarch’s encyclical letter, which was strengthened by the Greek example and their own humanitarian or political proclivities. As for the Greek people during the war, they suffered both from occupation and from the developing civil strife deliberately exacerbated by the conquerors. True, there were Christians and some Jews who collaborated with the enemy, but the mass of Greeks offered hospitality to Jews who asked for their assistance. Indeed, the average Christian Greek freely offered assistance, whether temporary or long-term, to Jews as they did to other victims of Axis persecution, although collaborators and sympathizers took advantage of the situation to accrue personal wealth. In addition to the examples given in other chapters, here we should note that Yad Vashem has honored more than two hundred Greek nationals as Righteous Gentiles. Numerous others are going through the process of recognition, while a greater number have not come forward to be recognized for their salutary actions. This aspect of Greek-Jewish relations during the war has not yet found its chronicler. Non-Greek governments and institutions are the proper subject of this chapter. Their efforts, though substantial if in the long run all but ineffectual, are not to be dismissed out of hand. Rather there are important lessons to be learned from their experience, both within the context of the war and in the general context of human relations. Jews of Greek and other diaspora origins, as well as Palestinian, expended great efforts and considerable sums in the hopeless task of saving a remnant of Greek Jewry. They are reminiscent of the last-ditch efforts to pardon a condemned prisoner, in this case from the hands of a suicidal terrorist state. All too often we have witnessed the ineffectuality of these efforts in recent history. The Greek story is but one of many such tragedies. Its lack of success should not necessarily deter future efforts.



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Red Cross The International Committee of the Red Cross (henceforth, CICR)6 is a self-appointed private body located in Geneva. It is the internationally recognized center for the national committees of the Red Cross and Red Crescent (and the unrecognized Red Star of David) societies established during the half century prior to World War II. Its declared purpose at the time, articulated in several international conventions, was to bring a humanizing element to the vicissitudes of modern warfare through safe treatment and care of military men both during combat and after capture by the enemy. World War II intervened before a convention regarding noncombatants could be agreed on (also a casualty of 1938). Hence, at the outbreak of World War II the CICR was a strictly neutral body limited by international conventions to the protection of prisoners of war and foreign nationals interned by the enemy. Within this formula, there was no place for Jews declared stateless by Nazi Germany in the Reich and later in occupied territories. Throughout the war, Geneva remained cognizant of this limitation and refused to test its limits through fear of losing the reluctantly and begrudgingly ceded rights to implement its brief according to recognized conventions. Moreover, Allied governments, especially the British, pressured the CICR to protect their various nationals, both civilian and military, in Nazi hands. The CICR had neither the power nor the desire to extend its brief, or to violate self-understanding of its neutrality. This limitation should be kept in mind when considering the actions of national Red Cross committees during the war, without comparison to the new postwar conventions of the CICR to protect noncombatants and civilians. The CICR became involved in Greece on two levels. The first was a result of the German invasion and conquest of Greece, which brought thousands of Allied troops and hundreds of Allied citizens under German control. Organization of hospital care and registration of prisoners and civilian internees granted to these prisoners a public measure of protection from German ruthlessness. No doubt the CICR saved many lives that cruelty, compounded with the horrific circumstances of total war, would surely have taken. The CICR functioned in an area as the invited guest of the host Red

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Cross committee. In occupied Greece, this meant that a delicate line had to be walked in dealing with the Hellenic Red Cross, jealous of its national prerogatives; the German and Bulgarian Red Cross committees, representing two imperious and rapacious governments (with respect to Jewish and Christian Greeks); and the Italian Red Cross, responsible for most of occupied Greece but self-restricted to military affairs. CICR representatives were therefore limited in number, lacking authority, and constricted in power. Their job was to facilitate registration and care of prisoners in those few areas they were allowed to penetrate. The Bulgarians prohibited them from occupied Thrace, which they had annexed, while the Italians limited the CICR representatives to Athens and Larissa for most of the period of their occupation. By mid-1941, a new situation arose in Greece that changed the nature of CICR involvement there. The change was not effected by a new convention, but rather by a complicated set of negotiations between the Allies and the Axis, predicated by the threat of an unprecedented famine that promised massive casualties among the Greek population. As a neutral humanitarian organization, only the CICR was in a position to intervene in the imminent disaster that would result from the fixed and irreconcilable policies of both Germany and Britain. The German occupying army stripped Greece of its edible and marketable flora and fauna as effectively as any invasion of marabunta or locusts. The British in turn imposed a blockade on Greece and interdicted any imported supplies for succoring the population. The Greek government in Athens protested to the Germans and Italians; the Greek government-in-exile protested to the British. Eventually the Axis and the Allies accepted the reality of the danger as tens of thousands of Greeks died from the resulting starvation and malnutrition. The existence of a body through which these enemies already communicated with each other regarding their own nationals encouraged them to turn to the CICR once again as mediator in a situation neither wanted. The Bulgarians were not party to the problem; their purpose was to depopulate Thrace of its Greek population. Though understaffed, the CICR accepted responsibility for distribution of grain (from Canada) and fruits and vegetables (from Turkey) brought on Swedish ships (supervised and unarmed). Later, Germany made provisions for supply of



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grain from its ally Rumania (with its large Greek population and under the supervision of Hermann Neubacher7). Most of the provisions were destined for the main urban centers of Athens and Salonika. Supplies to interned Allied and neutral nationals (such as the Swiss) were under the control first of the Swiss Embassy and, after the closure of the Swiss consulate in Salonika in November 1942, the delegates of the CICR and the Swiss Red Cross. Swiss milk and chocolate products as well as medicines began to arrive regularly by train into Greece for distribution during fall 1942. These new official Red Cross efforts in Greece were limited to humanitarian aid. If there had been any attempt to expand the CICR brief to include political efforts to stop deportation of Greeks from Thrace, or Jews to their deaths—which Geneva was aware of already in the summer of 1942—it was sharply curtailed by the first involvement of a Red Cross official in supposedly political activity. This incident had important repercussions for CICR policy during the remainder of the war throughout Europe, and it was to complicate combined Red Cross activities in Greece itself. The CICR delegate in Salonika (since July 1942) was René Burkhardt, a thirty-nine-year-old Swiss engineer who prior to the war was director of the Allatini ceramic factory in Salonika. Following his return to Geneva (before the outbreak of World War II), he was drafted by the CICR to return to Salonika to organize relief for the civilian population, register POWs, assist the civilian internees, and succor the Greek refugees from Bulgarian-occupied Macedonia and Thrace. Sympathetic to the plight of the Jews, which had deteriorated drastically since the beginning of the occupation, Burkhardt worked closely with the Jewish community attending to their nutritional and medical needs. Soon a Gestapo8 file began to chronicle his “fraternization.” On March 13, 1943, Burkhardt, whose reports to the CICR effectively describe the deteriorating situation of the Jews since his arrival, sent an urgent telegram to Geneva. He passed it to the German Red Cross, which promptly forwarded it to Dr. Guenther Altenburg, the Reich plenipotentiary in Athens. The telegram was simple and direct: Please telegraph International Committee in Geneva. Since the deportation of 45,000 Salonikan Jews has been already decided, inquire

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at once with concerned governments re deportation of women and children to Palestine indispensable.9

This concern with the women and children, though laudable on its own, may be connected with prior efforts negotiated with the CICR in Geneva. Already in May 1942, the Jewish Agency in London reported to Jerusalem that Professor Carl Burkhardt, the leading member of the International Committee of the Red Cross, indicated the possibility that owing to the severity of famine in Greece children might be evacuated to Syria, Palestine, Egypt, and the like.10 In that eventuality, “no distinction would be made and there would be not much probability of any such plan because the President of the Greek Red Cross would prefer to receive foodstuffs etc. for the children on the spot.” There is little doubt that René Burkhardt became aware of these plans for rescuing children from France to Switzerland, and later from Bulgaria to the Middle East, during his return to Geneva in late autumn 1942.11 Perhaps he met there with Gerhard Riegner, the Swiss representative of the World Jewish Congress. Perhaps he heard it at the offices of the CICR. Or perhaps his expressed concern for the transfer to Palestine was suggested by his many and varied contacts in the Jewish community of Salonika. Whatever the antecedents, the results of his action for his mission were soon evidenced. Altenburg informed Burkhardt’s superior in Athens, Jean d’Amman, that such interference by the CICR in the internal affairs of the Reich was unacceptable. Whereas “the exodus of the Jews was a purely political question,” it was outside the jurisdiction of the CICR; hence Burkhardt compromised his mission in demanding that the CICR intervene. In addition, the Gestapo had been chronicling his philo-Semitic activities in Salonika, and for this reason the Reich would appreciate his replacement in Salonika with another (apolitical) delegate. D’Amman, in turn, countered with the observation that the Swiss Red Cross delegate in Salonika was Burkhardt’s wife.12 Hence all Red Cross efforts, including aid to some forty thousand Greek refugees from Bulgarian-occupied Thrace, would cease in Salonika if Burkhardt had to leave Greece. ­A ltenburg did not defer to this argument. It was not, however, until June 1943 that Burkhardt was able to find a suitable replacement; ironically it was the



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man who had served as his assistant for the past year. During these last three months of his tenure, Burkhardt continued to assist the declining Jewish population; in May, for example, he received for Rabbi Koretz a large consignment of food and medicine. By the end of June, the last Jews from Baron Hirsch were deported. Burkhardt too left Greece, although it is not clear whether the timing of his departure was dependant on the former tragedy. Two questions arise for the historian. Why did the Germans treat l’affaire Burkhardt so delicately? Second: what were the repercussions of this incident on CICR policies regarding the Jews in occupied Europe? A corollary to the latter question is whether this incident affected the policies and actions of other Red Cross committees active in Greece and elsewhere. Detailed answers to these questions necessitate extended monographs based on research in the archives of neutral, Allied, and Axis archives, as well as various Red Cross archives. Preliminary observations may be sufficient for our purposes here, however. The Germans had nothing to fear from the Hellenic Red Cross. The Italian Red Cross was neutral in that it represented a country allied to the Reich. Nazi policy, in any event, was sufficiently contravened by the Italian army in its occupied zone. The Swedish Red Cross, which was at loggerheads with the CICR, was much more aggressive in its humanitarian actions and represented a nation that ostensibly was neutral but actually used its good offices to speak to Berlin directly on Nazi policy regarding the Jews.13 Such aggressiveness reached fruition in the actions of Raul Wallenburg in Budapest 1944. The Swiss Red Cross remained strictly neutral lest it compromise its access to Allied prisoners, civilian internees, and their propertied interests. Actually, the main activity of the Swiss Red Cross was supplying milk and medicine to infants in Salonika. The CICR, though strictly neutral, evinced sympathies (cultural rather than political) for Germany through the personal policies of its head, Carl Jacob Burkhardt. The CICR was also the only “official” conduit through which the Reich could communicate with the Allies, with whom it was seeking a separate peace in order to pursue its war aims in the East: to destroy Communism as well as Judaism. Hence an undiplomatic treatment of the Burkhardt affair might alienate the good

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offices of the CICR as the Germans perceived them. We may recall the CICR protection of Dr. Cuenca in Salonika before his abduction and during his incarceration in Auschwitz as a corollary to this affair. Though no documentation is available to clarify the discussions surrounding the CICR response to the German request to remove its delegate in Salonika, one might hazard a scenario. To the CICR, the Jewish tragedy was the potential straw that might jeopardize its primary missions in Greece: care of POWs and civilian internees, as well as its secondary mission to assist Greek refugees and the starving population. The Jews were, in any case, doomed by a Nazi policy of which they had ample proof. If that great moral authority in the West, the papacy with all its resources, did not publicly condemn the murderous policy of Nazi Germany toward Polish Catholics, let alone Jews, how could a small overworked body that was effecting some good do any more? What would be the response of the Germans to the continuing work by the CICR among the millions of POWs and civilian internees in occupied Europe? Would these captives, including Allied and Palestinian Jewish nationals, not be in greater danger if the CICR were prohibited from visiting camps in Germany and elsewhere? What would be the fate of these individuals if international food shipments were to cease? Unfortunately the Jews were expendable, especially in light of their lack of any recognized legal protection. Hence we must distinguish between CICR policy in Geneva and the activities of CICR delegates in local situations. The latter acted in the most humanitarian ways, pushing the quality of their aid to the limits of German patience. During his tenure in Salonika from July 1942 to June 1943, René Burkhardt made sure that the Jewish community received its fair share of aid; his Greek wife, who supervised the Swiss Red Cross aid for mothers and children, did not restrict Jewish mothers from her institutions. In comparison, we recall that in 1941 the American ambassador to Greece had turned over a share of U.S. citizens’ aid to Greece to Rabbi Koretz. The Hellenic Red Cross supplied food and sympathy to Jews as the trains in Salonika and Greece were brutally loaded. In 1944, Swedish Red Cross representatives chased the nearly half-mile-long trains from Athens to Larissa in order to distribute food and medicine to the victims of deportations. Humanitarian



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aid to the condemned is as laudable an act of Christian charity as can be envisioned, but the question naturally arises whether prolongation of the death throes of the victims is more preferable than a dramatic public protest, aimed at radically changing a hopeless situation.

Palestine The Jewish leadership of British Mandate Palestine was aware of the plight of Greek Jewry, although it was unable to do anything about it directly. During 1932 to 1934 it stimulated and welcomed a large-scale Zionist-inspired immigration of thousands of Salonikan workers and their families. Salonika Zionists frequently hosted Zionist leaders from Palestine during the 1920s. Ze’ev Jabotinsky was a welcome visitor, and his impassioned oratory stimulated the potential for immigration. The Kambel riots of 1931, triggered by the anti-Semitism of the EEE, the social unrest due to the influx of more than one hundred thousand Anatolian Greek refugees, and the economic chaos that depressed the city were the immediate factors that stimulated the mass exodus. Abba Houshi, later mayor of Haifa, even went to Salonika to recruit stevedores for the new port the British were constructing in Haifa. This immigration ceased for several reasons. British policy toward unlimited Jewish immigration was changing toward the near ban that would attend the White Paper of 1939. Since July 1933, the British were deporting Greek Jews who came to Palestine on tourist visas and stayed without proper certificates.14 British pressure on Greece would seal off this Balkan transit, thus trapping German refugees and Greek Jews in Greece. By 1934, the Greek government was monitoring Zionist activity, fearing camouflaged communist activities. At the same time, Britain was pressuring Athens to interdict the illegal Jewish immigration to Palestine. Hence, travelers into Greece were asked their religion, and Jews were repeatedly turned back at the border.15 Also the cream of Revisionist (that is, aggressive Zionist) leadership had made aliyah (“going up,” as a metaphor for immigration to Eretz Israel) already and was now concerned mainly with absorbing the Greeks into the yishuv (Jewish settlement in Palestine). As successful as they were, still some

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Salonikans returned to Greece in the late 1930s for lack of total success in these efforts. What was left in Greece was but a minority of the financially secure sectors of Greek Jewry; the majority had already emigrated to France in the 1920s. As for the poor who constituted the vast reservoir of ­Salonikan Jewry, there was no political, social, or economic opportunity for these masses to leave. Moreover, after 1936 there was in any event almost no place for them to go. For example, when the Italians expelled half the Jewish population of Rhodes in 1938, most found refuge in the Belgian Congo, as well as in dispersed havens throughout the world. This is not to say that Zionism was defunct in Greece. On the contrary, the institutional framework continued. Indeed, its public image flourished in inverse proportion to internal Zionist politics. In October 1935, the Association des Jeunes Juifs in Salonika sent a request to Jerusalem for aggressive Zionist propaganda in order to offset the leadership of the traditional Judeo-Spanish Sephardi tradition.16 Three months later, Semtov Allalouf, president of the Keren Ha-Yesod in Greece, wrote to Jerusalem that “all the Greek Jews are Zionists, wealthy and capable to assist financially those settling in Palestine,” but what is needed, he emphasized, was a radicalization of the organizations in Greece. The Athens B’nai Zion (with more than two hundred members), he reported, was not on good terms with the organizations Keren Kayemet and Keren Ha-Yesod, whose members were wealthy merchants but not Zionists.17 A year later, Adolphe Arditty, secretary of the Zionist Federation of Greece, reported to Jerusalem that the Revisionists were unimportant in the aftermath of the mass aliyah led by Abram Recanati and Isaac Cohen.18 This desultory correspondence shows a continuation of the hostility between the mainstream Zionists and the remnants of the Revisionists since the 1920s. Meanwhile the mainstream Zionists were collecting public kudos through their good relations with the government and the Greek press. Le Progrès of November 12, 1937, reported in a story on the ceremonial presentation of the Livre d’Or du Fonds National Juif (Keren Ha-Yesod), that the Greek afternoon daily Apoyevmatini was sympathetic to Zionism and that even Ioannes Metaxas was supportive of



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the Zionist endeavor in Palestine. The Ethnos d’Athènes added praises for Greece’s religious tolerance and its recognition of Jews as full citizens: “The Chief Rabbi of Salonika [Zvi Koretz] informed President of the Council Metaxas that he was the first Greek leader to sign the livre d’or in Jerusalem and this was justified in view of his government’s protection of Jewish liberties in Greece.”19 This excellent relationship between Koretz and Greek officialdom continued until his deportation to ­Bergen-Belsen in June 1943. An exchange of letters between Adolphe Arditty and Leo Lauterbach of the Zionist Executive in Jerusalem points out the difficulties on both ends of stimulating Greek aliyah. In response to Arditty’s complaint that the Revisionists had lost their strength in Greece through aliyah, Lauterbach replied that attempts to establish a subdepartment in Jerusalem to organize Sephardi aliyah were unsuccessful for lack of qualified candidates.20 Arditty replied that work had to be made available for the Greeks and a permanent subdepartment was absolutely necessary. In desperation he wrote, “Have we the right to neglect any branch of the Jewish people?”21 Greek frustrations were never resolved, and the same situation continued throughout the period of the war. The problem of aliyah is clarified by the correspondence between the Jewish Agency and a Mr. Benjamin in Salonika.22 Thanks to the lack of certificates, only those with a minimum of one year of agricultural training (that is, hakhsharah) would be given certificates. The following month, an agreement was made with Pardes, the Cooperative Society of Orange Growers Ltd., that their agents in Piraeus should assist only Greek Jews in coming to Palestine.23 Meanwhile the Salonika correspondents were still demanding allocation of certificates for three spinsters who had relatives in Palestine.24 During this period (1937– 38), the Aliyah Department of the Jewish Agency tried to establish a ­hakhsharah in Salonika.25 Simantov Cohen, a graduate of the American Farm School in Salonika, was hired to run the fifteen hundred strema farms located on the grounds of the Baron Hirsch Hospital.26 Funds, however, were inadequate and the number of candidates extremely low. It was suggested that candidates be farmed out to Greek peasants to learn to grow tobacco, and that others be encouraged to join the Greek navy to gain vocational experience useful for Palestine.

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By 1940, the Greek Jews were physically trapped. The response of the Jewish Agency was to concern itself with the property of Greek Jewry and the income promised to the Zionist enterprise in Palestine. Arditty’s report to Jerusalem in 1940 spells out the problems, which had plagued Greek Jews since the early 1930s.27 There were about eighty Central European refugees being fed and lodged by the Joint (American Joint Distribution Committee) and local Greek Jewish organizations, the British were interfering with refugee traffic through Greece, and Keren Ha-Yesod funds were being blocked by the Bank of Greece. Arditty’s last correspondence with Jerusalem emphasized that certificates had to be made available for Greek Jews now that the Italo-Greek war had broken out.28 Despite continued pressure by Greek Jews in both Greece and Palestine, few new certificates were made available.29 The Central Executive in Jerusalem was understandably more concerned with the actual plight of Central European Jews.30 In August 1940, it was reported that 310 refugees passed through Salonika; 255 of them received transit visas to continue to Palestine via Syria.31 As far as it could be known in Jerusalem, there was no threat of imminent danger in 1940 to Greek Jewry for them to be overly concerned. Arditty’s pressure was mainly over the question of certificates and absorption. Moreover, other reports from Greece, as late as December 1940, did not indicate any need for panic. Asher Malakh, former Greek deputy from Salonika, wrote a glowing report to the Keren Kayemet in Jerusalem.32 Metaxas had forbidden anti-Semitism, he wrote, but it still existed among the lower bureaucracy; even the leader’s own Youth Movement (EON) excluded Jews.33 When the war with Italy broke out, he continued, the Greeks were surprised at the Jewish response— their patriotism, contributions, sacrifices, and heroism at the front. Metaxas, he added, expressed his pride for Greek Jewry in a letter to the chief rabbi, which boded well for Greek-Jewish relations. On local conditions, he reported that Salonika was heavily damaged from Italian bombings, especially the business area. The Zionist Federation had united with the Mizrahis to form one front, but this common front ceased once the war broke out. Keren Ha-Yesod was suffering from the difficult times and its program for 1941 was curtailed and monies transferred to the home front.



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Discussion about the property of Greek Jews was raised with the Greek consul in Jerusalem on April 1, 1941.34 The previous November the Athens government promulgated Law 2836, which legalized sequestering the property of enemy aliens. Included among the latter were Greek Jews holding Italian citizenship, and these the Greeks would incarcerate (in very pleasant exile to the Peloponnese) until the German conquest.35 The Greek consul agreed, on behalf of the Greek government, that the money tendered for the Keren Kayemet and the Jewish Agency would be honored. A caveat not to inform Jewish authorities in Salonika or to publish this information closes this report. The question of Jewish property in general would continue to complicate Greek­Jewish negotiations even after the liberation of Greece. If there were to be any rescue of Greek Jews from Palestine, then the impetus, if not the responsibility, had to be assumed by the Salonikan Revisionists themselves. There were two aspects to these efforts. The return of Shaul Senior from the kibbutz where he had settled (and learned German) to Salonika to organize further aliyah represents one aspect. He was unsuccessful and indeed was trapped by the German conquest. The German he learned in Palestine would serve his fellow Salonikans well in Warsaw in late 1943. Other efforts came through the pressures of the Revisionist leaders in Tel Aviv, who staged public protests to exert political pressure on the Sochnuth (Jewish Agency). There were two Tel Aviv–based groups in Palestine concerned with Greek Jews. One, led by Moshe Karasso and Abraham Altsech, called itself the Vaad meuchad le-ezrat yehudei yavan (United Committee to Aid Jews of Greece, UCAJG). On September 9, 1943, a well-reasoned, but nonetheless desperate, letter was sent from the UCAJG to the Jewish Agency Committee for Jews of Europe, reminding them of repeated requests to bring children from Greece.36 But the Jewish Agency, the letter argued, did not concern itself with this “tribe.” According to the UCAJG letter writer, this was one failure and efforts ceased. Due to the lack of anyone in Constantinople to contact Greek Jews,37 the letter demanded that the Jewish Agency send the right man to Constantinople in order to contact the Jews of Salonika and establish networks with them. The letter proposed corrective measures: the Jewish Agency should (1) learn the conditions and mentalities of

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the country to be contacted, (2) learn the local language as well as the Jewish language, (3) draft residents of neutral countries to assist rescue of our brethren in occupied lands, and (4) organize more individuals in this desperate hour of need. The letter ends on a note of mordant irony: “It is paradoxical that in this country [Greece] so close to the neutral zone, there is as yet no contact!” The last request is to hasten the immigration of Greek refugees in Constantinople and other neutral places.38 These themes would be reiterated throughout the war years. A copy of “Le Drame des Juifs Hellènes,” a powerful pamphlet describing both the martyrdom and the heroism of the Greek Jews during the Italian and German campaigns and under occupation, was appended to the letter.39 The tragedy of this letter, the first organized attempt of Palestinian Salonikans to aid their brethren, is its date. By September 1943, there were fewer than one hundred Jews in Salonika, and of those deported from northern Greece more than 90 percent were dead. Still, there were some fifteen thousand Jews scattered throughout the Italian zone of occupation. Their danger was imminent once Italy surrendered on September 8, 1943, and Germany extended its sway over the remainder of Greece. A second group calling itself Hitahduth olei yavan (Union of Immigrants from Greece) staged a public rally in Tel Aviv on October 30, 1943, at which David Ben Gurion, Asher Malakh, and Baruch Uziel spoke. This Sabbath rally came weeks after the SS order to register Athens Jewry was reported to the Jewish Agency.40 In addition to public rallies, more concrete plans were drawn up. For example, in November 1943 David al-Bohor drew up a plan to establish three committees in Palestine, Turkey, and Greece to establish contact with the Greek underground so as to rescue Greek Jews.41 Documents and summaries of refugee debriefings located now in the Central Zionist Archives in Jerusalem bear witness to the information available to the Jewish authorities in Jerusalem. This information was shared with the Greek consul as well as counterparts within the ­Mandatory Administration. Hence, the situation in Greece was known, and the dangers facing the community, definitely in Athens if not surmised for Salonika, were understood.42 In August 1943 a report from



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Athens informed Jerusalem of the total deportation of Salonika Jewry (the author cites the opening verse of Lamentations for effect). It begs for information on their fate as well as for intercession with the CICR to distribute ration cards to the Salonika refugees (about three thousand) in Athens. The report stresses assistance rendered by the Greek Church and continued with a request for funds, in particular from the Salonikan leaders David Florentin, Asher Malakh, and Leon Recanati in Tel Aviv.43 The Jewish Agency was informed by Leon Kubowitzki on November 3, 1943, of the extent of contact: Leon Castro in Cairo approached the Greek government while the World Jewish Congress (WJC) approached the Greek Embassy in Washington and asked for British funds to assist refugees. Greek authorities in London were also in close contact with the Institute for Jewish Affairs.44 Evidence of increased interest is revealed in creation of new files opened in Jerusalem to collect material on Greece under the rubric “Office to study the situation of the Jews in the German golah.”45 With information and refugees coming from all directions, it is useful to outline the various networks that overlapped each other in the eastern Mediterranean. Greek Jews escaped to Constantinople by land and to Izmir by sea, before moving overland through Syria to Palestine, where special British camps for Greeks (Christians and Jews) were established in Gaza and in Egypt. Hence their debriefing on the Greek situation was available to a number of Allied and Jewish agencies. ­Others came by sea to Egypt. Leon Castro in Cairo was in contact with London, New York, Washington, and Jerusalem and appears to have acted as middleman for a number of Jewish groups regarding the Greek Jewish situation. He identifies himself in a letter to the Jewish Agency as representative of the American World Jewish Congress.46 The Jewish Agency, however, had its sights set primarily on rescue from Eastern Europe. Hence its efforts in this direction were centered in Istanbul. The Haganah, the underground military arm of the Jewish Agency, had agents throughout the Middle East to effect emigration of local Jews. Its agents assisted Greek refugees who succeeded in reaching Izmir; the Greek side of the Aegean, however, was left under the control of ELAS, the major Greek resistance organization.47

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Shortly after the German occupation of Athens, a secret committee to assist Jews was established under the auspices of Metropolitan Damaskinos. It consisted of five prominent Jews and five prominent Christians, all of whom had wide-ranging connections in commerce and government.48 He also sponsored an additional special committee composed of three of the heads of Athenian professional organizations that had signed the appeal against deportation.49 Many of the Greek Christians were either leaders in EAM or related to people in the Resistance. They formed part of the extended net established in 1941 to assist the escape of British POWs. Hence it was not too difficult to funnel Jews through the same network. Analysis of the composition of the leadership among Jews and Christians illustrates the functioning of one major escape route. It involved close cooperation between the leaders in Athens and ELAS units who controlled northern Attika (Marathon was the border of their Free Greece) and rural insular Evvia (Euboea). On that island the Germans maintained their presence in Chalkis, along with a few ports such as Karystos in the south, and satisfied themselves with regular and ineffectual sea patrols. Those Greek Jews who reached Palestine were debriefed by agents of the Jewish Agency, which in April 1944 prepared a comprehensive description of the network so that money and supplies could be sent back to Greece.50 Joseph Lovinger, who was vice president of the Committee to Assist Jewish Refugees in Athens,51 left Greece after his escape from Gestapo hands in April 1944. Lovinger turned first to Laszlo Velics, the Hungarian ambassador, whose wife was Jewish, and to the latter’s successor, Ivan Bogdan, who was married to Elia Tsirimakos’s sister. Both Velics and Bogdan in turn escaped Greece with Lovinger in April 1944 and went immediately to Egypt, where they were able to exploit further their contacts with opposition forces in Hungary.52 Tsirimakos, who functioned as minister for justice and supply for EAM in the mountains, maintained contact with his uncle Kosta Pappas, a former minister in the Greek Parliament, and an important leader in EAM. It was Pappas who hid Lovinger in his house until the latter could leave Greece. In addition to the Hungarian diplomats, Signor Teosta, the papal legate in Athens, is singled out for his assistance. He passed information about German intentions to the Jews and was instrumental in



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­ btaining Italian identification documents. He also interceded without o success with the pope to urge him to speak out against the deportations of the Jews.53 Other EAM leaders included Galanos, alias Barba, who had good connections with Greek authorities, and his EAM colleague, the watchmaker Bablis. In addition to EAM, some of the Athenian supporters of EDES were also involved. For example, one Charis Pelenis, a lawyer and friend of Emanuel Levi, assisted the latter to escape in August 1944.54 A good contact was Phoebas Papachrysanthou, who owned a large printing house that printed money for the government. Karamedzanis, head of the Pharmacy Union, organized in September 1943 the flight of fifteen hundred to two thousand Jews from Athens to the mountains. Aristotelis Coudojumaris, director of the Hellenic Red Cross, maintained close contact with the British and yet assisted Jews as much as possible. The Greek police, generally unsympathetic to the Germans, also assisted the Jews in a number of ways. Glikas, chief of the Plateia Quarter, supplied documents to Jews at the suggestion of his friend, a Greek merchant named Petropoulos. Kadmos Stephanopoulos, a lawyer, secured police identification documents for Jews at the rate of two million drachmas ($50), while Dimitrios Vlastaris, chief of the Alien Bureau since the 1920s, also greatly assisted Jews. We have already noted the generally sympathetic attitude of Maniadakis, chief of public safety, and Chief of Police Evert.55 In Salonika, Niko Mitudi obtained from his friend Vladimir documents that identified some Jews as Greek workers returning from labor in Germany; he also had a Jewish girlfriend. Barba Kosta, a ranking Venezelist who successfully placed many cashiered officers with the Greek police, was approachable through the password “Regards from Richard Israel.” Greeks working the escape network were identified in the debriefing reports. For example, Janis Angilas, head of the village of Gramatikon near Marathon, was Georghos Mavros’s contact. Christo Anastasiou of Evvia smuggled individual Jews from Athens in his delivery truck to Evvia at the rate of two million drachmas per Jew. Kosta, a student married to a Jewish girl, drove Jews in his automobile from Athens to the andartes in Marathon; he received one and a half gold pounds per Jew. Niko Costopoulos, a caique captain in Piraeus, ferried Jews

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to Turkey for a fee, as did Stellios Hiotis (a captain from Evvia) and Jani Kukulonatis. Costa (Constantia) Georgio and his friend Mikos, a member of EDES who dealt in pharmaceuticals in Athens, and Stamatis, who captained a caique, organized escapes for Jews. As part of the British network transporting Greeks to Egypt, their involvement with the rescue of Jews raised alarm in London that British priorities would be impeded.56 Such concerns by the British also surfaced in connection with M9 rescue attempts in Turkey. In London the British labeled the Resistance efforts to rescue Jews as a “racket” on the grounds that money changed hands. The question was raised whether the Americans, who were sympathetic to EAM/ELAS on the one hand and through the War Refugee Board were interested in rescuing Jews on the other, could be influenced to leave Greek affairs to the British. Two typically cavalier statements led to a tabling of the discussion. One argued that the Jewish vote in New York was crucial to FDR’s reelection as president in the forthcoming elections, and in any case the War Refugee Board functioned independently when it came to rescuing Jews. The second speaks for itself and is connected with Rabbi Barzilai’s appeal via ELAS, under whose protection he was, for funds to assist the Resistance: This requires careful handling. It is quite possible that rich Jews will pay large sums of money to escape being murdered by the Huns. It is tiresome that this money should get into the hands of E.L.A.S., but why on earth we should go and argue with the United States about it I cannot conceive. . . . We should take a great responsibility if we prevented the escape of Jews, even if they should be rich Jews. I know it is the modern view that all rich people should be put to death wherever found, but it is a pity that we should take up that attitude at the present time. After all, they have no doubt paid for their liberation so high that in future they will only be poor Jews, and therefore have the ordinary rights of human beings.57

Nowhere in this intricate network was there any direct contact with the Jews in Greece. The latter worked with local resistance groups and the Greek government in Athens. Such active Jews included Daniel Alhanati, the thirty-seven-year-old lawyer for the Athens Jewish community, who represented the interests of the Salonika community and



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acted as go-between with the secret committee established by Metropolitan Damaskinos. An active Zionist, he escaped to the mountains in September 1943 and maintained contact with EAM leaders through his friend Karamedzanis, a pharmacist in Patissia. Another member of the Secret Rescue Committee, Eli Ata, belonged to B’nai Brith and maintained contact with a Greek friend in Athens. A third member of the committee, Chaim Ben Rubi, also belonged to B’nai Brith. The fourth committee member, Pepo Benoziliu, headed the Bank of ­Salonika in Athens. The last three, it was noted, were not Zionists and reflected the tension between the two organizations. Benoziliu had good contacts among the Greek leadership, notably with Kosta ­Zavitsanos, head of the government workers fund in Athens, who procured Christian identities for Jews from his government contacts. Other Jews included Salmon Kimhi, a partner with Georgios Mavros in a textile firm; Robert Rafael, a friend of Benoziliu’s and a Zionist and formerly a member of the Salonika leadership, who was considered a cautious man; and Moris Saporta, who had assumed a Greek alias. Palestinian sources recognized the value of a Dr. Josef Schoenberg, who came from Poland to Salonika in World War I and formerly served as chief physician at the Hirsch Hospital.58 All the efforts in Palestine noted here were to assist the refugees after they escaped from Greece or to stimulate the Allies to make statements to the Greeks in occupied Greece to protect the Jews trapped there. In addition, the various offices sent information on the Greek situation to other agencies and governments. What little could be done within the parameters of the situation was attempted. Unfortunately, Palestinian Jewry itself could not translate it into a mass rescue; rather it could only initiate efforts to facilitate what was possible on the local level in Greece. We have already seen the critique belatedly argued shortly after the deportation of the Salonika community. The efforts to work through the military and civilian bureaucracies during the war were prodigious, if occasionally Sisyphean. Attempts to send radio messages to the Greek Jews via the BBC are illustrative of the complexities involved. The BBC was under strict government censorship during the war, so all requests had to go through the British government. Hence, the Institute for Jewish Affairs worked closely

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with the Greek government in London to approach the BBC and appropriate British officials. The latter were divided over the military, civilian, and propaganda aspects of any messages sent to Occupied Europe. Moreover, they were hesitant for whatever reasons59 to broadcast their knowledge of the Final Solution to the Jews. Thus any messages that were sent were couched in such vagueness that neither the occupiers nor the occupied took them too seriously.60 Even the Papacy’s veiled warning was understandable only to pundits. Understandably, the Greeks and Jews in London worked closely with the BBC and the British government over the wording of these messages. The first broadcast was in December 1942. The result of considerable political wrangling, it was a solemn if somewhat innocuous threat to Germany of reprisal and punishment for its ill treatment of civilians. The message did not penetrate to the Greek Jews who might have heard it as a warning of their imminent death.61 Broadcasts by the Greek programmers at the BBC were more explicit and successful; an illustration of the complexities behind one successful broadcast follows. On October 2, 1943, a telegram from Istanbul to the Jewish Agency in Jerusalem (received on October 5) informed it that a letter from Athens “acknowledged extreme danger expulsion whole Greek Jewry to Poland . . . conjure to save their lives and demand Greek radio instruction for population. . . .”62 On October 9, Leon Castro in Cairo informed Greenbaum of the Jewish Agency in Jerusalem that he had met with the vice president of the Greek government and Dimitri ­Pappas, the Greek chargé d’affaires in Cairo. The latter proposed to take adequate measures and advised Castro to present the same request to the British Ministry of State. The following day Castro wired Greenbaum: “I, as representative of the American World Jewish Congress contacted Secretary British Ministry of State to help Greek Jews in agreement with Greek government. Please wire British Minister of State directly.” On October 11, the Jewish Agency sent a request to the chief secretary, government offices, Jerusalem regarding its information that the Germans were planning to deport the remaining Jews of Greece. Would the chief secretary request the Greek government “to address a radio appeal to the Greek population asking them to assist their



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Jewish compatriots in their present plight, to prevent their being deported and to render them any other assistance that may be practicable under the circumstances”? On October 15, Castro wired Jerusalem to inform Moshe Shertok (later Sharet) that “Greek radio London gave yesterday instructions at our request” and that Shertok should cable thanks to Pappas.63 Shertok responded to Castro on October 18: “Greatly appreciate action taken. Can you arrange another broadcast warning Jews their deportation means slaughter. Should resist utmost their capacity. Please wire. Have cabled Pappas.” The story was told differently from Istanbul. On October 19, J. Goldin sent a confidential letter to the Immigration Department of the Jewish Agency in Jerusalem with a request to inform the Greek committee of its contents. His scenario begins on October 3, when he was informed of the German order to register the Jews of Athens (probably via the Greek newspaper in which it was published). Immediately he requested the Greek authorities via his friend (the latter point added in Hebrew) the first secretary to the Greek embassy that an appeal be broadcast to the Greek population to assist the Jews. On the same day, his Greek contact wired his ambassador with a request for a copy to be sent to Cairo. A detailed summary of the broadcast is included, with its strong request to aid the Jews who had proved so patriotic during the fighting; the Greek government was also urged to sabotage the German anti-Jewish measures.64 On October 20, the acting chief secretary informed the secretary of the Jewish Agency that the latter’s request of October 11 was “transmitted to the Minister of State with recommendations of the High Commissioner.”65 His reply on November 8 was negative: Acting Chief Secretary, Government of Palestine, to Secretary Jewish Agency (re your letter of October 20, 1943) “The Minister of State, . . . (after consultation) considers that to broadcast on the lines suggested in your letter NO. Pol/134/43 of this 11th October 1943, might do more harm than good by leading to further witchhunting and searching of houses. The Minister of State feels assured that the Greeks, as fellow sufferers under the Axis tyranny, can be relied upon to render all possible assistance to their Jewish compatriots without special exhortation from outside.

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It appears that Pappas’s views were of special merit in the wording of this letter. Hence we might conclude that pressures by Greek Jews in Palestine induced the Jewish Agency to plead with both Pappas in Cairo and the British in Palestine. The latter, who could have influenced the BBC, took their cue from the understandable caution of the Greek government in Cairo. This entire incident illustrates the political complexities involved in any attempt to stimulate the Allies to rescue, if not only warn, Jews trapped in Greece. Within two weeks, telegrams from Istanbul and Cairo to Jerusalem and London effected a radio message on behalf of the Greek Jews, asking the Greek population to assist them in the face of imminent arrest. At the same time, the Germans ordered registration of the Athens Jewish community. The chief rabbi of Athens was smuggled out of the city to a mountain refuge under the auspices of Jews in the Resistance, ELAS leaders, and the Greek archbishop. Just prior to this bureaucratic flurry of activity, the British forces, including a contingent of Palestinian Jews, occupied the island of Kos for about two weeks in late September. They left without warning the hundred Jews there of their danger. Meanwhile, some ten to twelve thousand Greek Christians of the Dodecanese islands took the opportunity to board British supply ships and escape to British refugee camps in Palestine. On October 27, a summary of a conversation with Dimitri Pappas, chargé d’affaires of the Greek government in Cairo, was forwarded to the Jewish Agency. Its several topics indicate the openness of the channels and clearly delineate the concerns of each party.66 The first issue was the question of Greek refugees in Switzerland.67 These were mostly Greek nationals from Italy and France along with some Spanish Jews from ­Salonika. Unfortunately, the Greek agent in Bern died before sending further details, so Pappas in Cairo asked Leon Castro for information. The latter telegrammed the Joint representative in Lisbon for money within the standard Joint framework to assist every Greek refugee without distinction of religion; Pappas in turn would write to his men in Switzerland explaining that the money was for Jewish refugees only. Castro then asked for a second radio message, following Shertok’s cabled request of October 18, encouraging Greek Jews to join the resistance forces in Greece. This Pappas refused, fearing that the Germans



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would increase their terror.(As noted earlier, his fears likely influenced the wording of the Mandate response.) Still, he would send a request to the Greeks via secret channels. Pappas stressed that most of Salonika’s Jews were already dead, although his information later proved to be erroneous as to how and where. He reported too on the “treason” of Rabbi Koretz and Albert Hason for handing over lists to the Germans. Still, he added, there were an estimated fifteen thousand women and children hiding in Salonika. (Actually, by this date there were fewer than a hundred Jews left in Salonika.)68 According to his reports, the Christians were helping extraordinarily: “There is hardly a house in Salonika without a Jew.” The question of the Greek attitude toward the Jews was (and remains to this day) a touchy one for Greek pride. The Jewish Agency had to write to the Irgun olei yavan69 on February 2, 1943, that Pappas was upset by their demand that the anti-Jewish laws passed in Greece had to be revoked. Lichtheim’s note was simple: “We should be careful not to lose his friendship.” The Salonikans in Tel Aviv also complained to the Jewish Agency that Barlas in Constantinople was too busy with certificates and refugees to initiate any action in Greece itself.70 More important than these rumors was the agreement between ­Castro and Pappas that the Greek government not draft Greek Jews who volunteered with the British. However, as a consequence of the refusal of four hundred of these Jews to join the British (some were Communists; others declined for various reasons such as health and age), Pappas was forced to request forfeiture of their Greek citizenship. The Jews must understand, Pappas warned, that such actions, if treated otherwise, might lead to anti-Semitism. After reporting on the escape of some important Athenian Jews who were debriefed in Cairo at the beginning of November, Pappas closed this conversation with a summary of the situation in Constantinople. Among the many Greek refugees were many Jews desperately in need of money and especially of papers for Palestine. The Turks, he said, were unfriendly to refugees who overstayed their hospitality. This question of the Turkish attitude toward Jewish refugees would be formally negotiated at the beginning of 1944. On November 3, Leon Kubowitzki summarized to the Jewish

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Agency the follow-up to this report: “Yours October 27. Castro approached Greek government Cairo while we approached Greek embassy Washington and asked British friends to approach Greek authorities London.” A flurry of effort in August and September 1944 by Jewish organizations arose in the wake of the announcement that the Jews of Rhodes had been deported. By this time, the pattern had already been set in Jerusalem. No planning for the rescue of Greek Jews was prepared. Rather, various responses to news and rumors of danger or deportation elicited approaches to governmental agencies among the Allies, particularly the British and the Greeks. In the central agencies, fragments of information and incomplete data were assiduously collected either for dispersal to concerned Jewish communities (but not publicly) such as the Belgian Congo relatives of Rhodes Jews and various organizations or for the archives from which numerous reports and postwar indictments would be drawn. The words of Adolphe Arditty, penned in frustration in 1938, haunt our consideration of the attitude of the Palestinian Jewish leadership until the end of the occupation of Greece: “Have we the right to neglect any branch of the Jewish people?” With regard to the relief of the Greek Jewish refugees, the question was answered in the negative. But with respect to any active attempts to rescue Greek Jews trapped in the clutches of the Wehrmacht, the answer must shade toward the positive. The inner politics of the Jewish Agency and between the rival groups of Greek Jews in Palestine contributed to the impatience and frustration that threatened to hinder diplomatic approaches to the Allies. Our story returns to the arena of relief. The debriefing of those who escaped from occupied Greece supplied valuable information on local conditions for the British and guidelines to the Jewish Agency for future action. The ferry service established by Greek entrepreneurs from Euboea to Turkish Çesme was quite profitable, if somewhat dangerous. The journey in flimsy caiques, subject to storms of nature and war, was understandably expensive. Many ships were lost. One refugee in midJanuary 1944 told how she escaped with twenty others in a boat of two tons on a twenty-hour voyage.71 She further explained that the opportunity existed to save hundreds if money were available. The going rate



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was about 300 Palestinian pounds (linked to the British pound sterling) for each boatload of twenty to twenty-five refugees. The lady, Buena Sarfati, founder of the Salonika branch of WIZO (Women’s International Zionist Organization) in Salonika, offered to return to Greece to organize operations; no response was found in the archives.72 On the other hand, ELAS and the Haganah had agreed on a price of one gold piece per Greek Jew smuggled from Euboea to Çesme.73 In September 1943, the Palestinian representatives in Constantinople (later the nucleus of Mossad) contacted an Izmirli Jew named Benny Arkadi, who offered to sell them a small boat (eighteen tons) that could carry some ten to twenty people perhaps once a week from Greece to Turkey. In December Shaul Avigdor went to Izmir to contact the Resistance. There he met with an Athenian businessman, Raphael Barki, who in turn contacted his brother Solomon in Athens, who regularly sent him food and medicine via the Greek Resistance. Barki introduced Avigdor to an ELAS man named Thomas, who was in charge of the boats. Shortly after the rescue enterprise was established, the Mossad acquired two boats and worked directly with Thomas, who since April had returned to Athens.74 By June 1944, 850 Jews had been brought to Çesme.75 Knowledge of EAM and ELAS supporters and partisans was especially important to the Jews. A Jewish Agency report lists these contacts (identified by their alias only):76 Byron, a confirmed Socialist and philoSemite, an andarte leader at Tsikios (Tsakei) on Evvia; Mimi dealt with supply and documents; and Amailio oversaw the dispatch of boats to Turkey. Byron was interested in establishing contact with the workers’ parties in Palestine and requested money, weapons, and clothes. Statis was an officer who assisted Mimi, and Michael Tragonis was their ELAS representative in Kouste, a village near Çesme. ELAS officers in Evvia were in Limnona, Grammatiko, and Evangelistra; a high officer, a lawyer named Sotiris, was a relative of Admiral Giorgios Lembisis, a prewar head of the Greek air force in Macedonia and a Freemason. Lembisis controlled a youth named Petraki who escorted Jews from Athens to Evvia; the latter was a trusted contact of Moris Saporta, who remained in Athens under the pseudonym Mikos ­I konomopoulos. Leading EAM members on Evvia who assisted Jews—according to leading Jews, EAM/ELAS recognized the right of Jews to emigrate to

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their homeland Palestine—included Dedis, Nikita, and Dobros, who were political commissars in Syntagma VI; and Lukas, a research officer in Tsikios. There was intense pressure on Jerusalem to assist the Greek refugees. The Greek Jews, after preliminary care by the Izmir community, were sent on to a refugee camp in Aleppo, where the men from age twenty to fifty were drafted into the Greek army. The Greek Jews, in any case, were kept separate from the Christians, which led to claims of antiSemitism. The Jewish Agency wanted certificates from the Mandatory Government to bring these refugees, including the drafted men, to Palestine. Passports were needed. The Greek consul in Beirut, however, was unwilling to issue them.77 The request for organization of this escape route (contained in a letter to the Jewish Agency dated Dec. 30, 1943) lists these points: 1. Get certificates for refugees in Izmir and Aleppo 2. Demand Turks not send refugees in Izmir to Aleppo before receiving Palestinian certificates 3. Do not let Aleppo release refugees before receiving certificates 4. Give money to refugees 5. Clarify recruiting position with Greeks 6. Organize list of refugees from Izmir

This combined political and relief program was well within the capability of the Jewish Agency. The money in part would come from the United States (as we shall see later) and the Tel Aviv Salonikans. The requisite man-hours and the political negotiations, however, could be done effectively by the Jewish Agency in Jerusalem. An agent was dispatched to Aleppo to file a report and begin work with the refugees. Three weeks later came the response: fifty refugees from Izmir with certificates were already in Palestine, while one hundred Palestinian pounds had already been given to refugees. The local officials were waiting for a reply to the remainder of their demands. At this point, Jerusalem turned its attention to the refugees already in the Nuseirat Camp in Gaza and Moses Wells in (Sinai) Egypt. The question of Jews drafted into the Greek army was raised and deferment requested for shopkeepers over forty years of age. By April, the



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transfer of Greek refugees in Aleppo who had Palestine certificates to the camp in Gaza was in the hands of the British military authorities, with the proviso that recruitment from among these refugees would be done in Palestine and no longer in Aleppo. To protect them, efforts were increased to make lists of the Greek Jews before they left Aleppo. Hence the agreement between Castro and Pappas the previous October seemed to encounter difficulty in filtering down through the complexity of bureaucracies.78 In the meantime, Moshe Shertok wrote to Nahum Goldman to inform him of the MERRA (Mideast Refugee Relief Administration, the precursor of UNRRA) request, via Leon Castro, to prepare Jewish medical and relief teams of up to sixty men and women for service in Greece and Yugoslavia (that is, only those areas in MERRA jurisdiction) after liberation.79 The first mission consisted of thirtyfour Palestinian Jewish doctors, nurses, and aides divided into three groups, each under the shield of the Red Star of David (Magen David Adom, the Palestinian equivalent of the Red Cross). One group circulated through the Peloponnese dispensing medical aid to the local population; a second remained in Athens to help reorganize the Jewish community and recover orphaned Jewish children, while a third established itself at ­Siderokastro to treat and direct refugees returning to Greece via Bulgaria. These missions would subsequently organize immigration to Palestine among the survivors of the Holocaust in the postwar period.

United States and Britain The activities of the World Jewish Congress (WJC) in the United States and its counterpart in London, the Institute for Jewish Affairs (IJA), have generated archives of enormous interest for understanding the complexities of intra-Jewish politics as well as illuminating efforts of their respective governments during the war. Supplemented by those of the American Joint Distribution Committee (the Joint), they reveal the institutional rivalry that duplicated efforts and complicated attempts to find a unified voice in a position to implement their respec-

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tive requests. Although the efforts of these organizations might, in hindsight, seem inefficient and overlapping, each had its own agenda and lines of communications. It is only when actions of several groups involved the same area that the diversity caused complications. The case in point here is Greek Jewry. Since the 1920s, the Joint had been involved with Greek relief. For the most part, this aid was in the form of matching funds, such as to the Salonika community in the aftermath of the great fire of 1917. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, housing remained the perennial problem for thousands among the impoverished masses of Salonika Jewry.80 At the same time, community efforts were dissipated in defensive measures against municipality encroachments on its patrimony, in particular the attempt to appropriate land from the extensive Jewish graveyard for the city’s university, increasing interference in internal Jewish affairs through the change in market day from Sunday to Saturday, and pressures to increase the Greek component in Jewish schools. Hence the calls upon the Joint for assistance were frequent throughout the interwar and postwar periods. During the war, requests for funds to assist relief and rescue grew. The American Joint Distribution Committee came to the attention of American officials in the Mediterranean in 1918 when David Lublin, at the International Institute of Agriculture in Rome, wrote a lengthy letter to Jacob Schiff, regarding the question of relief for the Jewish victims of the Salonika fire of 1917. Two questions were addressed: the role of the Joint in financial relief for the victims and the possibility of American intercession regarding the Greek government’s plan to expropriate the now-destroyed center of the Jewish community for development by Christian Greeks. To the first point, Schiff indicated that the American Relief Committee had distributed bread in September 1917 to 8,374 Christians, 29,950 Jews, and 8,446 Moslems with the same ratio for other expenditures; that is, approximately 60 percent of relief funds went to Jewish victims. Schiff informed Lublin that the American Red Cross representative at Salonika could act in conjunction with a local Jewish committee to facilitate relief efforts with the Greek government, which was supplying food and temporary housing from its own resources.



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The question of expropriation, however, was of a different nature. Lublin later argued that the Greek action was unjust “from any government deserving to rank as civilised.” Still, any action from an American would have to be through an accredited individual, which is to say it would need to be an official intercession to have any effect. In July, ­A ssistant Secretary of State Frank Polk wrote to Louis Marshall, president of the American Jewish Committee, that “the matter is entirely an internal one involving only the Greek government and her own subjects.” Hence the U.S. State Department would not interfere. This refusal to involve itself in the internal affairs of a foreign government would be the excuse behind which the fate of the Jews during the interim and wartime periods would be officially ignored.81 A few months later, Hetty Goldman, attached to the Red Cross unit in Greece and the Joint representative in Greece, wrote to Lord Montefiore, president of the Anglo-Jewish Association, to express her opinion on the question of expropriation (“in Saloniki . . . the burning question”). She saw the negative attitude of the Greek government toward rebuilding housing as a political ploy: “For the sake of a grandiose idea . . . the government has been willing to martyrize its own subjects, and expose them to sickness and death.” She and her sources saw the planned emigration of the wealthy Jews of Salonika to be a result of the expropriation law and its political milieu. In an appendix to her report, she cited examples of attempted discrimination against the Jewish poor by “the Greek Red Cross” and actual harassment by the Greek military. Whereas the upper echelons of the Greek government did not foster any actual persecution, its policy of Hellenization was understood by lower officials to be an open invitation to harass the Jewish middle class throughout Macedonia. The question of Greek policy toward the Jews of Salonika was raised again in 1924 over the passage of the law to change the market day from Sunday to Saturday. The Greeks argued that the Orthodox Christians were being discriminated against in their religious practice by having to compete on a Sunday market day. They could not quite justify, however, why the market day should change to a Saturday, the day on which the Jewish community, which controlled the economy of the city, observed to the fullest its Sabbath rest. Any approach on this subject by the American government, it was noted, would be clearly hypocritical

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given the strict Sunday closing policy enforced in many states in the United States. In the matter of relief to the Jewish citizens of Greece victimized in the great fire of 1917, the Greek government allowed foreign aid and contributed its own assistance. The bureaucracy that implemented this aid, however, put petty barriers in the way of the Jews. Jews in Greece, as well as outside observers and representatives of other governments, had no doubt that the government policy was aimed at breaking the economic power of the Jews in the city. The Sunday closing law was interpreted as a continuation of the same policy. The American government did not respond to the request for intercession by the Joint or the American Jewish Congress (AJC) to either the plan for expropriation (although law 1394 avoids the term) or the Sunday closing law. The question of expropriation of Jewish property and the Hellenization of Salonika remained key points of dispute between local Greek officials and the Salonika Jewish community throughout the 1930s. An occasional problem served to keep Greek government attitudes under suspicion. In August 1928, Cyrus Adler requested information “concerning alleged discrimination by Greek authorities against Jews and especially against American Jews.” According to Harry Schneiderman of the AJC, several cases were reported in which Greek authorities refused to let American Jews disembark at Piraeus, and the JDB (Jewish Distribution Board) was advised to take some action.82 Though no further action seems to have proceeded from this exchange of letters, Lucien Wolf raised the Greek government plan to confiscate the Jewish graveyard in Salonika with Adler. Wolf also contacted a number of other Jewish organizations in Europe for their support. Wolf’s memo, marked confidential, describes the visit of Israel ­A lcheh, president of the Hevra Kadisha (Burial Society), and Sam Levy, a leading Salonikan Jew resident in Paris. Their ostensible purpose was to interview candidates for the position of chief rabbi of Salonika.83 They were also instructed to contact the Joint Foreign Committee for assistance in the proposed expropriation of the community’s graveyard. Whereas the Muslim graveyard had already been expropriated in the name of public utility, the government was now proposing the same for the Jewish graveyard.



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Wolf replied that Jewish support could not be organized to protest this action on the grounds that the British government had already acted in similar fashion. Alcheh reported that the Greek government promised ample compensation, but Wolf had his doubts whether it would be forthcoming, and if so whether it was likely to be paid in worthless bonds. Alcheh requested that Venizelos be approached as in the Sunday closing affair. Wolf explained that the latter request had already had a negative result, and it would not look well to give the impression that the graveyard was more important than the Sabbath. Alcheh then proposed that an international Jewish commission be formed to record the historic inscriptions; given the excess of thirty thousand epigraphically valuable epitaphs, this should take some time to accomplish.84 Thus, he argued, the Greek government would have to postpone the imminent passing of the law to expropriate the graveyard. Wolf agreed to discuss the matter with Venizelos in Geneva during his forthcoming visit. The Greek government was to continue pressure on the Jewish community on this issue until 1942, when the local authorities were able to gain a “legal” transfer of the graveyard to its possession.85 In response to the June 1931 attack on the Jewish quarter of Campbell (Kambel) in Salonika, a highly confidential meeting was held in New York that illuminates the complex workings of several American Jewish organizations. On September 17, a committee of four Greek Jews met with Joseph Hyman, secretary of the JDC. The former requested JDC aid in the form of relief for the victims, and intercession with both the American Joint Reconstruction Foundation for aid and with the Greek government to increase its aid and compensation to the Jewish community. The Jews in Greece tried to raise money from the Greek Jews resident in New York, but the financial situation of the latter in the early years of the Depression was too weak to offer aid.86 Hyman further explained that the AJC handled political matters while the Joint Reconstruction Foundation “was an independent organization” even though “closely identified both with the Joint Distribution Committee and the Jewish Colonization Association. That organization could not engage in relief activities under any condition.” Rather it supplied credit aid and needed to keep money in a revolving fund for dispersal as it was repaid. Hence, only the JDC could give financial aid as it had in the

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past, about $50,000 from 1925 to 1927 of which $30,000 was for relief and $20,000 was a loan. The problem with granting money at this time was that publicity might jeopardize the Greek government’s subvention of $60,000 to purchase the Kambel Quarter87 and any possibility that the Greeks would allocate funds to build an old age home and housing. Hyman suggested that the JDC would discuss establishing a loan kassa (fund) of $30,000, with an initial loan of $10,000 drawn from this kassa. The money was not to be used for building purposes. The other interwar contributions of the JDC to Greece were $19,000 for 1920, $10,000 for 1922, $13,000 for 1923, and $20,000 for 1927. (A 1944 report lists the JDC budget for 1931 as $5,000.) Contributions would be curtailed during the succeeding decade until the introduction of refugee relief in 1939 ($7,500) and 1940 ($18,900). About 60 percent of these funds went for repatriation and refugee work, such as relief, constructive loans, medical care, child welfare, for example, with the remainder for rehabilitation. JDC policy was to supply matching funds to local communities. Hence, the report of the ­Comité de Secours aux Refugiés in Athens to the JDC on local support to German and Austrian refugees in transit is informative from a number of perspectives.88 Contributions, according to the JDC summary of the report, were generous, given the poverty of the Greek Jews: Athens (about 700 families) 1938–39 471,433 drachmas Salonica  Feb. to May 1939 185,000 Janina [Ioannina] (2,500 persons) 25,000 Patras (150 persons) 8,235 Canee [Crete] (250 persons) 7,000 Arta (700 persons) 4,910 Trikkala (1,700 persons) 2,550 Veroia (500 persons) 2,000 In addition, from a group of French tourists et al. 24,357.50 Local contributions were equivalent to $6,265 or 730,485.50 ­drachmas

The JDC contributed subventions of $2,000 in April–May 1939; a Mr. Herman Fleach contributed £150 in May 1939. The report notes that the community budget for Athens in 1939–40 was only 15,000 drachmas greater than the funds raised for refugee relief, and this budget



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included subventions from the government of 40,000 drachmas and 15,000 from the municipality. In other words, the community raised more funds for relief than for its own community budget. The expenditures included cash subventions for food, lodging, medical aid, passage tickets, visas, postage, and miscellaneous expenses. In addition, there was an outlay of 426,834 drachmas to maintain the refugees on the SS Aghios Nicolaos de Nomicos while restricted in port. The report suggested a regular weekly subvention of $1,300 (= 150,000 drachmas) to the committee to stabilize its operating procedures. The Comité de Secours aux Refugiés was composed of a number of leading Athenian Jews, represented by Simon Levy, who contributed 38,500 drachmas of his own—a sum sufficient to maintain four people for three months.89 Maniadakis, head of the secret police, gave Levy the authority to deal with problems arising from refugees on board ships (for example, the Astir) and as well freely issued temporary and transit visas to the committee for refugees. Local authorities were expected to follow his support and assist in the event the ships restricted to port were allowed to sail. Inasmuch as the JDC representative was unaware of British pressures on the Greek government, the report could only note that the “Greek consulates issue hardly any visas, especially to refugees.” Hence few refugees were to be expected in Greece. Even so, the JDC budget for Greece in 1940 was nearly tripled to $18,900, with the presumption that the committee continued to draw against this last figure for each succeeding year. It is perhaps from this allotment that funds to support the abovementioned resistance ferry service during 1943 and 1944 were drawn. During the war, JDC funds reached Greece both directly and indirectly, and as well relief was supplied to Greek Jewish refugees outside of Greece. Funds deposited in Switzerland were used to assist Jewish refugees in general, including $10,000 for Passover 1943. Moneys were transferred to the CICR for medical supplies to Salonika, Theresienstadt, Bratislava, and Zagreb as well as Rumania, Holland, and Belgium. Some medical supplies, arranged for in Geneva in March 1943,90 arrived in Salonika on May 18, 1943.91 The CICR delegation in Athens was informed by the Commission Mixte de Secours of the IRC (that is, the Swiss and Swedish) on May 25 of the arrival of twenty-one

Relief and Rescue

parcels weighing 970 kilograms of “spécialités, pharmaceuticals, vitamins, disinfectants, etc. valued at 15,894.75 Swiss francs” for the Jewish community and addressed to Chief Rabbi Koretz in Salonika. Whereas nearly all the Jews of Salonika had been deported by that time, René Burkhardt, the CICR delegate in Salonika, suggested that the contents be sent to Chief Rabbi Barzilai of Athens. On December 14, 1943, the Commission requested confirmation of the arrival or the fate of the shipment in order to inform the donors.92 Spring 1943 witnessed a complex scheme between the Nazis and the Jewish organizations to stop deportations of Jews. Direct negotiations took place in Bratislava between Gisi Fleischmann and Dieter Wisliceny over the amount to be paid to Eichmann and arrangements to help those already deported.93 The entire scheme seems to be another successful scam perpetrated by the Nazis on the Jews. As an incentive to pressure Fleischmann, Wisliceny informed her that the deportations from Greece could not be stopped; indeed, he claimed, he had even discussed the project with Chief Rabbi Koretz.94 If the money were not paid by June 10, he threatened, the deportations would begin again at once. Fleischmann, in turn, wrote to her contacts to raise the funds the Nazis demanded (some two million dollars) in order to save the remnant of Slovakian Jews. The Greek aspect of the project eventually came to naught in June 1943, by which time the last of the Jews in Salonika had been deported.95 In August Wisliceny informed Fleischmann that Rabbi Koretz and other prominent Jews were in Bergen-Belsen and that these Jews were still available for trade.96 JDC funds were used to facilitate the odysseys of the Sephardi detainees from Bergen-Belsen to Spain. Most of these funds were transferred through the JDC agent in Lisbon.97 All of these financial efforts, and more, amounted to very little during the occupation and fighting, and more coordinated efforts might have saved additional individuals, but such funds were to assist the meager remnants as they wended their way to the Mediterranean shores of Greece and Palestine. We return in the next chapter to take up the thread of the Greek Jews in the waning months of the war and their respective fates following war’s end.


Te n


Bitter Homecoming

In the fall of 1944 retreating German troops, accompanied by some of their erstwhile collaborators, fought their way out of Greece west into the maelstrom of Yugoslavia, or north through the reluctant haven of Bulgaria, on the long road to Italy or Germany and the approaching end of World War II. By November 1944, the enemy was gone and the worst stages of the occupation were over. Round two, in which the British replaced the Germans as the supporters of the anti-EAM/ELAS forces, was about to begin, and indeed was to last until the end of the war. Once the British forces were on the mainland, attempts by Palestinian Jews to organize rescue in Greece itself became possible. This chapter describes their efforts to help survivors and organize them to immigrate to Palestine. The last ingredient in the story is to detail the fate of those Jews who survived the concentration and death camps, and the various postliberation struggles to return home to Greece or relocate in the West or Palestine. The vicissitudes of those Jews who took refuge in the mountains, and the fate of those who fought with the Resistance, is part of the transitional period between the liberation of Greece and the formal end of World War II. It is a story directly connected with the British invasion in winter 1944–45. These three streams of the Greek Jewish experience in the last stages of the war flowed through a war-torn country that was entering a new stage in its civil strife, a stage that would be perhaps even more horrendous for the sibling blood being spilled. That horror would divide Greek society militarily for five years, politically for a generation, and socially for nearly half a century. The successful Allied invasion of the Italian mainland in 1943 not-

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withstanding, German troops remained for another year in Greece and its islands to defend them against a potential British attack.1 Though half of Italy was lost, still Hitler thought it might be possible to salvage the situation in the Mediterranean. The landings in northern France in June 1944 coupled with the late summer Soviet drive through Poland signaled for Hitler the necessity to shift first to a defensive strategy in preparation for a desperate attack on the western invaders in December 1944, subsequently known as the Battle of the Bulge. Paralleling this slow collapse of the Reich empire, Himmler began to dismantle the Auschwitz complex. After ceasing the gassings and cremations in Birkenau, he ordered destruction of the crematoria and withdrawal of the slaves and prisoners to camps closer to the center of the Reich, where new factories were established by Speer to produce larger tanks and develop more secret weapons (jet planes, atomic bombs). If Auschwitz was mass murder, the death marches were mass slaughter, and the new camps were even more brutal in their chaotic conditions; but on that subject more later. By mid-autumn the Balkan option was threatened by the Soviet advance through Rumania and Bulgaria. German retreat now became a priority. The Greeks harbored differing attitudes toward the German retreat. All were happy to see them go, except of course the Grecophone and Slavophone collaborators and the large population of German carpetbaggers. The Greek government of Ioannis Rallis was active in pursuing ELAS with his German-armed Security Battalions. EDES, under ­Zervas’s control, having survived ELAS attacks with the support of the Wehrmacht (whose retreat Zervas did not hinder), now looked eagerly to the British arrival to secure for itself a place in the government of a liberated Greece. ELAS, through whose territory German trains and troops left the country, harassed these units in a desire to take vengeance for three and a half bloody years of occupation. ELAS units, now organized as a regular army, were aided by British BLOs under the leadership of Nicholas Hammond, who attempted to coordinate attacks in line with British priorities. The ELAS units were aided by squads from a GreekAmerican Brigade that had been active in Macedonia since the summer.2 At the same time, the British sent in officers to discuss surrender



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terms with the Wehrmacht (in Patras and Rhodes) or, in the event the Germans chose to leave rather than capitulate, to negotiate a more controlled withdrawal than that of a scorched earth. Already in October 1944, there was serious discussion about an “exchange of garrisons” with the British replacing the Germans; Archbishop Damaskinos was the mediator.3 British troops liberated Athens several days after the German army evacuated Athens and Piraeus. In Athens, the general fear was that either the Germans or ELAS would blow up the Athens Electric Company.4 The revolt of the Birkenau Sonderkommando, in which Greek Jews took an active part, occurred a month before the German retreat from Greece was completed. The two events were not connected, of course; it is an interesting coincidence, however, that the Jews in the Greek Resistance were actively fighting retreating Germans at the same time as their co-religionists in the camps were violently challenging the SS decision to massacre them. In both there were instances, as we have seen, of Jews fighting with suicidal intensity. From December 1944 onward, Greek Jews, along with their co­religionists, would continue to be victims of Nazi brutality, while Jews in the Greek Resistance would suffer the vicissitudes of the emerging Greek civil war, the latter a situation exacerbated by the growth of the right, which eventually captured political and military control of Greek society. The Jews in Greece would then be persecuted on two levels: as members of the Resistance and as members of a religion despised by Jew-hating monarchists in the lower echelons of the Greek military and bureaucracy. Even those Jews who were drafted into the army to fight against the Communists had their careers curbed by a silent conspiracy. When the former slaves returned home to Greece, they faced the antagonism of those squatters in the north who had occupied their property in the wake of the deportations of 1943. These experiences were crucial in the mass exodus to Palestine during the subsequent years of the civil war. The brief window of a liberal government in 1945 and 1946 would have an important impact on the subsequent legal and economic position of the Jews within Greek society. One might even argue that the government’s actions set a precedent for the postwar history of the Jews in Europe.5

Bitter Homecoming

In 1944 Greece was a British show, for a number of reasons. Already in October, Churchill and Stalin agreed to a division of the Balkans in the Percentages Agreement. The Americans had their eye on Italy insofar as the Mediterranean was concerned, while their major military effort was being directed in the drive from Normandy to Berlin. American Jewish organizations, as we saw in the last chapter, were following the relief option, and much of their effort was in planning for postwar reconstruction. This was done in tandem with various Philhellenic relief organizations.6 British policy was to reestablish influence in a liberated Greece ultimately subject to a restored monarchy. Thus London and Cairo had to deal with various Greek governments in exile and the problem of the Communist-controlled EAM/ELAS in Greece itself.7 Prime Minister Papandreou returned to Athens on October 18 to find the city controlled by EAM. Without active British support, which was not forthcoming until later, his own military and police strength was too weak to challenge the resistance forces. It was in this interim period that the Nazi laws against the Jews enacted in 1943 were revoked by the Greek government.8 This policy was the first such legislation in Europe and signaled future Allied policy with respect to wartime anti-Jewish legislation. The political role of Jewish activists, such as the lawyer Asher Moissis, has not been discussed by analysts of this period. It seems clear, though, that the influence of the Jews, who remained active in Athens, was supported by their liberal colleagues in the professions and in government. Many of these individuals had earlier protested the ill treatment and deportation of Athenian Jews by the Nazis. The Jewish agenda with respect to property had been set already in 1941. It was the subject of much correspondence and many petitions to the Allies during the Occupation by Greek Jews in exile and in Palestine, as well as various Zionist organizations.9 The question of the return of the confiscated property, implied in Law 808, was not implemented until 1946–1949; some interesting complications of the affair were reported in a series of documents preserved in the World Jewish Archives.10 Law 846 of January 22, 1946, transferred the Heirless Property of the Greek Jews to the Central Board of the Jewish Communities of Greece, or KIS. Subsequent legislation (decisions, decrees, and the like) refined



Bitter Homecoming

the process of transfer and administration.11 However, the same process became locked in committees until 1949.12 It appears that the opposition of Minister Politis was the source of the delay in implementing the law in Greece. Mrs. Politis, as it emerges from the documents, owned some property in Tel Aviv and Jaffa, which had come under the control of the newly established State of Israel, and she wanted compensation for it. Asher Moissis, president of KIS, who was designated as the authoritative representative of the Keren Kayemet (which had been involved in discussion with Greek authorities since 1941 to liberate funds designated to it by Greek Jews), negotiated the compromise between the government of Israel and Prime Minister Tsaldaris wherein Mrs. Politis would be compensated and Keren Kayemet would give to the Greek Jews in Palestine an equivalent amount. All of this presumably would be deducted from the monies the Greek government claimed from the Tripartite Commission.13 Thus, in 1949 Law 846 was finally implemented through negotiations lasting some eighteen months and involving Moissis, the Keren Kayemet of Israel, the Greek government, the U.S. ambassador, the World Jewish Congress, and the American Joint Distribution Committee.14 If this interpretation has any validity (the nature of Greek society in general supports its feasibility), then we can understand why there was such a prolonged delay between the passage of restitution legislation and its implementation. The consequences of this action by the Greek government, though laudable in the historical context, nevertheless effectively structured the subsequent history of the Greek Jewish community. OPAIE, the Organization for the Relief and Rehabilitation of the Jews in Greece, was established in 1946 as the administrative unit responsible for Heirless Properties and in subsequent years became the most influential committee within the structure of KIS.15 Subject to the same tradition of clientism as Greek society in general, the claims of wartime refugees and the descendents of Salonikan Jews in Israel have embittered relations with OPAIE and its supporters. Moreover, Greece allowed the mass postwar Jewish exodus to Palestine in return for renunciation of Greek citizenship. The latter move silenced émigré Jewish claims to heirless property in Greece as well as claims to be part of Greek demands for postwar reparations from Germany.16

Bitter Homecoming

The British Zionists in Britain and Palestine had their own agenda when it came to relief and rescue. (For the American story, see Chapter 9.) Functioning within the British orbit, and subject to the tensions of the British response to the Arab-Jewish competition for Palestine, the Zionists had two major objectives in their efforts to volunteer for service in Europe. One was to establish a fighting presence (à la World War I) and so become a more integral part of the Allied effort; in return there were expected political gains in terms of concessions in Palestine. The second was to organize in situ the rescue of Jews trapped behind Axis lines. The latter objective was the raison d’être for the ill-fated plan to parachute specially trained agents into occupied Europe. Whereas Greece was not involved directly, the story does not concern us here.17 In any case, the British demanded that the primary concern of these individuals be the rescue of downed Allied pilots. An opportunity to get Jewish agents into Greece presented itself during planning for the liberation of Greece. The British, primarily interested in the politics of the situation (that is, restoration of the king and defeat of the communists), did not have the resources or the motivation to deal with the medical and social problems of relief on the Greek mainland. Here the Zionists made their offer of trained medical units to accompany the British forces to Greece and assist the victims of occupation under the auspices of MERRA, the forerunner of UNRRA.18 After considerable negotiations, the British agreed to the plan and a small contingent of doctors, nurses, drivers, and general assistants totaling thirty-one personnel was attached to General Scobee’s command. They were identified through the Magen David Adom, and with specifically Jewish insignia.19 Memoirs from this group preserved in the Haganah Archives in Tel Aviv and the Central Zionist Archives in Jerusalem illuminate not only their efforts but also conditions in Greece in the wake of liberation. On arrival in Athens, the Palestinians split into three groups. One, consisting of eleven medical personnel, went to the Peloponnese and traveled freely throughout the area dispensing medical aid to the local population. (The sight of doctors with Palestinian Jewish insignia—the Star



Bitter Homecoming

of David—was an anomaly to a Christian population whose attitude toward Jews was shaped by ecclesiastical traditions and folk superstitions.20) From their headquarters in Kalamata, they dispensed treatment for seven months. The unit did not report a single anti-­Jewish incident. Sadly, there were few Jews hiding in the Peloponnese for them to find and assist. A second unit of fourteen individuals was dispersed to northern Greece and established itself at Siderokastro, the major entry point from Bulgaria. In addition to their general medical duties, they helped organize the survivors who began to return in summer 1945. The presence of uniformed Jews in British service made quite an impression on the Greek returnees, who were generally unaware of the organized resistance activities in Greece that began after their deportation in spring 1943. One of the ploys used by other Palestinian agents, who organized and guided Jews from central and eastern Europe to Palestine during the illegal immigration movement known as Aliyah Beth, was to have these groups of refugees speak Hebrew as they approached border crossings in eastern and central Europe. The guide would identify the people to the guard as Greeks liberated from the camps and now returning home. Allied policy allowed any liberated concentration camp slave free transportation home. Using this ploy and others, hundreds of small groups of European Jews drifted south to Mediterranean ports where they would assemble for ships to smuggle them through the British blockade to Palestine.21 The third unit, with six personnel, stayed in Athens, where their activities were threefold. Officially they supplied medical relief for the local population.22 Secondly, they assisted in the redemption of Jewish children who were hidden with Christian families or in monastic institutions. In most instances, the children were handed over by their benefactors, a credit to traditional Greek hospitality. Classes were quickly established for educating the children, with an emphasis on a future in Palestine. The latter constituted the third aspect of their activities, namely organization of the survivors for emigration to Palestine. At the outset of their mission, it was still legal for a number of Jews to emigrate to Palestine, especially children. Later their efforts would co-

Bitter Homecoming

incide with those of Aliyah Beth (the illegal immigration that circumvented the British blockade until establishment of the State of Israel and revocation of the White Paper restriction on Jewish immigration). The one group of orphans who legally entered Palestine in 1945 is a unique incident, which occurred before the British tightened their exclusionary net. Local Greek Jewish leaders, including the lawyer Asher Moissis23 and Sam Modiano, who attached himself to the British forces, assisted these orphans. According to his memoir, Modiano was even made a brevet captain for his resistance activities. American Jewish archaeologists such as Belle Mazur and American Jewish officers (medical professionals and observers attached to the British forces) also rendered assistance. But in the main, it was local Greek Jewish leaders who were able to facilitate permission with the government for assembly of candidates, at first orphan children, for Palestine. Joint (AJDC) funds were made available for all aspects of relief effort.24 The local office for aliyah and the PICRA group staffed two hakhsharoth (training facilities) in Athens, with 300 Greek Jews both boys and girls and 160 foreign Jewish halutzim or pioneers; and another 200 Greek halutzim for whom there was no room.25 A third was opened by May 1946; a total of 650 young Jews were being trained for life in Palestine.26

The Jews For the Greek Jews in Athens, the arrival of the Greek government under George Papandreou and of the British forces with its Palestinian contingent was a breath of fresh air. It offered the Jews an opportunity to emerge from hiding, begin reorganization of the Jewish community, attend to the problem of the anti-Jewish legislation still in force, and return to prewar Zionist activities centering on the migration of youths to Palestine. The return of the first survivors from the concentration camps in summer 1945 fundamentally altered the perspectives of Greek Jewry. In between these two periods, the problem of the Jews fighting with, or hiding under the protection of, EAM/ELAS emerged. The honeymoon of the resistance organizations and the new Greek government lasted until December 1944.27 During this period the



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monarchists, who controlled the Greek military units in Egypt, were brought back to establish order in Athens, which was de facto controlled by EAM. As conditions deteriorated, the British re-uniformed the Security Battalions of Ioannis Rallis, whose formation the Germans sanctioned to fight ELAS, and integrated them with the new Greek military. The political right that subsequently took power from the unity government of Papandreou was based on a combination of monarchists, Metaxists (whom the Communists called “fascists”; hence the epithet for the opposition “monarcho-fascists”), conservative ecclesiastics, collaborationist businessmen, black marketeers, and those who in general feared (legitimately) a communist takeover. After all, the rest of the Balkans was already under Communist control. Unbeknownst to the Jews in the mountains, there was a strong current of anti-Semitism and traditional Jew hatred running through this coalition. Hence the Jews would suffer a double indemnity, as Jews and as perceived communists, once they descended from the hills. The Jews who came to Athens were less affected by this problem than those in the north. In Athens the Jews worked closely with the government to reestablish their communal organization. The presence of British forces and the Communist challenge, which erupted in open fighting in December 1944, kept the Greek military, which functioned independently from the government, too busy to concern itself with the few Jews in Athens. Still, young Jews were drafted alongside their fellow citizens for military service against the Communist threat. An insight into the contemporary importance of the British expedition can be gained from the report of Menahem Dorman, who went to Greece on behalf of the Kibbutz Hameuhad movement to study the causes and developments in the Greek civil war.28 Dorman, who visited as part of the gaggle of journalists that have left us a wealth of contemporary books and articles about the period, apparently had free access to all sides of the issue in Athens. In addition to his socialist critique of British and Greek right-wing policies, he structured a fairly complete political history of modern Greece since its independence. In addition he collected various vignettes on the wartime and contemporary Jewish experiences in Greece. His was the first public report made available to the Palestine Jewish community on events in Greece. More important

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is his book’s possible impact on Zionist politics, which had to face a similar situation in Palestine, mutatis mutandis, where the British supported conservative Arabs against a socialist Zionist leadership that challenged the Mandatory Power on a number of major issues.29 In Salonika and other centers in the north, the situation was quite different; there EAM was increasingly, and more openly, controlled by the Communists. Indeed, Nikos Zachariades was brought back from Dachau to resume active leadership of the party and reorganize it along traditional Stalinist lines. Zachariades at first pursued a policy aimed at a political solution to gain influence in, rather than a military coup to gain control of, the government. Thus he agreed to demobilization of ELAS, which followed the Varkiza Agreement of February 1945. Tens of thousands of fighting men surrendered their weapons and went home. (Still, EAM managed to hide some thirty thousand weapons in reserve for the likely resumption of fighting.) These men walked unarmed into the hands of the local gendarmerie, which imprisoned and often tortured them, while in areas under military control anti-Semitic officers on the scene gave vent to their feelings. Numerous women who had actively participated in or otherwise supported the andartiko were imprisoned, sometimes for decades. The authorities arrested a small number of Jews and imprisoned them for alleged Communist activity. As we have seen, there were some Jews in the mountains who were active Communists and more that supported EAM ideologically; this was sufficient to stereotype every Jew as a Communist. Indeed, right-wing clergy in northern Greece had been linking Jews and Communists in imitation of Nazi propaganda all during the occupation and would continue to do so for decades after the war.30 Jewish groups in the West, unaware of the complexities of the actual situation in Greece, expended considerable effort to obtain the release of these Jews.31 In a few cases they succeeded and the lads were, to all intents and purposes, expelled to Palestine by the Greek government. Other Jews spent years languishing in prison. Several Jews were executed. The number of Jewish victims of the notorious Rightist Terror from October 1945 through the first years of the Civil War was negligible compared to the thousands of ELAS-ites who were imprisoned,



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tortured, or assassinated. Yet the experience of the former ELAS Jews made them more receptive to Zionist calls for a return to the ancestral homeland than the sanctuary offered to communists in the Slavic north. Two heroes of the resistance, Kapetan Kitsos and Kapetanissa Sarika, left for Israel. Kitsos was already married to a former member of the resistance, Daisy Carasso, and left a few years after the war. Sarika left Evvia for Athens on the helpful advice of the local police and from there migrated to Israel.32 The success of Zionist propaganda is documented in the lengthy report filed by Jacob Tchernowitz in midsummer 1945.33 He traveled with the PICRA group from Palestine, which was attached to the UNRRA expedition to northern Greece.34 In addition to his general comments on the state of Greece, Tchernowitz surveyed the remnants of Jews in several towns and described the positive impact that Palestinian Jews had on the local population and the Jewish survivors. In the half­destroyed village of Farsala, for example, the local peasants brought forth a Jew who had lived there for twenty years. His property gone, he requested that he and his family be brought to Palestine. The same atmosphere was found in Veroia where the twenty-five Jewish families (all artisans) were destitute and wanted to go to Palestine. In Larissa they found eight hundred impoverished Jews and in Volos another eight hundred whose homes and property were returned intact. In both cities the youths who had been in the mountains were eager to go to Palestine. At the Kozani refugee camp, they found one girl from Ioannina who had returned from the camps; she too asked to go to Palestine. In Salonika they found about fourteen hundred destitute Jews, two hundred of whom had hidden in the city and only forty who had yet returned from Poland; Greek refugees now occupied the two thousand prewar Jewish homes.35 There UNRRA impartially assisted both Jew and non-Jew; Tchernowitz quotes appropriately Anatole France on the “glorious impartiality of British justice, which prohibits both rich and poor from begging in the streets!”36 At the border crossing of Siderokastro he found two PICRA trucks carrying thirty-eight halutzim (pioneers) from Bulgaria; they were in fact Greek Jews who had been deported for labor in Bulgaria and their Bulgarian wives.37

Bitter Homecoming

The Survivors Increasing military pressures on the Reich led to constriction of the vast net of slave labor camps in Germany. By 1945 most of the death camps (Treblinka, Chelm, Sobibor, Majdanek) were already long closed. Now the remainder—primarily the Auschwitz complex—was slowly abandoned. The collapsing situation contributed two new streams of corpses to the record of Nazi atrocities. On the one hand, camps were emptied of their ambulatory population; the incapacitated were abandoned to their fate and many died of starvation before being liberated by the advancing Soviet forces. During the move westward, Jews died either from excessive stress on their limited physical resources or from a shot to the head by an impatient guard, the latter more interested in postwar survival than in the fate of the slaves. Too many stories exist, however, of Jews saved by a guard to allow us to ignore mention of the phenomenon. Dr. Marco Nahon’s friend Isaac, too exhausted to continue the march, was on the verge of being shot; he begged the guard to spare his life as he had three unmarried daughters to support. The guard did not shoot him. He survived to tell Nahon the story.38 Nazi-employed concentration guards were, in the main, Jew-hating sadists or Jew-indifferent (the latter a minority) peasant recruits. The recent trial of John Demaniuk, accused of being the notorious Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka, is a good example of such recruits. There were, of course, many Nazi fanatics in the Gestapo. Their latent (to be generous) anti-Jewishness was exacerbated by intensive training (usually at the Dachau punishment camp), which was motivated by an antiSemitic ideology. At the same time, ordinary recruits were drafted to serve in the destruction process.39 Hence we can conclude that any nonJew could be enrolled in the destruction process (and many volunteers and recruits came from the various ethnic groups under Nazi sway); it was only the individually strong who could protest the assignment and be relieved of that duty. The latter were in the minority however, and truth be told those who would complain during or after the war were in the extreme minority. The lists of perpetrators of atrocities in occupied lands or in the concentration camps, assiduously collected during the war, were collated in the United Nations war criminal lists (called



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“Crowfoot” lists).40 Although these compilations defined the culpable, mainly among the lower echelons of war criminals, postwar courts beginning with the Nuremburg Trials focused more on high-profile individuals and the political and legal realities of the war than the moral questions raised by Western propaganda during the war.41 This observation is ex post facto, however. More to the historical reality is the participation of the guards, as willing accomplices, in the personalized murder of tens of thousands of concentration camp victims. From that perspective, their guilt should be judged. At the same time, prisoners were transported westward on open flatcars in the dead of winter. Natural conditions took their toll, of course, but others died from the strafing of Allied planes, which somehow could not distinguish between striped prisoners freezing in open flatcars and troop carriers heading eastward. This aspect of the fin de guerre has not been examined in detail; the results of such an investigation might, perhaps, add some important facets to the story of the various national and ethnic flying corps that contributed in their way to the end of the war. Nor would such a critique be apropos to our story had not these units, alongside the general Allied effort, claimed glory for their participation and their accomplishments. Future histories should note critically the implications implicit in chronological recording of such actions. Contemporary films from camera-mounted fighters enhance the tension in the viewer when the noncombatant object of the attack is subsequently identified.42 The Jews of the eastern camps were funneled west into the Reich via many paths. Large numbers were to die building or working in new underground factories such as Dora in the Hartz mountains, where Hitler’s secret weapons were made, or in the subcamps of Mauthausen, whose quarries were plumbed to supply stone for the imagined postwar Reich and its messianic architecture. Ebensee, Geisen, and Melk were horror stories whose Greek Jewish victims only barely recorded their stories.43 By comparison, we have only a few postwar songs with the music of Mikis Theodorakis to recall more than a thousand Cretan and other Greek resisters and hostages in Mauthausen (and other Greek Christians who spent the war in the fortress prison of Terezin). Only a few memoirs chronicle those who did not die in glory for the homeland.44 A postwar ICRC (CICR) report notes some wartime locations

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of about fifteen hundred Greek prisoners in German camps; further information might be available in Hellenic Red Cross records.45 Too many Greeks died as victims in Greece and in exile; their memory, not part of the nationalist tradition, is still worthy of recording if not commemoration for future scholarly investigation. How did Greek Jews fare in the last days of the war and in the short period between liberation and the final return home? Many of those liberated ultimately returned to Greece. Others went in different directions, as we have seen.46 Let us begin with those who survived and took advantage of the postliberation chaos to develop a black market career. The story begins in 1945 in Feldafing, where a group of approximately fifty Greek Jews (mainly Salonikans, some of whom survived the Warsaw to Dachau death march of July 1944) began to adjust to the new reality of a naïve American occupation force. They were joined by more than a hundred Greek Jews who survived the vicissitudes of carrying cement in an underground airplane factory in Mühldorf, along with numerous German and Allied strafing attacks.47 The trading skills of the Salonikans and their tribal unity quickly led them to the upper­most strata of the black market, which was the primary means of exchange in postwar Germany. Stories abound of their success. One Petrus cornered the scrap metal market,48 and, it is noteworthy, a group remained in Germany for several years after the war until the DP (displaced persons) camps were closed down. The arrival of the Greeks in Feldafing after the liberation of Dachau was indicative of their energy, their ferocity of anger, and their vitality for the future. They were furious at what the Nazis had done to them and to their families. Others took lethal vengeance on kapos wherever they found them. A thirty-year veteran British relief worker, Francesca Wilson, who served in both world wars and was particularly familiar with Balkan soldiers, recorded her initial shock at witnessing their return to the domain of the free. She joined UNRRA in January 1945 as the principal relief officer; her observations are invaluable for the brief moment of transition from slave to free as experienced by the Greeks:49 Wherever I went I heard it said that the Greek Jews were to blame. They were the worst in the camp. There were less than three hundred of them, but they were worse than all the rest put together. At the



Bitter Homecoming

beginning they had roamed the countryside, pillaging and terrorising the natives, but now that they were being kept in the camp, because of quarantine, they destroyed or sullied everything there. I put off going to the Greek block, but soon I was reminded of them in a forcible way. I was exploring the cellars of the camp, looking for hidden treasures. . . . I found, lying among bundles of skis, whole heaps of broken musical instruments . . . all smashed beyond repair. Yes, the sergeant on guard said sadly, there had been three complete orchestras in the school, but the night that they had come in, the Greek Jews had rushed into the place and broken them all up. After seeing the broken instruments, I was still more reluctant to visit the Greek block, but I felt that I had better get it over. As I approached it, I saw a strange sight. On the flat ground behind it there were a dozen fires merrily burning, which thin shaven-headed, dark-eyed men, wearing Dachau clothing or vests and trousers given them in the camp, were feeding with pieces of polished wood, which they were eagerly breaking with their hands or with knives and choppers. On the fires they were frying bits of meat or bread on improvised pans. To the left of them was a large collection of office furniture . . . a German sergeant was patiently chopping up the larger pieces with an axe. . . . I found the Greeks less attractive than ever after this. All round the barracks there were heaps of debris. . . . I went inside, opened the door of the wash-rooms and lavatories. The floor was six inches deep in water. The Greeks were too lazy to pull the plugs and stuffed down all sorts of rags and waste. . . . I was just going away feeling I could not speak to the terrible Greeks, when a gentle old man stopped me . . . but he was only thirty-nine. . . . Other Greeks began crowding round me, talking to me in fluent French. Many of them were quite young men and, in spite of their hollow cheeks, not unhandsome. Their large sad, dark eyes made them look appealing and innocent, like half-tamed animals. They had all come from Salonika. I told them that I had first seen Salonika in 1919, when so much of it was dust after the great fire, but that I had been there again in 1929, when it had risen like a phoenix and was a brilliant city with great white buildings. They smiled at this and swore that it was the finest town in Greece. Some of them had had shops and cafés there, others were barbers and tailors, and some students. One had studied science for six months, another had just entered the university as a medical student. “Do you know Greece?” they asked. “Do you like Greeks?”

Bitter Homecoming

I said that I adored Greeks. “You were our only allies in 1940, when we were fighting alone,” I reminded them. Other men crowded round. They had fought, some in the mountains of Albania throughout the winter, others in Crete. Some had hidden English airmen, others had fought with the British when the Germans attacked. One man thought that his children might still be alive because a Christian neighbour had taken them in when he was deported. Could he write to them? Another had a brother who fought with ELAS—might he not still be alive? (He doesn’t know about our little war on ELAS, poor devil, I thought.) Then bit by bit they told me what had happened to them. At first the Germans had done nothing to the Jews in Salonika and Athens. Then in 1943 they were all rounded up and deported to Ausschwitz [sic] and other extermination camps—seventy thousand in all, mostly from Salonika. There are only about five hundred of us still alive, they said. It was the same for them as for all other Jews. Only the strong had been kept alive, as slave labour. The weak and old, the young children and most of the women had been put into the gas-chambers. They had had to help with the gassing and the burning of the bodies. One of them had spent all day in an office making lists of those who died. Why make lists, I wondered, of people who were no longer anything but numbers tattooed upon their arm? It was this cold-blooded German pedantry that made these atrocities more horrifying than the atrocities of savages. These lists had been burned when the Soviet liberating army approached the camp and relatives had not even the piece [read: peace] of mind, which the finality of death brings. When the Russians came near, they had been moved from Ausschwitz to Dachau. The weaker ones died or were shot down. “How did you survive?” I asked, “We never gave up hope,” they said. “Those who despaired died.” One of them, a handsome fellow, looked as if he had suffered less than the others. He was a barber, and the commandant of Ausschwitz liked the way he shaved. He had been kept alive and even properly fed, at the whim of this pasha, like Scheherazade in The Arabian Nights. “What will happen to us now?” they asked anxiously. Being English, they thought I must know. “If we go back to Salonika—what then? Our relatives are dead—everything we possessed has been taken away. No one will want us. What about America? What about Palestine?” There was no easy answer to this, but I said, “You are Sephardim Jews. Your ancestors have lived in Greece since the fifteenth century,



Bitter Homecoming

when they were turned out of Spain. Greece is the land of your birth. If you go somewhere else you will be homesick for the glittering sea of early morning in the Salonika Gulf, and the midday heat and the taste of octopus washed down with resinata [retsina], and of ripe figs and the snapping, black eyes of Greek women. Money does not matter with a climate like that, as it does in America.” They thought that there was something in this. Some of them nodded their heads. They liked the bit about being Sephardim—it was obvious that they felt superior to Yiddish Jews. “We don’t speak Yiddish,” they said proudly. “We speak Spanish, Greek, French, and Hebrew.” I remembered suddenly the culture and learning there had been in the ancient Jewish communities of Salonika and Athens. Now there were just these remnants left. “Why did you break the musical instruments?” I asked. “Because they were German,” they said. “We had to smash things when we were freed. Never mind, we can sing to you without instruments. We have the best choir in the camp.”

A number of these men married in Feldafing, some of them to Greek survivors but others to Hungarian women whose beauty was legendary throughout the camps.50 A few of the Greek women, especially a handful from the Rhodes survivors, have left poignant memoirs of their tragic experiences.51 By the summer of 1945 deported Greek Jews, Christians, and Communists were returning to Greece. Not all, however; a new diaspora of Sephardi Jews was in the process of formation, dependent on the process of liberation and the opportunities available. A number of survivors, for example, had been liberated to Sweden, where some married and settled. Others went west to France, where they helped reestablish a Sephardi community to replace the one deported in November 1942. Some went to Belgium to join the Rhodes Jews who had spent the war years in the Belgian colony of Elizabethsville, Congo; a few joined their co-religionists in the Congo until the natives attained independence. Some went to Britain or her colonies, but many eventually came to the United States or to Spanish- or Portuguese-speaking South America, in particular Buenos Aires and Rio de Janeiro. In each case there was a resident community of Greek (Sephardi) Jews with whom they could integrate. Some stayed for a number of years in Germany and contributed their chapter to the occupation story. Others, after odysseys like

Bitter Homecoming

those reported by Primo Levi, made their way to Palestine or Greece. We shall not be able to pursue all these pathways of further dispersion, nor the odysseys of the Greek Christian and Communist workers, or political prisoners who found themselves in Germany or concentration camps at the end of the war. The poorer made their way home, especially the remnants of the Cretan defenders and hostages of 1941; while others settled in the growing Greek colony in Vienna or went east to the new Slav Communist countries where Greek-speaking Orthodox communities had existed for centuries. The return to Greece followed two routes. One was south toward the border crossing at Siderokastro. This was taken mainly by the handful of survivors from Thrace and Macedonia. Yaakov Givre recorded the experiences of a group of some twenty young men, the only survivors of a unit of more than a thousand men sent to Jaworzno in summer 1943.52 Dr. Marco Nahon and his son reunited in their home town of Dhidhimotikhon (Demotika) where they found scarcely more than a dozen other survivors. The former would be the first Greek Jew to have his memoir published. Written in French while recuperating in a French hospital, it was serialized in the Greek translation of Asher Moissis and published in the Greek Zionist journal in late 1945.53 The major group to return through Siderokastro was the remnant of the Judenrat, their families, and other prominent hostages who had been interned in the exchange camp at Bergen-Belsen from August 13, 1943, to April 9, 1945. Along with some of the Jews from Holland, they were placed on a train that reached Tröbitz when the war ended. There Zvi Koretz, chief rabbi of Salonika and since December 1942 president of the Jewish community, succumbed to typhus and was buried according to tradition in the small graveyard dug to accommodate the postliberation dead.54 At the same time the British, who had liberated the camp in the fields between the villages of Bergen and Belsen, were bulldozing tens of thousands of corpses into mass graves and torching the pestilent barracks. The other route to Greece was through Italy, where the survivors were sheltered by DELASEM (Delegazione Assistenza Emigranti Ebrei) and then passed on to southern assembly points. As ships ­became available, they sailed either to Patras or around the Peloponnesus (the Corinth



Bitter Homecoming

Canal was still blocked) to Piraeus, where the local community and agents from Athens helped them return home. The process entailed debriefing them, recording the fates of family members and friends, and then attempting to reintegrate them into society. Many of those who returned were teenagers when they were deported; their interrupted education had to be brought up to standard for Greek matriculation. Others were walking wounded, physically broken or psychologically marred by experiences beyond the comprehension of those Jews who had survived in Greece.55 Indeed, many of the deportees ­castigated those who had fled to the mountains for abandoning their parents. To this day, many Greek survivors in their various diasporas still seek psychiatric assistance for their wartime memories.56 The Athens community quickly organized itself to care for these survivors and employ as many as could work.57 Athens became the Mecca for most Greek Jews after the liberation of Greece; opportunities were no longer available in the now-destroyed communities. Only a few stayed behind in the old home (if it could be reclaimed from squatters); only a few reopened shops with stock returned by Christian colleagues or neighbors with whom it had been entrusted; even fewer found the gold sovereigns they had buried or secreted in the cellar. Only Athens offered the opportunity for career and family, at least for those youths who did not succumb to the momentum of Zionist-inspired emigration, which became increasingly more successful as the vicissitudes of the civil war progressed in the following years. The Salonika story was radically different. There the general political situation was extremely harsh, with open persecution of the left reigning unchecked. Passions, generally uncontrolled in Greece when it comes to politics, exploded on the arrival of the Belsen group. Survivors, who were drowning in the intricate process of establishing their claims to family property inhabited by squatters or owned by wartime collaborators, at first tried to lynch them. According to Arie Koretz (in his interview with Joseph Ben), it was only through the auspices of Dr. Schoenberg that he was able to find a roof to shelter him and re­enroll in school. Gittel Koretz, the rabbi’s widow, was totally ostracized. Paralleling the general atmosphere of punishing wartime collaborators, the new Salonika community leaders demanded a trial of twenty-four

Bitter Homecoming

prominent Jews. This was the only postwar trial of Judenrat Jews, prosecuted by Jews, that took place outside of Israel (the Kastner trial, which was held in Israel in the mid-1950s, was more political); it was the only such trial in which Jews were imprisoned or executed.58 The trial of the Salonika collaborators resulted in punishment of a number of Jews guilty of war crimes. Vital Hasson was condemned to death by firing squad; Ino Recanati was condemned to death and ended his life in an insane asylum; Pepo Recanati and Daniel Cohen received life sentences, as did Leon Sion; Jacques Albala was sentenced to fifteen years and Edgar Kounio to eight years.59 It would be years before the last of the accused community leaders who remained in Greece would have his name cleared.60 Nonetheless recriminations continue to divide the scattered remnants of Greek Jewry at home and in their diaspora. Even fifty years after the end of the war, it was still difficult for Salonikans to discuss these events and individuals dispassionately.61




The tragedies of Greek Jewry during the occupation, like those of other Jewries during the war, were manifold. The main difference was that the Jews of Greece (that is, within present-day borders) were totally unprepared for the savageries inflicted on them by the Germans and the Bulgarians. There had been no tradition of violence or hatred in Greece, as was the case in Germanic and Slavic Europe in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Indeed, the Greek-speaking Jews were treated as full citizens, though subject to social and religious prejudices. During the interwar period, the Spanish-speaking Jews of the north were being integrated through a government-imposed process of aggressive Hellenization that competed successfully with the multilingual and multinational heritage to be found in Salonika. Jews, paralleling Balkan Christians, were emigrating to new economic opportunities, although the call to Mandate Palestine affected primarily Jews in Greece. Greece’s wartime story is complicated by its tripartite division among Germany, Bulgaria, and Italy. The German army’s occupation of ­Salonika doomed the great reservoir of Greek Jewry there, save for those who could escape to the mountains or to the Italian zone. The Bulgarians initiated the process of deporting Thracian Jews through a deal that sacrificed—not unwillingly—the Jews of New Bulgaria to alleviate pressures to deport the Jews of Old Bulgaria. It was a rapid and efficient action accomplished nearly overnight, and within a short period nearly all the deported were murdered in Treblinka.


Those Jews who held foreign nationality and who remained in ­Salonika were finally escorted to Athens under the protection of the Italians. The diplomatic role of that exodus is now chronicled in Daniel Carpi’s 1999 work Italian Diplomatic Documents on the History of the Holocaust in Greece (1941–1943). They arrived in Athens shortly before the capitulation of Italy and the immediate occupation of its zone by the Germans in mid-September. Many of these Jews were subsequently evacuated to Turkey under the auspices of the major Greek Resistance movement EAM/ELAS, in conjunction with the Haganah who received them on the Turkish shores. The Germans were the main perpetrators. The SS directed and implemented deportation of nearly every Jew with Greek nationality over whom it had direct control. Whereas the Italians refused this authority of their ally, the Bulgarians handed over captured Jews to the SS after they exited Bulgarian sovereignty. Toward this horrific end, the SS was aided in the process by German military (Wehrmacht and Kriegs­marine) and by the Jews themselves, who were organized for self­destruction. Their central leadership in many cities and towns followed the age-old pattern of accommodation to the governing body. During World War II, this policy became a tragedy as the Nazis perversely used the tradition of two and a half millennia of self-governing autonomy to expedite destruction of entire communities. The lesson of the first victims, Salonika, was not lost on the Jews of Athens and many other communities in Central Greece. They fled or hid when the orders to assemble were issued; in a number of instances, as in Katerini and Volos, they had been warned by local authorities. Other large communities such as Kastoria and Ioannina followed, in their ignorance and the occupiers’ disinformation, the pattern of Salonika. The island Jews, in particular on Corfu and Rhodes, who did not migrate to Athens during the Italian occupation or escape to Italy or Turkey were deported on the eve of the German evacuation of Greece. Only a handful returned from the camps. The Jewish leadership of Greece has, like other leaderships during the war, come under attack by survivors. Necessary revisionist reading of their varied roles indicates a more complicated situation than the




traditional view, which condemned them for collaboration. The massive bureaucratic leadership of Salonika was primarily concerned with assisting Jews hard hit by the war and occupation, which exacerbated the poverty that had burdened the Salonika community since the great fire of 1917. There was little overt action initially by the Germans to create suspicion of their more deadly intent. Nazi policy dictated establishment of a Judenrat, and this was effected in December 1942. Its function was to calm the population and organize and facilitate the deportations. After a month of decrees that isolated, marked, and ghettoized the Greek nationals, deportations began in mid-March. Though recent scholarship has castigated non-Jewish Salonikans for collaboration and indifference, there was little that could be done; some Christians did assist their Jewish friends, and Resistance recruiters saved others. The various local authorities were primarily preoccupied with the flood of refugees from the Bulgarian-occupied zones, and frankly some were anti-Jewish as well as eyeing Jewish resources. Even so, there were protests by various Greek governments, the Church, and Rabbi Koretz, who was deposed and imprisoned for his interference. His replacement was a sadistic criminal, Vital Hasson, whose torture of individuals to extort money, and whose rape of young women to satisfy urges that neither his wife nor mistress could assuage, made him an ugly parody of the SS. He even dressed like one, with matching boots and whip. Though the SS was responsible for the deportation of Greek Jews, he apparently sent many of his Jewish and Christian enemies to Auschwitz, marking them, according to survivors, for instant death on arrival. This does not in any way exonerate the SS, which was responsible for the deportation and destruction of Greek Jews. The example of Salonika was well known in Athens, and accordingly steps were taken to protect the denizens, the refugees, as well as many of the Jews of foreign nationality recently brought to the capital. (­According to Sam Modiano, one of the last acts of Mussolini before his deposition as il Duce was to authorize the military train that brought 350 Italian Jews to Athens.) Athens Jewish leaders enlisted the willing aid of the Church, the intellectual establishment, and government officials including the prime minister to protest the deportations. Jews in EAM organized the flight of Rabbi Barzilai, pro-tem head of


the Judenrat, from the city. ELAS men and women facilitated the hiding of Jews among the Christians of Athens, or guided them into the welcoming countryside. This national rejection of Nazi racial policy— recognized to their dismay by the Nazis themselves—assisted the majority of Central Greek Jewry in escaping to the mountains. But not so in Ioannina, where the pro-tem leader refused to act on the warning of the imprisoned president of the community to send youths to the mountains. This national solidarity is evidenced in the Resistance movement, the major actor in which was EAM/ELAS, a revolutionary coalition of socialist parties secretly led by the Greek Communist Party. Jews as individuals joined ELAS, the fighting army of the movement, in various ways. Veterans of the fighting against Bulgaria and Italy joined their co-fighters in the mountains; Communist organizers recruited Jewish youth, primarily in Salonika, while Jews from other areas who filtered into the mountains were recruited there. Of course there were Jewish Communists such as Kapitan Kitsos, who was active as a successful military leader and propagandist. The Jewish story in the Resistance is gradually emerging through collection and analysis of memoirs and through development of an alternative approach to the study of wartime Greece. A new focus on the social and economic story is developing alongside the traditional emphasis on the politics of the left-right antecedents of the Civil War that was to ravage Greece from 1945 to 1949. This new focus can illuminate the varied contributions of the Jews to the Resistance and the role of the Resistance in rescuing and protecting Jews during the occupation. The Jews’ relationship with the Resistance unfortunately led to persecution of many Jews (not qua Jews but through their association with the left) after the war. In turn the vicissitudes of the Civil War, which broke out in December 1944, lent another stimulus to the exodus to Palestine of thousands of young Greek Jews. At the same time, many of the Jews of foreign nationality, who had escaped with the aid of the Resistance, were returning to Greece from their various exiles to reclaim their homes and property (not always successfully). The liberated Greek government enacted the first laws on restitution of Jewish




property (individual and communal) at the end of 1944. These laws stood as a model, sadly not emulated, for other European states whose Jewish individual and communal properties were expropriated during the war. Survivors and commentators have attempted to place blame on neutral nations and the Allies for their passive role during the destruction of the Jewish communities. Perhaps the Greek example could illuminate such a trend. Despite ineffectual efforts at protest from a conquered and partitioned country, the Greeks contributed to rescuing and protecting Jews, alongside their rejection of Nazi policy. The Italians protected their Jews for a variety of reasons that had little to do with the Holocaust, as Jonathan Steinberg has shown. The Hellenic Red Cross, along with the local representatives of the ICRC and Swiss Red Cross, gave aid—contrary to their leaders in Switzerland, who pursued a less-than-balanced neutrality. During the initial flight following the German invasion of 1941, Turkey closed its borders to all but a few Jews trying to escape. Later in 1943 the border was opened, under some pressure, to organize escapes. Spain too was pressured to accept her handful of Sephardi protégés in 1943 and 1944. Would more Jews have left during 1941 and 1942 had the opportunity been available? The British interdiction on Jewish illegal immigration to Palestine was still in effect, but adjustments were made as the number of refugee Christian Greeks increased; thousands of the latter were evacuated to newly erected refugee camps in Gaza and Cyprus in 1943. But more important, the majority of Greek Jews had no understanding of the implications of the German occupation. Many of the Salonikan Jews who fled to Athens in spring and summer 1941 returned to their homes and businesses by 1942. Nor did the masked warnings via Allied broadcasts arouse fear sufficient to stimulate large-scale flight. Even among the youths who did flee, there was a constant nagging guilt that they had abandoned their families, a guilt exacerbated by postwar charges from concentration survivors to that effect. The bottom line of the tragedies was the one-way trip to Poland and the vicissitudes of relocation, which resulted in the murder of the vast majority of Greek Jewry. The Nazi plan was to kill all the Jews as they defined them by their racial laws—most at once, others by slave labor,


and the remainder after final victory. Estimates are that some sixty to seventy thousand Jews were deported to Poland, mostly in ­Birkenau, where all but some twelve thousand were killed on arrival, and some four thousand (or seven thousand) in Treblinka. From among those selected for slave labor, little more than two thousand survived the war. While in the camps they served in nearly every kommando and participated in (if not precipitated) the fighting in the revolt of the Sonderkommando. They suffered with their co-religionists in many of the subcamps and died along with their compatriots in the hells of Mauthausen, Melk, and Ebensee. They cleared the Warsaw ghetto, and some fought in the Warsaw revolt of August 1944. There they met for the first time the Jew hatred among their Polish co-fighters. At least they fought, however, and their military training stood in good service astride captured Wehrmacht tanks. The postwar experiences brought new tragedies: the realization of loss of family and friends, loss of home and property, return to a prostrate Greece about to engage in civil war, the rift between those who survived in Greece and those who accompanied their families into exile, and the rightist persecutions of those who fought or hid in the mountains. All of these factors stimulated a sustained emigration that reduced the Jewish demographics in Greece by some 50 percent over the following decade to about five thousand, a level that has remained relatively constant for the past half century. This emigration is the specific Jewish aspect of an increased Greek diaspora in the wake of World War II. The Jewish exodus from Greece should be considered, for historical reasons, an integral part of the general migration, reflecting their full citizenship in the modern Greek state and long-term heritage in Greece. Those Jews who have taken Israeli citizenship have not given up their cultural identity with Hellenism to which they have contributed and still do. Other questions that arise from our survey include what happened to the survivors of the war and where did they begin to rebuild their lives. The center of Sephardi Jewry, its metropolis of Salonika, disappeared in 1943, and a subsequent intellectual and cultural center has not yet reappeared in Greece, or indeed elsewhere. True, there are intellectual centers in various universities in Israel and the United States




that try to teach the heritage of the Balkan and Spanish Sephardim, but there is no clearly defined cultural center that can rival what Salonika had meant to the Sephardi world. The Sephardim today live in a scattered diaspora with only memories to tie them to a small and active functioning metropolitan center that, despite important efforts, is no longer comparable in influence to its prewar ancestor. Even before World War II, two new colonies emerged: France and Palestine. Many of the Sephardim of France were deported to Auschwitz, where most of them died. Many of the wartime survivors left Greece for Palestine during the years of the Civil War in Greece. Lists of refugees from Greece can be found in the Palestinian newsletter Lakkarow w’larahok, for instance on June 13 (466 Greeks), and December 11, 1946 (180 Greeks). The exodus from Greece was continuous; of the ten thousand or so Jews who survived the war in Greece or returned from the camps, nearly half left the now-ravaged but potentially hospitable Hellenic homeland for the ancestral Jewish homeland. There they carved out a new history as they rejoined families that had immigrated earlier, or married to form new families with fewer Greek memories and new Zionist hopes. The other great Mecca for Greek Jews was the United States, where colonies of Romaniots and Sephardim had been established since the end of the nineteenth century. Major concentrations developed in New York, Washington, Atlanta, Chicago (with its huge Greek population), Seattle, and Los Angeles. Smaller groups spread throughout the urban centers of Ohio, Texas, and elsewhere. Greek Jews have preferred Miami and environs rather than joining their former compatriots in the retirement center of Tarpon Springs, Florida (where, interestingly, the art of sponge fishing was introduced by Aegean immigrants), while others have settled in nearby Tampa and St. Petersburg. There is a continuous immigration to the United States for the purpose of educational and business opportunity; yet these youths maintain close contact with family and friends in Greece. Sephardim can be found in Belgium, primarily Rhodes Jews who migrated there after the colony in the Belgian Congo was dismantled and Zaire achieved independence. They can also be found in France where Francophones drifted, and in Britain where their English and


their Hellenism were pathways to acculturation. Many went to South America, to the Portuguese-speaking capital of Brazil and to the ­Spanish-speaking capital of Argentina. The story of the Jews in Greece since the 1950s reveals minor demographic changes: a decline in the smaller towns resulting in the dissolution of those communities and a shift to regional centers, whether Athens, Salonika, Volos, Larissa, Trikkala, or Ioannina, and a few ­islands such as Euboea, Corfu, and Rhodes. Life struggles on, although much of Salonikan communal effort centers on administration of the heirless property of the prewar Jewish population. A successful new museum in Athens is dedicated to the history and culture of Greek Jewry since the Hellenistic period. The smaller memorials in Salonika are dedicated to the Holocaust, and a new museum has been established for northern Greek Jewish traditions. If there is to be a revival of Jewish life in Greece, it is more likely to be in Salonika, where a cohesive and active community of about a thousand Jews still maintains a lively and conspicuous presence in this thriving Balkan metropolis. The larger community in Athens (about thirty-five hundred), on the other hand, is scattered among the millions of Greek Christians who threaten to swallow up the assimilating younger generation.


Appendix: Numbers

The number of Jewish victims of the Holocaust in Greece remains an unsolved problem for scholarship. Several studies and sources include Nazi estimates during the period and the official Greek Jewish summary of the changes compiled during the early postwar period. In addition, we have a scholarly analysis of the Auschwitz transports by Danuta Czech of the Museum of Auschwitz. Her figures have been discussed in Chapter 5. Here we shall have to analyze the question of numbers in a broader perspective. We begin with this question: Can we number the victims? or merely estimate them within a few thousands? The first new point of departure is the Greek census of 1940, which, however accurate, gives at least the number of Jews officially admitted according to the criteria of the Greek state. This census, first studied in this connection by Hagen Fleischer, cites a total of 67,591 inhabitants (including foreigners) of Israelite faith. Several questions arise for the demographer: 1. How many Jews who could have been subject to these criteria were included in the census, especially in Salonika, where the bulk of the Greek Jews resided? We should note the general inaccuracy of any official count, especially one supplied by the community leadership. 2. Did this 1940 census include all the Jews who were bearers of foreign passports and therefore might well not have registered as Greek subjects? Still, many of them died during the war. 3. Were converts to Christianity or children of converts considered as Jews by the Greek government? Most probably not. Many, however, certainly were by the Gestapo, even if the Wehrmacht chose to ignore false papers or Jewish origins for individual reasons.



4. How did the many thousands of refugees to Greece since 1900 identify themselves (including the hundreds identified during the 1930s)? 5. Were the Jews of the Italian-occupied Dodecanese islands included in the official Greek count? This is doubtful. 6. Scholars of Ottoman Jewry are well aware of the low estimates supplied by the Jewish communities to the government. Indeed, they tend to estimate an underreporting of 20 percent.

The attempt of Nazi demographers to ascertain the number of Greek Jews (including those with foreign passports) was not much more successful. We have the estimate of the Wannsee Conference (69,600) and the more detailed research of Joachim Pohl, who increased the amount based on an assumption that the Jews misinformed the government (see below). The question over the number of Jews in the Byzantine period is perhaps apropos because it is based on a subjective interpretation of the figures reported by Benjamin of Tudela for each community that he visited; the scholarly assessment ranges from a literal eight thousand plus (Joshua Starr) to an estimated hundred thousand (Salo Baron). The figures supplied by KIS (the official organ of Greek Jewry after World War II) raise different questions. Based on its official figures (however accurate, but probably more so than the official census of 1940), the list, often published, counts the numbers of each community prewar (presumably based on community tax rolls) and then lists the numbers of each community postwar. Those figures indicate how many Jews were available to be counted on both occasions. They do not distinguish between Greek Jews and those Jews of other countries whom the former married in the displaced persons camps. Nor do these figures tell us how many died during the war. The list at the end of the appendix totals 77,178 (including Rhodes) before the war and 10,066 at the end of 1944. We also have to take into account other means of population reduction: (1) those who died during the war from Italian bombings, wartime service, famine, etc.; (2) escape from Greece to the west (some to death in France and Italy; others to Spain, Switzerland, or even England), Turkey, Palestine, and Italy, where a number of POWs from the Albanian campaign were interned throughout the war; (3) on the basis


of the census figures of 1940, we should not have to concern ourselves with those Salonikans who emigrated in great numbers since World War I or those Ioanninites, Corfiotes, and Rhodesians who left prior to 1940; (4) those who escaped individually from Greece either through Turkey or to Egypt; (5) those who escaped with the aid of ELAS via Çesme; (6) those who survived the war and went to Sweden or France or directly to Palestine from Italy and thus were not listed in the final survival lists; and (7) those who may have disappeared into the Balkans or Turkey at the beginning of the Greek civil war. Our problem is the discrepancy between 67,571 and 77,317 (the minimum and maximum numbers posited). Fleischer (1995) estimates some “71,000–72,000 potential victims of Jewish faith.” Of these, nearly 60,000 were “savagely murdered in the most calculated manner.” He estimates that about two thousand survived the camps, about two thousand escaped from Greece, and about eighty-five hundred hid in Greece. The number of Jews deported to Treblinka and Auschwitz may assist us in resolving the overall statistical problem. There are discrepancies in the figures, however; for example, Molho counts 45,420 Jews deported from Salonika while Danuta Czech records 48,533 Jews arriving in Auschwitz from Salonika. Elsewhere Molho lists nearly 35,000 Jews or residents in Jewish neighborhoods in June 1942.1 Some of these were Greek Jewish refugees and others Central European Jewish refugees; other sources acknowledge the presence of Yugoslavian Jewish refugees who were living with their Salonikan relatives. During spring 1943, the Jews throughout the German zone were deported from Salonika, and their addition to the June figures along with those Salonikans who had returned to the city during the remainder of 1942 and early 1943 might seem to constitute a low figure compared with the estimates of Molho and Czech. Ber Mark (The Scrolls of Auschwitz, Tel Aviv, 1985) calculates from material in the Archive of the National Resistance Office of the Government of Poland in Exile in London that “by June 1944, at least 60,000 Greek Jews had already been transported to Auschwitz.” Wisliceny and Höss (Commandant of Auschwitz, Cleveland, 1959, 217) both estimate about 60,000–65,000 deportees (Höss claims 65,000 as the figure




Eichmann gave him), and Czech herself admits to the likelihood of this number; cf. Mazower, 1993. Mark’s critique of Czech’s work in general is that the Polish resistance in the camp should be more accurate than a count reconstructed from fragmentary surviving documents. But were all these “Greek” Jews? Because the Nazis applied the Nuremburg definitions of a Jew, some individuals were swept up who may have not been listed as Jews in the census. Also there was an undetermined number of Jews from Yugoslavia, especially Bitola (Monastir), who crossed into Greece and were trapped there. The number of Jews who returned to Greece and were counted by KIS at the end of 1944 gives us a figure for the basis of the newly established communities, even though some of the survivors relocated to Athens before the official count. This figure rapidly declined due to the vicissitudes of Greek politics, which led to increased emigration throughout Greek society; cf. reported lists in my “Jews in Wartime Greece,” Jewish Social Studies (1986), pp. 46–62. The resulting official KIS numbers do not calculate for the rapid shifts in population; however, they suffice for the general estimate of loss sustained by Greek Jewry. Suspicion arises that Fleischer’s estimates, based on the 1940 Greek census, are too low. However, if we accept the figure recalled by Höss of 65,000 (the Corfu and Rhodes transports had not yet arrived to be included in the Polish estimate of 60,000) for Greek Jews deported to Auschwitz, then we have a total figure for Greek Jewry that is much greater than the 67,591 of the 1940 census. For the number of Treblinka victims, the camp survivors, those who died in or escaped from Greece, and those who hid or fought with the Resistance nears 15,000. Our conclusion is that we should opt for the larger figure estimated for the number of Jews in prewar Greece, that is, about 77,000, to which we should add the Jews of the prewar Italian Dodecanese. Hence the figure of about 80,000 (as cited by General Tsolakoglu, Nea Evropi, Sunday, Sept. 7, 1941, p. 4; a figure no doubt supplied by Athenian Jewish leaders) might better reflect the number of potential victims, of whom thousands died in Greece and perhaps some 65,000–70,000 (about 88 percent) were deported to their “abnormal deaths in foreign lands.”


The final report of the Sonderkommando Rosenberg dated Nov. 15, 1941, is very close to our last estimate, even if the individual sites do not correlate. To the totals we should add the Jews of Rhodes and Cos, who were at that time still in prewar Italian territory. (Evros refers to the area along the Turkish borders and presumably includes the communities of Soufli, 40, and Nea Orestias, 197.) The KIS prewar figures2 are in parentheses. Saloniki Korfu Kavalla Jannina Athen Volos Larissa Xanthi Trikalla Komotini Drama Dydimotichon Kastoria Chania Chalkis Veria Serres Arta Prevesa Florina Alexandropolis Zante Patras Evros Chios (Rhodes

Juden 55,000 3,000 3,000 3,000 2,500 1,500 1,250 1,100 1,000 1,000 950 900 700 650 500 500 500 450 300 250 200 200 150 100 50 1,701) 78,750

(56,000) (2,000) (2,100) (1,850) (3,000) (872) (1,120) (550) (520) (819) (1,200) (900) (900) (350) (325) (460) (600) (384) (250) (400) (140) (275) (-Agrinion 265) (Nea Orestias 197) (—) (77,178)




The difference between the nearly contemporary Nazi figures and the KIS figures is 3,273 (without Rhodes). Both are considerably higher than the official census figure. To the lists should be added the Jewish communities of Soufli (40), Katerini (30), Langada (50), Naoussa (50), Karditsa (150), Kos (97), and the Jews from the villages of Zilyahovo (19), Pravishte (19), Sarzh-Shaban (11), and the islands of Thasos (16) and Samothrace (3). These latter (totaling 66), who were deported according to Bulgarian sources, may nevertheless have been refugees from larger Thracian communities, for an additional 417 (or 483). In sum, we may not succeed to an absolute accounting of the losses to Greek Jewry, although the archival material recovered in Moscow and New York, when properly analyzed, may give us a more accurate account of the prewar population.


Note to Preface 1.  Most recently, Michael Molho’s poignant memoir of his destroyed community and the loss of its Sephardic traditions has been made available in an annotated English edition, edited by Robert Bedford: Traditions and Customs of the Sephardic Jews of Salonica. (New York, 2006).

Notes to Introduction 1.  A preliminary study is available in Steven Bowman, Jewish Resistance in Wartime Greece (Vallentine Mitchell, 2006). 2.  New York, 1997. 3.  Paris, 1996. 4.  New York: Pella, 1992; Rigas Rigopoulos, Secret War: Greece–Middle East 1940– 1945­­—The Events Surrrounding the Story of Service 5-16-15 (Paduka, KY: Turner, 2003).

Notes to Chapter One 1.  The Greek term for the period of Ottoman domination. 2.  There is a dearth of material in Western languages on Greek Jewry in the Turko­k ­ratia; the reader of Hebrew is better served. For the earlier Byzantine period, the works of Joshua Starr, particularly The Jews in the Byzantine Empire, 641–1204 (Athens, 1939), and Steven Bowman, The Jews of Byzantium, 1204–1453 (University of Alabama Press, 1985; reprinted New York: Bloch, 2000), contain the basic documents and orientation. 3.  See Bowman, “The Jewish Settlement in Sparta and Mistra,” Byzantinisch­Neugriechische Jahrbücher, 22 (1979), 63–71, and the more detailed doctoral thesis of Bernard Pierron, “Juifs et Chrétiens de la Grèce moderne: Histoire des relations intercommunautaires de 1821 à 1945” (1994), the latter now available in part as Juifs et Chrétiens de la Grèce moderne (Paris, 1996). See comments of George Finlay, History of the Greek Revolution, vol. 1 (Edinburgh and London, 1861), 203 and idem, A History of Greece, vol. VI, part 1, edited by H. F. Tozer (Oxford, 1877), 165. The disaster is conveniently summarized by K. E. Fleming, Greece—A Jewish History (Princeton University Press, 2007), 15ff. 4.  Cf. Bowman, “Greek and Jewish Nationalism in the Balkans in the Early Nineteenth Century,” in The Last Ottoman Century and Beyond: The Jews in Turkey and the Balkans 1808– 1945, ed. Minna Rozen (Tel Aviv University, 2002), 15–31.


Notes to Chapter One 5.  Sephardim were descendants of the Iberian exiles of 1492 and later Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking migrants to the Ottoman realm. Romaniots were descendants of the Greek-speaking citizens of Byzantium. An Izmirli Sephardi is even credited with the origins of the well-known flea market in the Monastiraki section below the Acropolis, which sits at the confluence of the Plaka, the older Byzantine and Ottoman section, and the modern nineteenth-century town that grew around it. 6.  The modern history of Athens Jewry was outlined by M. Molho, “La nouvelle communauté juive d’Athènes,” in The Joshua Starr Memorial Volume (New York, 1953), 107–30. L. A. Frankl, Nach Jerusalem (Leipzig, 1858), I, 104f, reported only two German families in Athens, but they were soon joined by eight to ten families from Zante. 7.  This topic was initially explored in Bowman, “Germans and Jews in Inter-War Greece,” in The Jewish Communities of Southeastern Europe from the Fifteenth Century to the End of World War II, ed. by I. K. Hassiotis (Thessaloniki, 1997), 75–86. See Chapter 2 for an expanded study of this phenomenon. 8.  Cf. Pierron, Juifs et Chrétiens, 24ff; Fleming, Greece—A Jewish History; and Derek Taylor, Don Pacifico. The Acceptable Face of Gunboat Diplomacy (London, 2008), non vidi. 9.  The term Ashkenazim refers to Yiddish-speaking Jews of northern Europe, the vast majority of whom come from Poland. The migration to Greece of Central European Jews followed in the wake of the general migration mentioned previously. 10.  Alliance Israélite Universelle (AIU), Grèce, IB1 Athènes 1887/1932: Caime to Bigart. 11.  Rena Molho, “The Jewish Community of Salonika and Its Incorporation into the Greek State 1912–19,” Middle Eastern Studies, 24 (1988), 391–403. 12.  Rae (Rachel) Dalven, The Jews of Ioannina (Philadelphia, 1990), 105–12. Asher ­Moissis informed me, on the basis of his research, that the Jews of Thebes had emigrated to Corfu and the area of Nauplion during the Greek War of Independence. Jews from Crete were part of the general migration to Corfu during the late nineteenth century. In turn, Epirote Jewry continuously migrated to Salonika, Larissa, and Athens from the end of the century. The range of migrations, internal and external, of Greek Jewry has not to date been systematically mapped. One point is clear, however: Greek Jewry was as mobile as the masses of East European Jewry during the same period, and for the same kind of social and economic reasons. With the recent opening of Albania, several hundred of these “North Epirote” Jews were successfully repatriated to Israel. 13.  Cf. my Jews of Byzantium, 25ff. 14.  Family tradition related to me by Michael Matsas. 15.  The outline for this section is indebted to the late R. Dalven’s Jews of Ioannina. 16.  Ibid., 31f. 17.  There were outbreaks in Ioannina, Rhodes, Smyrna, Gallipoli, Galata, and Larissa (1872). In Larissa, both the bishop and the pasha were absent at the time. The prevalence of the blood libel charge in Russia from the 1870s onward no doubt had its effect on the Orthodox in the Ottoman world through the reports and machinations of some influential Jew-hating Greeks in southern Russia. There was an outbreak of rumors and incidents in 1920 in Gallipoli, Smyrna, Edirne, and Salonika and the following year in Rodosto (AIU, Grèce. I.C.33). Although the charges were condemned by the religious authorities, as late as 1926 there was a blood libel accusation in Kavalla involving a ten-year-old Greek refugee child (AIU, Grèce. I.E.3, report of Bassat Mar. 29, 1926). Ya’akov Taranto’s recent edition of Yein HaReKaH (Bnei Brak, 1999), a pamphlet against the Blood Libel written at the time of

Notes to Chapter One the Beilis Trial in Russia (1911) by Rabbi Abraham Evlagon (1846–1934), who was chief rabbi of Heraklion (Crete), is a welcome memorial to his great-grandfather. 18.  Cf. Jews of Byzantium, 174ff, 184, 193. 19.  Their legal status was kendi gelen, that is, “voluntary immigrants,” which gave them more freedom of movement than the Romaniots. 20.  See Bowman, “Welcoming Immigrants and Refugees: Aspects of the Balkan Jewish Experience from Byzantine to Post-Ottoman Times,” in Studies on Turkish-Jewish History: Political and Social Relations, Literature and Linguistics. The Quincentennial Papers, ed. David F. Altabé et al. (New York, 1996), 1–11. 21.  AIU Grèce. I.C.38. Salonique, letters by date. Cf. AIU, Grèce. I.E.3 for a list of thirty-nine subscribers to aid Russian Jews. AIU files chronicle the influx of refugees, along with reports on the increased immigration, and contain repeated requests for aid. For example, a group of Corfu Jews who arrived in Salonika on August 7, 1891, found the community’s resources already under strain from the swelling number of Russian refugees; they were helped along to Istanbul, Izmir, and Ioannina. In July 1892, Ottoman Jews, expelled by the Russian government from Odessa, began to arrive in the Aegean. The refugee committee in Istanbul directed eighty-three families (382 individuals) to Salonika, while 35 more individuals followed. In the subsequent August, a thousand Jews arrived in Salonika via Istanbul. Plans were implemented to build a special quarter for them in Salonika and send some of the poor families inland to Monastir and Uskub, but they preferred to stay in Salonika. Being agriculturists, there was of course little economic opportunity for them in the metropolis. In September 1892, another two thousand refugees arrived in Salonika. Despite the threat of cholera, they were welcomed, and both Jews and Christians participated in fundraising for their assistance 22.  AIU, I.C.32.Rhodes 1884–1939. In 1907, for example, Leon Semach reported from Rhodes that the governor general of the vilayet of the Archipelago, Nazim Pasha, invited the AIU to support a colony of ­agriculturists in Rhodes. Semach was head of the AIU Ecole des garçons and was quite enthusiastic over the invitation of Nazim Pasha, whom he describes as a “grand philosémite” (ibid., Rhodes, Mar. 28, 1907). Semach had previously informed the AIU in 1904 that the Jews of Rhodes were in commerce and had no aptitude for agriculture. One suspects his hand in the offer of Nazim Pasha. By 1910, emigration of young men for the United States and Brazil increased following the Ottoman extension of military service to non-Muslims. 23.  Zionism was not openly permitted in the Ottoman Caliphate, which discouraged any form of nationalist expression. 24.  Those Russian Jews who had come to Palestine via the United States, where they obtained American citizenship, would be affected only after U.S. entry into World War I, although the Ottoman attitude softened somewhat by mid-1915. Many had already left during the earlier exodus from the war zone, on American and Italian ships. 25.  Communal aid to the refugees was typically openhanded. The Russian consul in Salonika also assisted. Cf. AIU Grèce 1915–1924 II.C.53. 26.  A total of 11,300 foreign Jews left Palestine during 1915. Most went to Egypt (cf. EJ vol. 9 col. 334). 27.  Nehama gives this breakdown: the French Jews were Algerian or Moroccan, while the English were from India. There were 359 from Tiberias (including 21 rabbis), 119 from Aleppo, 35 from Safed, 21 from Haifa, and 13 from Beirut. According to Nehama, they were



Notes to Chapter One illiterate and obstreperous, rejecting Western clothing and distrusting Greek dietary practices. The French and British governments contributed a small pension as assistance (AIU Grèce 1915–1924 II.C.53). Within a very short period of time, as Judith Humphrey informed me, almost all left for other destinations. Interestingly, more than four hundred French and eighty English Jews who were living in Syria and Palestine were among these later arrivals. They were eventually settled in the suburb of Halepa (where the French and British consuls lived) through the intervention of Rabbi Eblagon of Canea and Joseph Nehama, the AIU representative in Salonika. 28.  We exclude Cyprus from this discussion because its connection with Greek and ­Palestinian Jewish history is mainly post–World War II. 29.  AIU, Grèce I.B.1. Athènes 1887/1932; cf. Bowman, “Notes on the Jewish Military Reputation in Greece, 1914–1935,” in Newsletter of the Jewish Museum of Greece, 31(1991), 4–6. 30.  AIU, Grèce I.B.1. Athènes 1887/1932. Letter from Caime to Bigart. Caime no doubt used these figures when he spoke to Venizelos about the Balkan alliance. Venizelos’s admiration for Salonika Jewry and connections with Athenian Jews melded during the latter’s World War I sojourn in Salonika. See the following note. 31.  There is some material at the Jewish Museum of Greece in Athens, but as yet no scholarly research has been presented. Asher Moissis, who collected various records after World War II, published an essay in Hebrew titled “Jews in the Greek Army,” in Zikhron Saloniki, ed. David Recanati, vol. I (Tel Aviv, 5732 [1972]), 331–33, in which he gives these data: some two hundred Jews, mostly from Corfu, Zakynthos, Patras, Athens, and Chalkis, fought during the Greco-Turkish War of 1897, while around four hundred Jews (and additionally about seventy Greek Jews from Egypt) fought during the decade from 1912 to 1922. The areas conquered during the Balkan Wars were excused from military conscription for ten years, and this precluded greater participation by the large community of Salonika. 32.  Cf. R. Molho, “Jewish Community,” 391–403. 33.  The chief rabbi is reported to have told the Jews they would be voting for or against war and hunger for women. He was allegedly pro-Venizelos, but the masses were fearful of the war with which they connected Venizelos. 34.  Cited in Isaac Emmanuel, “History of the Jews of Saloniki” (in Hebrew), in Recanati, Zikhron Saloniki, I, 201. A more poignant memoir can be found in Leon Sciaky, Farewell to Salonica (New York, 1946). This description and the following one belie the tendentious remark of Shabbetai Teveth, in his biography of David Ben Gurion, that Salonika was more a village than a town. Such a city with such a Jewish working force gave Ben Gurion the vision he needed to concretize the possibility of a successful workers’ movement in Palestine. 35.  Emmanuel, ibid., 201f. 36.  Salonika was the biggest city Ben Gurion had ever lived in, and its diversified Jewish society was the most composite he had ever experienced. See the nostalgic letter written by Ben Gurion in 1970 in Zikhron Saloniki, II (Tel Aviv, 1985/6), 415–16 and the remarks of Rachel Yanait Ben Sevi, 417–21. 37.  M. Molho gives the date as August 5, while Emmanuel dates the fire to August 18. 38.  Detailed descriptions of the disaster can be found in the rival histories by Emmanuel (ibid., 207) and M. Molho and J. Nehama, In Memoriam: Hommage aux victims juives des Nazis en Grèce (first published in Salonika 1948; 2nd ed. 1975, vols. 6–7, 766ff; there are also Hebrew and Greek versions). According to Molho, there was no insurance to succor the survivors.

Notes to Chapter Two 39.  See Chapter 9 for aid given to the city. 40.  Three new quarters were created by purchase of abandoned Allied camps through Joint and Alliance funds: “Campbell” [Gr. Kambel] was the site of the British army, “151” was a French hospital, and “6” was an Italian hospital. The author thanks Robert Bedford, who provided this data from documents in his possession. Nazi propaganda photographs of these slums are in the archives of YIVO (New York). 41.  Cf. Bowman, “The Great Powers and the Jews: British and French Consuls on Interwar Greek Jewry,” Proceedings of the Tenth World Congress of Jewish Studies, Division B, vol. II (Jerusalem, 1990), 379–86. 42.  See the diaries and notes of Ruth Parmalee in the Hoover Institute at Stanford University for detailed descriptions of the plight of the refugees and her establishment of the American Women’s Hospital to train nurses under the auspices of the American Near East Foundation; the hospital lasted from 1922 to 1925. 43.  Cf. Molho and Nehama, In Memoriam (1948), and subsequent editions in Hebrew and Greek. The curricular dispute is outlined in considerable detail in the Nehama files located in the AIU archives in Paris. 44.  Further details from German archives can be found in the studies of Hagen Fleischer, “Greek Jewry and Nazi Germany: The Holocaust and Its Antecedents,” Les Juifs en Grèce: Questions d’Histoire dans la longue durée [Actes du 1er Colloque d’Histoire, Salonique, 23–24 Novembre 1991] (Athènes, 1995), 185–206, and earlier studies cited in his introductory note.

Notes to Chapter Two 1.  Cf. Frank A. Ross, C. Luther Fry, and Elbridge Sibley, The Near East and American Philanthropy (New York, 1929); and Louis P. Cassimatis, American Influence in Greece, 1917–1929 (Kent, Ohio: 1988). See too Kostas E. Skordylès, “Réactions juives à l’annexion de Salonique par la Grèce (1912–1913),” in Hassiotis, Jewish Communities, 501–516, who cites figures supplied by Rena Molho [“The Jewish Community of Salonika and Its Incorporation into the Greek State (1912–1919),” Middle Eastern Studies, 24/4 (1988), 395]: 450 became Austrians, 750 Spanish, and 1200 Portuguese. 2.  Histoire des Israélites de Salonique, 7 vols. (Paris, 1935–36; Salonique, 1959; Thessalonique, 1978). 3.  Seethingly described by Henry Miller in The Colossus of Maroussi (1941; reprint ­L ondon, 1960). 4.  Emmanuel in Zikhron Saloniki, I, 212. 5.  The Venizelists in Salonika used the previous Jewish support of the monarchy in their economic campaign against the Jews. Also, their perceived support of anti-Venizelist politicians explains the restriction (discussed later) of the Salonika community to no more than two deputies in the Greek Parliament, despite their numerical preponderance in the city. 6.  Emmanuel, Zikhron Saloniki, I, 212–13. 7.  The Balfour Declaration of November 1917 elicited considerable support from the Jews of Salonika, as well as from a number of Greek politicians sympathetic to the idea of a national home for the Jews in Palestine. There was also support for formation of a Jewish contingent within the British army, which was about to invade Ottoman Palestine. At the same time, Ben Gurion was attempting to raise a Jewish force in Palestine to fight with the



Notes to Chapter Two Turks. See Rena Molho, “The Zionist Movement in Thessaloniki, 1899–1919,” The Jewish Communities of Southeastern Europe from the Fifteenth Century to the End of World War II, ed. I. K. Hassiotis (Thessaloniki, 1997), 327–50. 8.  For the background to Greek policies in Macedonia, see John S. Koliopoulos, Plundered Loyalties. World War II and Civil War in Greek West Macedonia (New York, 1999), chapter 1, which clarifies the various ethnic relations and tensions in the area. The competition in Salonika should be seen as part of the broader struggle for a Greek Macedonia. 9.  The latter was translated by a Greek émigré from Russia. When Makedonia began to publish the Protocols, To Phos upstaged them by publishing the bulk of the material in three days. Jewish protests brought no results, although a group of journalists formed a commission to refute the Protocols. Cf. Nehama’s report dated Feb. 28, 1928, in AIU, I.G.3 file antisémitisme (1928–1932). 10.  Emmanuel claims he was trying to protect Jews. Gershon Agronsky, whom the Zion­ ist Congress sent to Salonika for information on the riot, reported that Leonides Papas, a baker, was shot by rioters for not joining the attack (NA 868.4016/59, citing the Jewish Daily Bulletin of July 8, 1931). The AIU report on the riots was submitted to the U.S. State Department (NA 868.4016/62). Nehama sent detailed reports to the AIU; cf. I.G.3 1909–1936, file 1932, covering 1928–1932/Salonique—la question juive. 11.  Full report citing the local press by Nehama, ibid. It appears that profits were partially behind the Makedonia campaign; circulation rose from three thousand or so to seventeen thousand. Finally the presiding judge had to intervene when the Jewish deputy from Salonika, Mentesch Bessantchi, was asked to explain the difference between Communists and Zionists. The judge answered for him: “la différence est fort simple: les communistes juifs veulent dépouiller les bourgeois sionistes” (cited from l’Indépendant, April 5, 1932). 12.  Emmanuel, Zikhron Saloniki, I, 225ff. 13.  AIU I.G.3, letter from AIU to Nehama dated Sept. 7, 1931. 14.  A detailed report on emigration was submitted to the Ministère des Affaires Etrangères in Paris by George Terver, the French consul in Salonika, on May 25, 1932. French consuls estimated the number in France already at twenty thousand. Inter alia, he lists figures for emigration to Palestine that were obtained from the Soviet Sovtorgflott, which apparently monopolized the route between Salonika and Palestine (MAE 1930–1940 Grèce 195 [325,1], 67ff). 15.  Cf. Hebrew memoirs of Barukh Ouziel in Salonique: Ville-Mère en Israël (JerusalemTel Aviv, 1967), 345–50; and S. Rekanati in Zikhron Saloniki, II (Tel Aviv, 1985–86), 434–44. 16.  See the Jewish Daily Bulletin for Monday, Oct. 13, 1930, p. 3, where it was announced in Salonika that the Greek government would establish five new schools for Jewish students who, as Greek citizens, could no longer attend foreign schools. The AIU schools were exempt from the legislation against foreign schools. Still, the AIU schools would be put under increasing pressure throughout the 1930s to increase the Greek component of the curriculum at the expense of the French. 17.  Cf. F. Elwyn Jones, Hitler’s Drive to the East (London, 1937), chapters 3–4; and ­Kofas, Authoritarianism in Greece (New York: Columbia University Press, 1983), chapter 8, especially pages 170–71. 18.  The role of Austrian tobacco combines in this process needs to be examined. Reportedly, many of the tobacco warehouses formerly in Jewish hands became Austrian during the postwar reorganization of Thrace.

Notes to Chapter Two 19.  Greece, to the contrary, had a balance of payments deficit with Britain of about £2 million in 1936 and nearly two-thirds that amount in 1937. Cf. John Koliopoulos, Greece and the British Connection 1935–1941 (London, 1977), 85. 20.  Ioannis Metaxas graduated from Berlin’s Kriegsakademie and remained pro-­German during World War I. 21.  Cf. Stefanos Sarafis, ELAS: Greek Resistance Army (London: Merlin Press, 1980 [1946]), 11–15. 22.  Cf. OSS R&N NO 2818, “British Policy Toward Greece 1941–1944,” dated Feb. 9, 1945; and Ambassador MacVeagh Reports, passim. Added to this was the increasing deficit trade balance; see Koliopoulos, note 19. 23.  Interview with Edgar Thomashausen, who directed the Athens Electric Company during the 1930s and through the war period. For some interesting insights on German book sales in Athens during the occupation, cf. Hermann Neubacher, Sonderauftrag Südost 1940–45 (Berlin-Frankfurt, 1956), 81. Cf. FO 286/1123/165, summarizing German Communist activities in Greece in 1934. 24.  Cf. USA, NA 868.4016/62. The Alliance reported that the EEE was modeled on Nazi youth organizations. 25.  Interview with Gottfried Merkel, who taught in Athens during the 1930s. He added that during the occupation the Nazis drafted Greek émigrés from Germany and Austria to serve as police in Greece. 26.  Namely, Col. Skylakakis, minister of the interior, and Kostas Kotzias, mayor of Athens. The police adopted some of the more innovative interrogation techniques of the Fascists and Nazis. 27.  Kofas, Authoritarianism in Greece, 131–32 details these developments. This explains the unique position that Maniadakis filled in the secret negotiations with Germany to end the Italian war in 1941, as recorded by Edgar Thomashausen. 28.  As reported to AIU by its Ioannina representative. 29.  Related by Michael Matsas, The Illusion of Safety (New York, 1997), 233, and other interviewees. In The Memoir of Liselotte Kahn (New York, 1996), 58, the wife of the prominent Athenian gynecologist Dr. Ernst Myller records her intervention over the exclusion of Jews (in particular her son) from EON. 30.  “Germans and Jews in Inter-war Greece” in The Jewish Communities of Southeastern Europe from the Fifteenth Century to the End of World War II (Thessaloniki, 1997), 75–86. 31.  In May he discussed with Eichmann possible use of vessels from the defunct Red Star Line (previously the Bernstein Line of Hamburg). 32.  CJDC, CCXXXIV-8, 17; Schlie, Wien to Hagen, Berlin June 3, 1939. His letter of June 6,1939 (ibid., 18) amplifies these negotiations, which he as go-between was committing to writing. Eichmann wanted to send the Jews to Shanghai or South America (which was becoming an unfeasible option); the Greek king having reorganized the army, it needed German or Czech arms for resupply and Schlie was in receipt of a shopping list. 33.  Ibid., 20, with emphasis added in Berlin. 34.  Unfortunately, Berlin sent (Theodor) Dannecker, who was “absolut unorientiert wegen Griechenland” (ibid., 22, letter of June 29, 1939). This may have affected Dannecker’s later assignment to Bulgaria instead of Greece in 1943. The two Greek officials returned to Athens via Belgrade and Budapest, where they engaged in further negotiations. 35.  Ibid., 25; cf. corollary documents on 23–24 and 26. The project was coded as Jüdische



Notes to Chapter Three Auswanderung auf griechischen Dampfern. The original list of weapons was returned to the Greeks while a photocopy remained in Berlin. Interestingly, Eichmann floated an exchange idea in Hungary in 1944. For the broader context, see Yehuda Bauer, Jews for Sale? NaziJewish Negotiations, 1933–1945 (New Haven, 1994), chap. 3, especially 49–50 and note 12. 36.  Walter Rathernau promoted expansion of the company into the Balkans before his assassination in 1922. 37.  Jewish passports were of course stamped with a J (for Jude). Edgar Thomashausen, who related these details, asked the German secretary in the Athens legation for a passport without the J; she, being sympathetic, supplied one with an Egyptian visa. Five of the refugees were hired by Thomashausen, who, when ordered by Berlin to fire them, helped them emigrate. See notes 42 and 43 and Chapter 9 for the contributions of the local Jewish communities. 38.  AIU, Grèce IV.E.54, Pitchon, Jan. 22, 1934. 39.  Thomashausen, who had just returned from Berlin, where he was a witness to some of the events, was on a tour of AEG regional offices when he was detained overnight in Ioannina with his Jewish agent, who invited him to the synagogue. 40.  The Ioannina community contributed 25,000 drachmas to the Athens committee for refugee relief in Greece; see the next note and Chapter 9. 41.  AJDC, New York, Greek file, 18–19; see Chapter 9 for detailed figures. Simon Levy of the Relief Committee contributed 38,500 drachmas, which compares to 185,000 drachmas contributed by Salonika. Some of the experiences of a German refugee in Athens are recounted in The Bird Has No Wings: Letters of Peter Schwiefert, ed. Claude Lanzmann (London, 1976): letters dated Mar. 28, 1940–Mar. 14, 1941. 42.  It is possible that the Greek government functioned on a number of as-yet-­unexplored levels, one of which was an attempt to take advantage of the “Jewish problem” in Europe to benefit Greece. Further research into Greek diplomacy and actions is a desideratum. 43.  Cf. John Bierman, Odyssey (London, 1984). They were well treated by the Italian authorities, who appreciated their various skills, including bootmaking. Only four were deported to Birkenau (see Chapter 5); most of the passengers left Rhodes at various times, survived the war, and resettled in Israel and the United States. For the earlier period (until spring 1941), the diary of Ben Zvi Kalischer, translated by Shalom Kramer as Baderekh le‑eretz yisrael (Tel Aviv, 1944–45), details the journey of the Pentcho, the vicissitudes of its 520 passengers, and their first months in Rhodes. The recently recovered Athens community archives are now available at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. RG-11.001 M49 Fond 1427 OPIS 1 Folders 5 (Pentcho) and 6 (SS Milos) contains 1940 correspondence between Czech refugees and the Jewish committee to aid refugees, including ship’s roster, receipts, letters. The SS manifest lists 708 passengers. 44.  YIVO. Record Group RG 207. Record of the Jewish Community of Salonica. Preliminary listing by Isaac Benmayor, Box #9 7.4.

Notes to Chapter Three 1.  Frizis fought in the Anatolian campaign (1922) and continued serving in the regular Greek army through the political purges of the 1920s and 1930s, attaining the rank of lieutenant colonel. Thus he was one of the few veteran line officers still in service at the onset of the Italian invasion.

Notes to Chapter Three 2.  During November 23–27, he forced a crossing, captured the bridge over the Parmati River, and engaged part of the Julia Division, taking two hundred prisoners. Cf. Simon Franses, “Towards a History of the Jews of Greece” (dissertation, Leo Baeck College, 1971), 86–87. The four are identified as Sgt. Daniel Elia Sasson, 2nd Lt. Chaim Jacob Saki, Solomon Yachbets, and Abraham Judah Cohen. A number of Ioannina Jews fought in Frizis’s company, five of whom were killed on the Albanian front. A statue to Frizis stands at Kalpaki, north of Ioannina, at the site commemorating the Greek counterattack. Lt. Col. Frizis was the highest-ranking Greek officer to die on the Albanian front. His heroism, which helped to save Greece, was crucial in the subsequent turn of battle and earned him the praise of the contemporary Greek press. Metaxas raised him posthumously to the rank of colonel and national hero, one of two soldiers so designated by the government. Metaxas wrote Frizis’s widow about his valor, proclaimed the nation’s gratitude, and even offered to raise her orphan sons within the framework of his youth movement, EON, which excluded Jews. 3.  All males were conscripted at age twenty-one and called up with their graduating class. Jewish cantors (hazanim) were deferred on condition they function in the synagogue for twenty years (cf. Isaac Cohen in Zikhron Saloniki, I, 577). Sons of multichildren families could serve as few as eight months (cf. Mosheh Ha-Elion, Mitsarei Sheol, Tel Aviv, 1992, 6; English version The Straits of Hell, Mannheim and Cincinnati, 2005). There were other deferments as well for Christians and religious minorities. In recent years, the official community numbers have come under criticism. See note 5. 4.  Errikos Sevillias, for example, served in the Third Division for three years and was released from the army in 1923. He was recalled in January 1941 and served until the end of the fighting. Cf. Sevillias, Athens-Auschwitz, translated and introduced by Nikos Stavroulakis (Athens, 1983), 3. His brother, 2nd Lt. Daniel Sevillias, was killed in October 1921; his war diary is in the Jewish Museum of Greece in Athens. Cf. Michael Molho, ed., Saloniki. Ir va-em be-Yisrael (in Hebrew; Jerusalem/Tel Aviv, 1967), 125. Hayyim Alvo (interview with author, June 1996) recalled one Edwin Saltiel from Salonika, who was a recruiter for the Greek army; a British subject, he also worked for British intelligence. 5.  Of these casualties, 1,412 were invalids and 862 partially incapacitated. Despite efforts of the Red Cross, they were deported to Auschwitz. Joseph Matsas records different figures: 4,000 battle veterans, 268 killed, and 138 mutilated. In his archives, he lists 223 dead and 109 missing in action, and in his 1982 lecture 268 dead in the 1940–41 fighting. The issue of Chronika (Nov.–Dec. 1993) lists 214 names. The question of numbers still remains to be resolved. 6.  William Langer, Encyclopedia of World History, sub Oct. 30, 1940, erroneously lists the arrival of 135 planes from Russia. The number of planes requested from the United States was thirty, and that request was bogged down in British-American negotiations preliminary to the Lend-Lease Act. Peter B. Lane recounts the sad story in detail in The United States and the Balkan Crisis of 1940–1941 (New York, 1988), chap. 3. 7.  Not less devastating was the British destruction of half the Italian fleet at anchor in Taranto on Nov. 13. On the role of Palestinian volunteers, see Rabbi L. Rabinowitz, Soldiers from Judea: Palestinian Units in the Middle East 1941–1943 (London, 1944) and Major-General Sir Howard Kipperberger, Infantry Brigadier (Hebrew translation by Menahem Abiram, Tel Aviv,1956, under the auspices of the Israeli Ministry of Defense), chapters 1–6, details the New Zealanders’ story.



Notes to Chapter Three 8.  He was tried for treason and collaboration after the war. Subsequent to Mussolini’s complaints at being excluded from the terms, a new armistice was arranged wherein the Greeks surrendered to the Italians, a face-saving device that impressed no one. 9.  Seven companies of Pioneers, averaging 300 men each, included 100 drivers, 200 with the RAF and other units, 440 port workers (mainly Salonikans), and about 25 in communications. Yoav Gelber produced a four-volume study (in Hebrew) of the Palestinian volunteers in the British war effort, Sefer Toldot ha-Hitnadvut (Jerusalem, 1979). See his English summary of the fate of the Palestinians in Greece, “Palestinian POWs in German Captivity,” Yad Vashem Studies, XIV (1981), 89–137. 10.  Cf. Christopher Shores, Brian Cull, et al., Air War for Yugoslavia, Greece and Crete 1940–1941 (London, 1987), 232ff, for a detailed description of that disaster. 11.  See the informative report of R. Lichtheim, “Minutes of Conversation with International Red Cross re Palestinian Prisoners in Greece,” of June 12, 1940 in CZA S25/4720. On May 1, 273 troops from Company 606 and 118 from Company 603 arrived from their sojourn in Milos, where their commandeered boat had broken down. After the arrival of another 23 from Company 601 and 45 escapees from the mainland, all were included in Pioneer Company 606. Of these, 285 arrived in Egypt in good condition; 5 were killed in a strafing attack and 60 wounded, and 100 were listed as missing in action. 12.  Cf. Moshe Weinberg, ed., Yomano shel Shlomo Kostika (Diary of Shlomo Kostika; Yad Tabenkin, 1968–69), 56–72; the diary (in Hebrew) is in the Haganah Archives (Tel Aviv), 801/128/1, covering 1939–40. 13.  See Franklin Lindsay, Beacons in the Night: With the OSS amid Tito’s Partisans in Wartime Yugoslavia (Stanford, 1993), 361, note to p. 49. 14.  Cf. Zeev Venia Hadari, Tsomet Kushta (Against All Odds: Istanbul 1942–1945, in Hebrew, Tel Aviv, 1992), 357ff. 15.  The escape from the mainland was effected on the Zakynthos, which evacuated the British colony. The king, of course, did not accompany the gold in his escape. Not all escapes, however, were so successful; cf. André Michalopoulos, Greek Fire (London, 1943), 19ff. The gold was subsequently transferred from the Bank of Egypt to Praetoria, South Africa. Levi, anti-Semitically identified as “the Jewish employee of the Bank of Greece,” was understandably accused by German-controlled Athens Radio of stealing the gold (Levi, in Chronika, Nov.–Dec., 1990, 4). My thanks to Michael Matsas for calling this autobiographical account to my attention; see now his Illusion of Safety, 17. 16.  Unpublished typescript. Captain Anzel’s typescript in Hebrew records inter alia the cloak-and-dagger atmosphere of the arrangements in Turkey. 17.  Cf. The Holocaust Odyssey of Daniel Bennahmias, Sonderkommando (University of Alabama Press, 1993), 17–18; and Chapter 8. Maniadakis’s order to restrain Jewish emigration from Salonika may have been partially connected with the possible evacuation to Athens of Jews who held Italian citizenship and were technically “enemy aliens.” 18.  After Fritz Todt died in February 1942, Albert Speer was appointed to head the ministry of arms and ammunition. At his suggestion to create a large work force, Hitler appointed Fritz Sauckel, one of his tough early supporters, as plenipotentiary for labor. The Salonika mobilization was ordered by General von Krenzki, the Wehrmacht commander for northern Greece and supervised by the SD. 19.  “Abschlussbericht über die Tätigkeit des Sonderkommandos Rosenberg in Griechen­ land” (Athens, Nov. 15, 1941). See Patricia Kennedy Grimsted, “Roads to Ratibor: Library

Notes to Chapter Three and Archival Plunder by the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg,” Holocaust and Genocide Studies, 19 (2005), 390–458, especially note 77. 20.  Miriam Novitch, Le passage des barbares (Nice, n.d.; Paris, 1967) cites a number of examples. Cf. Judith Humphrey in Los Muestros 13 (Dec. 1993), 12–13; and Humphrey’s “Glimpses of Jewish Life in Crete at the Turn of the Century,” Los Muestros 6 (Mar. 1992), 8. 21.  Marco Nahon, Birkenau: Camp of Death (English translation by Jacqueline Havaux Bowers and edited by Steven Bowman; University of Alabama Press, 1989), 18. 22.  Koretz had recently been appointed, along with Archbishop Gennadios, to head the local committee in Salonika of the Near East Foundation. The U. S. ambassador’s report for April 24, 1941, is worth citing here: “The Grand Rabbi of Salonica called during the afternoon, and I was able to get him a million drachmas for the Jewish soldiers now stranded here. The money comes from the 20,000,000 handed over to the Legation by the Vanderbilt Committee [The Administrative Committee of American Relief, headed by Henry Vanderbilt and Cleveland Dodge] for relief of Greek-Americans ‘or other charitable purposes.’ As the Jews at home have contributed some of the Vanderbilt money there is every reason why it should be used for their people in this great emergency. The Committee is also giving money to the Archbishop of Athens and the Greek Red Cross, but without our intervention (and immediate at that), I doubt if anyone will help the Jews. The Grand Rabbi impressed me very favorably, and has an excellent record in ­Salonica, according to a whole line of our consuls up there.” In Ambassador MacVeagh ­R eports: Greece, 1933–1947, ed. John O. Iatrides (Princeton University Press, 1980), 348. 23.  ELAS, 35–36. Sarafis was later the general of ELAS. A. Gerolymatos analyzed intraGreek army politics in Guerrilla Warfare and Espionage in Greece 1940–1944 (New York: Pella, 1992), passim. In his arresting novel Drifting Cities (Athens: Kédros, 1995), Stratis Tsirkas describes the plight of the Greeks under British command. 24.  The wholesale rape of Greece was necessitated by the exhaustion of the Germany economy. The American reporter Howard K. Smith, who left on The Last Train from Berlin (3rd ed., London, 1943), gave a most graphic description in his memoir. The subsequent robbery of the Jews was used as much to reward collaborators as to bring to the German masses much-needed consumer goods both during the initial confiscations and later from the more organized warehouses of the Kanada Kommando in the killing center of Birkenau. Rudolf Vrba argues this latter point in “The Role of Holocaust in German Economy and Military Strategy During 1941–1945,” reprinted as Appendix 5 (322–332) in 44070: The Conspiracy of the Twentieth Century, by Rudolf Vrba and Alan Bestic (Bellingham, WA: Star & Cross, 1989, a revised and expanded version of I Cannot Forgive, originally published London 1963 and New York 1964). 25.  My thanks to Judith Humphrey for supplying a copy of this document. She notes that there were two such orders, one from June 30 and a second dated July 1 (issued from Abt IVc). 26.  Copies of the laws for Belgium, Holland, and Luxemburg are available in the Institute for Jewish Policy Research, London. They appear to be standard issue. 27.  Dated Chania, Aug. 23 and 4 respectively, and signed by the 1A of Feldkommandantur 606 (Tagebuch Nr. 1c 1063/41 and 781/41 respectively); 781/41 of Aug. 4, 1941, called for lists of all Jews by Aug. 25; 1063/41 of Aug. 23, 1941, called for lists of Jewish shops and ordered they be marked. 1064/41 of Aug. 23, 1941, called for a list of “public servants” to be extracted from the list of all Jews. The list of Jewish shops was not inclusive; that of



Notes to Chapter Three Solomon Molho, who was a close relative of a parliamentary deputy, Jacques Ventura, was omitted; nonetheless he was subject to huge repeated communal fines. My thanks to Judith Humphrey for these local data, which she culled from interviews and from the Historical Archive of Crete, Archive of the German Occupation, File B’, Folder 11 (“Jews”). 28.  According to Laird Archer in Athens and Heinz Kounio in Salonika; interviews with Erika Kounio and her mother, Hella. 29.  As reported by Archer; many of the Philhellenes who wrote reports about the war in Greece found their tropes in Thucydides. 30.  One of the Palestinian soldiers left a moving description of the Jewish war-veteran amputees huddling in the shadow of the Athens synagogue; cf. Shivte Yisrael be-veit ha-nasi biyrushalayim (Tel Aviv, 1959), 252. 31.  The heroic perpetrators were identified as Manolis Glezos and Apostolos Santas. John Louis Hondros, Occupation and Resistance: The Greek Agony 1941–44 (New York, 1983), 96; Michalopoulos, Greek Fire, 105. 32.  Hondros, loc. cit.; Michalopoulos (106) broadcast the incident where some British POWs were ordered to scrub the streets of a poor quarter in Athens and the local women seized the brushes and pans to do it by themselves. A riot ensued, in which the Germans killed four Greeks. Prof. K. Nikolopoulos testified at the trial of Nicos Beloyannis in 1951 that the prostitutes shut their doors to Italians and Germans in 1941, but after four months some were forced by the famine to accommodate the conquerors (“Beloyannis. Le procès de la venté. Le procès de Nicos Beloyannis et de ses camarades devant le tribunal militaire d’exception d’Athènes 19 octobre–16 novembre 1951,” 83–84). 33.  Cf. Gerolymatos, Guerrilla Warfare, chap. 6. 34.  A former mayor of Berlin and trusted Nazi, Neubacher was appointed in fall 1942 as Reich Special Plenipotentiary for Economic and Financial Questions in Greece. Cf. ­Mazower, Inside Hitler’s Greece, 69–72. Thomashausen recalled his engaging character even in 1988. 35.  Cf. Frederick B. Chary, The Bulgarian Jews and the Final Solution, 1940–1944 (Pittsburg, 1972), chap. 2. 36.  Cf. André Kédros, La résistance grecque 1940–1944 (Paris, 1966), 93ff; and Hondros, Occupation and Resistance, 68. See too Xanthippi Kotzageorgi and Georgios A. Kazamias, “The Bulgarian Occupation of the Prefecture of Drama (1941–1944) and Its Consequences on the Greek Population,” Balkan Studies 35–36 (1994–95), 81–109. 37.  As recalled by Nahon in Birkenau. 38.  Bulgarian citizenship was extended to the new territory by decree on June 9, 1942. In 1972, I saw several cabinets in the synagogue in Kavalla that contained Bulgarian files on each member of the community. These files were subsequently transferred to Israel, and more recently the synagogue building was sold to the Greek community. 39.  Mois Pessah, the last president of the Jewish community of Kavalla, related his experience to me in 1972. 40.  Rene Burckhardt’s report of a visit to Serres, Feb. 4, 1943, in Geneva, ICRC, G3/27c/11. 41.  Ibid. (dated Feb. 10, 1943) lists: 200 grams of corn bread six times a week as opposed to 300 grams of wheat bread six times a week; 250 grams of potatoes once a week as opposed to one kilo; 50 grams of oil once a week as opposed to 250 grams; 200 grams of sugar once a month as opposed to one kilo. Greeks and Jews were not issued ration coupons for shoes and clothing.

Notes to Chapter Three 42.  Note pour M. Brunel 15.3.43; ibid., G3/27c. 43.  Reportedly at least fifteen hundred Jews had fled Thrace since the German conquest. Figures for Macedonia have not been calculated; cf. Chary, Bulgarian Jews, chap. 4. 44.  This is the basic argument of Matarrasso, Ki omos oloi tous den pethanan [And All of Them Did Not Die] (Athens, 1948, transl. Isaac Benmayor in The Holocaust in Salonika: Eyewitness Accounts, ed. by Steven Bowman (New York, 2002). 45.  Routes of Hell, ed. Shmuel Refael (Tel Aviv, 1988), 47 (in Hebrew). 46.  Swiss Red Cross files are located in the State Archives in Bern, Switzerland. 47.  Miriam Novitch, “Le passage des barbares,” recorded the memoir of Jacques Revah in 1959. 48.  Only five of these individuals survived the deportation to the concentration camps. 49.  Many of these supplies were purchased with Joint money; see Chapter 9. 50.  A detailed description of that day was presented at the Eichmann trial in Jerusalem by Itzhak Nechama in The Trial of Adolf Eichmann, vol. II, Jerusalem, 1992, 851ff. See Jean-Claude Favez, The Red Cross and the Holocaust (Cambridge University Press, 1999), 168–71. 51.  Geneva, CICR, G3/27c Pieces Rapportées par M. René Burkhardt, Oct. 28, 1942. 52.  Ibid., dated Oct. 14, 1942, at 4:00 p.m. His use of the term deportations is noteworthy for this date. 53.  Op. cit., 854. A detailed account of the period July 1942 to February 1943 is available in Yomtov Yacoel, “In the Anteroom to Hell” (translated by Isaac Benmayor) in The Holocaust in Salonika: Eyewitness Accounts; see 58–62 for the end of forced labor. 54.  Asher Moissis blames the military governor of Macedonia, Simonides, for first suggesting this idea (YVA E/1187). Henry Levy names two engineers of Thessaloniki who represented the city council (memoir in Yale University Holocaust Archive, copy supplied to author by Robert Bedford). 55.  Personal interview. 56.  Hondros, Occupation and Resistance, 76–77, ignores the Jewish labor force in the city, as do other historians. 57.  Cf. summary in Hondros, Occupation and Resistance, 76–77, and Mazower, Inside Hitler’s Greece, 74–75. 58.  Vienna, DöW, Brunner File 19061. 59.  According to Greeks, the walkout of the civil workers in April 1942 against Nazi policies was the first such strike in occupied Europe. The workers of Rotterdam, however, went out in general strike in February 1941; 750 Dutch Jewish workers were subsequently sent to Buchenwald (cf. The Buchenwald Report, trans. David A. Hackett, Boulder, Colorado, 1995, 110). 60.  See Chapter 8. A plaque commemorating Tiano was recently hung in the U.S. Consulate in Salonika; cf. Alexander Kitroeff, War-Time Jews: The Case of Athens (Athens, 1995), 117. Joseph Matsas, “The Participation of the Greek Jews in the National Resistance, 1940–1944,” JHD 17 (1991), 64. Indeed, the German argument to Koretz to justify the first deportation from Baron Hirsch was that its inhabitants were low-class and Communists. Obviously, they did not check for those holding Spanish passports and other middle-class Greeks such as the Kounio family, who were among the first to be deported. 61.  Cf. Burkhardt’s observations cited in Cincinnati Judaica Review, IV (1994), 6–7; reprinted in Thetis 3 (1996).



Notes to Chapter Four 62.  See Philip Friedman, Roads to Extinction. Essays on the Holocaust, ed. Ada Jane Friedman (New York and Philadelphia, 1980), 251–57 and passim. 63.  Novelized by Maurice Politi, Parverei Atunah (Tel Aviv, 1959), translated from the French, Les Faubourgs d’Athènes (Paris, 1954). 64.  Cf. Kédros, Résistance grecque, passim. 65.  The indifference, if not collaboration, of officials was recently treated by Andrew Apostolou, “ ‘ The Exception of Salonika’: Bystanders and Collaborators in Northern Greece,” Holocaust and Genocide Studies, 14 (2000), 165–196. Even where occupation authorities were more lenient in Athens, there was little that sympathetic officials could do. See Chapters 4 and 8. 66.  The files of the French Consul to Salonika are located in the MEA diplomatic archives in Nantes, France, where I discovered them in 1988 still unopened in their original bindings. 67.  The term Greek is used in two senses: the traditional religious meaning of Greek Orthodox, that is, one who speaks Greek and is an Orthodox Christian; and the new national meaning of a citizen of Greece, which would include Orthodox and non-Orthodox Christians, Jews, and Muslims. In the popular language of the population, “Greek” usually signified a Christian, while in the formal language of government the more encompassing “national” sense was meant. In eastern Europe, the Jewish use of the term Greek referred to adherents of the Russian or Greek Orthodox churches. The same distinction should be applied to the term Turk in neighboring Turkey. There the popular religious usage is emphasized in the Jewish designation of the Dönme (a seventeenth-century sect of Jews who had converted to Islam for messianic reasons) as Turks, and the Muslim designation of them as Jews. To keep the religious and national usages of these terms distinct is a burden for the modern reader that is not alleviated by randomness of usage in the sources.

Notes to Chapter Four 1.  Hitler’s attempt to defend Sicily via Tunisia resulted in a loss of 250,000 frontline troops in North Africa and later even more in Sicily itself. 2.  The Greek Resistance began to attract more fighters during this period in the wake of increasing reprisals. See Chapter 8. 3.  Gerhard Engel, Heeresadjutant bei Hitler, 1938–1943 (Stuggart, 1976), 111. 4.  Translation and commentary to follow from Browning’s testimony available on line as David Irving, Hitler and Holocaust denial: electronic edition, by Richard J. Evans. http:// Keitel’s order has not been identified. 5.  The question of numbers of Greek Jews is still not resolved. See my Agony of Greek Jews, Appendix; Hagen Fleischer has devoted considerable effort to this question in his essay “Greek Jewry and Nazi Germany,” Les Juifs en Grèce: Questions d’histoire dans la longue durée (Athens, 1999), 194–95 and bibliography cited in 185, note 1; preliminary figures are available in my “Jews in Wartime Greece,” Jewish Social Studies (Winter 1986):46–62; reprinted in Robert Marrus, ed., The Nazi Holocaust, vol. IV (1990). 6.  It is important to note that Rabbi Koretz returned to Salonika in January 1942 and served solely in his capacity as chief rabbi until the December appointment to the presidency. The combination of the communal and religious spheres in the hands of one man was a common Nazi procedure.

Notes to Chapter Four 7.  It would seem that the consul general in Salonika considered this to be the reason for the deportations. A communication to the Foreign Ministry dated March 15, 1943, states: “The relevant German departments point out that the purpose of the transfer, to protect the German-occupied northern Greek territory, would not be attained if the non-Greek Jews were to remain there.” (Emphasis reflects corrected reading by court; cf. The Trial of Adolf Eichmann, 1496; exhibit T/971, document No. 1004.) The complete document is in Irith Dublon-Knebel, German Foreign Office Documents on the Holocaust in Greece (1937–1944) (Tel Aviv, 2007), 120–122 (English), 321-322 (German). The issue here is the problem of the Jews with foreign citizenship, primarily Spanish and Italian. Salonika’s reputation as a Jewish center was well known in Berlin; cf. Nuremburg Trial, Blue Series, PS 071, Rosenberg to Bormann, dated Apr. 23, 1941: “Auch wohl in Saloniki, eingesetzt werden, eines der grössten Jüdischen zentren, wie Sie wissen.” 8.  Internal Bulgarian politics and the imminent advance of the Soviet army combined to negate any action against the remaining eight thousand. 9.  Cf. Sudosteuropa Wochenbericht, Nr. 158 sub May 5, 1942. 10.  Saby Pelossof, Jules Naar, Alberto Benveniste, Solomon Ouziel, Alberto Chenio, and Isaac Angel. The later two refused to be on the committee and so Benito Angel was coopted. 11.  See Heydrich’s Schnellbrief of Sept. 21, 1939, “The Jewish Question in the Occupied Territory,” in Nazi Conspiracy and Aggression VI, 97–101; cf. Friedman, Roads to Extinction, 539–53 and passim. The politics of the period are detailed in Yomtov Yacoel’s report in The Holocaust in Salonika: Eyewitness Accounts (New York, 2002). 12.  Albala would rule the Baron Hirsch Ghetto during March and April with a savage hand. After Rabbi Koretz was interned in the Hirsch Ghetto in April, Albala became the new president of the community on April 12, turning over control of the ghetto police to his henchman Vital Hasson. Koretz and Albala would continue their feud in Bergen-Belsen after the deportation of the Judenrat in June 1943. Cf. Carpi, Italian Diplomatic Documents on the History of the Holocaust in Greece 1941–1943 (Tel Aviv, 1999), 45 and Arie Koretz, ­Yomano shel Na’ar (Journal of a Youth, Nov. 7, 1944–Mar. 30, 1945; Tel Aviv: privately printed, 1992). 13.  My source is the late Rabbi I. O. Lehman, a respected scholar in Oxford and Cincinnati. His observations only confirm what I have gathered from conversations with other individuals. The report of Joseph Crispin (CZA S25/7852) records a few discomforting impressions, including the rabbi’s demand for reimbursement for wages and an outfit lost during his rescue and internment in the Baron Hirsch ghetto in early April. 14.  For that matter, neither did the German Jews in general and the faculty of the Hochschule led by Leo Baeck in particular. The major exception was Ismar Elbogen, who deliberately left Germany, perhaps persuaded by his vast historical knowledge and experience that the end was coming for German Jewry. It is amazing, in hindsight, that so few did leave even when they had the opportunity. Baeck reportedly deliberately chose to stay to serve the community that remained in Germany, as did Zvi Koretz in Salonika, who was urged by colleagues in Jerusalem to escape to Palestine and accept a position there. 15.  See Chapter 9 for the circumstances of Koretz’s appointment. Part of the Salonika rabbinical archive has been recovered from Moscow and returned to Salonika; copies are available at the Diaspora Institute of Tel Aviv University and the U. S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. See Minna Rozen, “Jews and Greeks Remember the Past: The Political Career of



Notes to Chapter Four Tsevi Koretz (1933–1943),” in Jewish Social Studies: History, Culture, Society, n.s. 12, no. 1 (Fall 2005), 111–66. 16.  For the Vienna imprisonment, cf. H. Gottlieb, Hamaphteah lesha’ar hagadol [The Key to the Main Gate] (Tel Aviv, 1950), a story originally written in Serbo-Croatian and based on Gottlieb’s experience in a Gestapo cell in Vienna. Inter alia, he describes one of his cellmates as the chief rabbi of Salonika, an expert in Oriental philosophy. This is the only notice that has come to my attention regarding Koretz’s imprisonment. My thanks to Arie Koretz for these references. 17.  Holocaust in Salonika. Eyewitness Accounts, 33. 18.  Wisliceny’s report to Merten on the chief rabbi’s intervention with Rallis can be found in CDJC CDXLVIII-34, dated Apr. 15, 1943. Informed by Wisliceny and Brunner on April 5 that the deportations would continue, he sought meetings with a Dr. Panos, Governor General Simonides, and Metropolitan Germanos (Gennadios was the metropolitan of Salonika; perhaps Wisliceny’s memory failed him on this point) to arrange for an audience with Prime Minister Rallis during his intended visit to Saloniki on April 11. Arrested for this act, he was interrogated, confined with his family, and sentenced to deportation to Theresienstadt with other “prominent Jews”; the destination of this group, however, was to be the new camp at Bergen-Belsen, where they were held for potential exchange. 19.  Moreover, Koretz represented the reformed Judaism of the modern Central European type that was antithetical to the traditional Sephardi traditions of Salonika. Cf. Haïm Vidal Séphiha, “Salonique: Pessah 1942, ce pain fois de misère,” Los Muestros (Brussels), Apr. 10, 1993, 29, which cites in French translation the notice (in Judeo-Spanish) that Rabbi Koretz issued to deal with the lack of matzoth for Passover 1942. This notice should be compared with similar measures taken by the then chief rabbi after the great fire of 1917. One should also note the appearance in 1941 of a new prayerbook, Siddur Sha’are Tephilah, issued under the auspices of “Torah umlakhah” (a benevolent society established in 1911) whose preface thanks the chief rabbi, who no doubt contributed his expertise as well as imprimatur to the volume. (It is noteworthy that Koretz’s name does not appear in the revised edition.) 20.  Attempts to compare his actions to those of Rabbis Pessach of Volos and Barzilai of Athens are, in retrospect, unsuccessful if not misleading, once the full circumstances of the actions of these two are analyzed. See Chapter 8. 21.  Cf. memoir of Hella Cougno (Kounio) in Novitch, Passage. For the date of their arrival in Salonika, see Molho-Nehama, Shoat Yehudei Yavan [The Destruction of Greek Jewry 1941–1945] (Jerusalem, 1965), 60. The first order (photo no. 5 in ibid., following 64) issued by the Sonderkommando is dated February 6, 1942, and is signed by Merten. Daniel Carpi questioned the proximity of their arrival and the publication of the first order, a coincidence that can perhaps be resolved by a scenario in which their arrival, settlement in their new headquarters, and summoning of Merten to present their credentials included transfer to him of the decrees already drawn up in Eichmann’s office before they left (Daniel Carpi, “A New Approach to Some Episodes in the History of the Jews in Salonika During the Holocaust: Memory, Myth, Documentation,” in The Last Ottoman Century and Beyond: The Jews in Turkey and the Balkans 1808–1945, vol. II, ed. Minna Rozen, Tel Aviv University, 2002, 263 n. 9). Koretz was handed the decree on February 8 when he appeared as ordered at the SD Sonderkommando. For details on its administrative organization and activities, see Paul Isaac Hagouel, “History of the Jews of Thessaloniki and the Holocaust,” 11–14 [http://].

Notes to Chapter Four 22.  Papanaoum’s younger brother, on the other hand, was friendly with Jews and consequently at odds with his brother; cf. Joseph Crispin’s essay (in English, dated July 15, 1944) in CZA S25/7852, 7. 23.  See Chapter 3. 24.  Cf. Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews (New York, 1961), 443ff. and Carpi, “New Approach,” 263 and notes. 25.  Cf. Wisliceny’s report in Trials of the Major War Criminals, IV, 363. 26.  Escapees already made the charge during the war, and he was so listed in Zionist reports on Greece. The study by Molho and Nehama (In Memoriam) and two subsequent memorial volumes edited by Molho and Rekanati and published in Israel castigate his memory and career. Rabbi Koretz’s son Arie, currently a lawyer in Tel Aviv, showed me a letter written by Rabbi Molho (then in Buenos Aires) to his mother in which he acknowledges that his judgment of her husband was prejudiced by an immediate postwar passion for vengeance. In retrospect, he had become more sympathetic to the rabbi’s wartime career. See comments by Yomtov Yacoel in Holocaust in Salonika. 27.  In Memoriam. 28.  This made Koretz responsible for the ghettoization in Salonika of the smaller communities in the German zone of occupation. It was standard Nazi procedure to concentrate local Jews in the main ghetto. 29.  Wisliceny signed for the “Aussenstelle der Sicherheitspolizei und des SS in Salonika IVB4.” In the decree of February 12, 1943, he signed for the “Aussenstelle der Sipo und des SD in Saloniki.” 30.  The Jewish community and its institutions were reorganized in 1941 under the presidency of Saltiel. For the new constitution, see Holocaust in Salonika, appendix. The alternating signatures on these orders suggest diplomatic negotiations that are at present undocumented. 31.  Recalled for the author by Yeti Mitrani. 32.  Cf. In Memoriam, 87–88. 33.  Such was the reputation of the areas filled by Ashkenazi refugees since before World War I. The term Ashkenazi designated a pimp, according to Ben Gurion; see Chapter 2. 34.  For the fate of the SS man who terrorized the ghetto, see S. Bowman, Jewish Resistance in Wartime Greece (London, 2006), 24. A map of the ghetto is in Yad Vashem Archives (E/1147). The enclosed houses occupied 22,358 square meters and the streets another 16,742, a total of 39,100 square meters. It extended three blocks north from Sappho Street to Genitsos Street, both of which were patrolled by mobile guard units) south of Sappho Street to Anatenneseos Street (including the Sappho Market) and east for eight blocks from Sappho Alley to P.I.K. Street. 35.  Personal interview. 36.  In accordance with the order of February 6 and under the authority of the order of February 13. 37.  Cf. memoirs of Jacques Revah and Isaac Aruh (no. 124338, previously treasurer of the “Matanoth le-evionim”), in Novitch, Passage. The Joint supplied funds for the ICRC shipments, and Burkhardt, in our interview, asserted that the ICRC shipments were distributed according to need among the inhabitants of Salonika. See Chapter 9 for the problems this policy caused him with the Nazi officials. 38.  In A Macabre Song (Paris, 1985), Elias Petropoulos recalls (perhaps anachronistically)



Notes to Chapter Four already in 1942 his “compatriots saying to their Jewish fellow townsmen: ‘The Germans are going to make soap out of you!’ ” To answer his query how the rumors could have reached Salonika, Greek (volunteer) workers returning from Germany could have brought back the rumors, while German officers and some troops on R&R from Russia were fully aware of the massacres of Jews on the Eastern Front. Also, German civilians in Greece heard rumors while on visits to their families. The masses knew far more than official documents, labeled Geheim (secret), would suggest. The reference to soap, however, may well be anachronistic for spring 1943. 39.  Ibid., 15. “Damn the Germans / who killed all the Kikes / and sent them to Krakow / to die of hunger . . . / and sent them to Poland / to die all alone.” 40.  Rhodes differed, however, as we shall see. 41.  Kazimierz Moczarski recorded Stroop’s recollection of his brief Greek sojourn in Conversations with an Executioner, ed. Mariana Fitzpatrick (Upper Saddle River, NJ, 1981), 190–96. 42.  ESPO (National Socialist Patriotic Organization) attacked the synagogue on June 20 and July 14, 1942, and confiscated the records the community had assembled since the Nazi raid on the community archives in 1941. Barzilai sent for the Italian police to protect the synagogue from ESPO’s threat to burn it. On Sept. 22, 1942, a PEAN (predecessor of EAM’s youth wing EPON) bomb destroyed the offices of ESPO, killing seventy-three and wounding thirty-two Greeks and Germans; the head of ESPO, Sterodimos, soon died of his wounds. German pressure on the Italian authorities led to the arrest and incarceration of nine Jewish leaders, who were released after twenty days following an Italian investigation of the incident. Cf. In Memoriam, 176–77; Kédros, Résistance grecque, 183ff gives a detailed account of the destruction of the ESPO headquarters in the center of Athens (Patission and Gladstone Streets); cf. A. Gerolymatos, Guerrilla Warfare, 280, and notes there. 43.  See Chapter 8 for a comparative analysis of the sources on this adventure. 44.  See Chapter 8. 45.  Haganah Archives, CMF. Yavan, dated Athens Sept. 21, 1943. Letter or telegram is in English. An earlier letter in the file dated 14 Av 5743 (Aug. 15, 1943) in prayer book Hebrew recaps the fate of the Salonika Jews: fifty-three thousand exiled and “we fear that only some 20% will reach their destination alive.” The letter praises “our fellow Greeks in Athens, including all the organizations and at their head the Archbishop, [who] consistently stood by us during our harrowing days and did all they could to come to our aid.” 46.  See Chapter 9 and my Jewish Resistance, chap. 3. For another version of this rescue program, see Tuvia Friling, “Between Friendly and Hostile Neutrality: Turkey and the Jews During World War II,” The Jews in Turkey and the Balkans 1808–1945, 407–16. 47.  In January 1944, Sciaki was succeeded as president by Kabelli; In Memoriam, 190–91. Kabelli never overcame the charge of collaboration and died in New York during the 1980s. 48.  On October 10, a call by EAM to assist the Jews appeared in its underground newspaper Rizospastis (cf. Kitroeff, War-Time Jews, 64; cf. 103ff for Stroop’s order dated Oct. 2, 1943). The order called for Greek Jews and Jews of foreign citizenship to report separately. 49.  During his interrogation by the Americans, Stroop admitted that he was responsible for the official actions of the Greek prime minister and his chief of security. He also reorganized Greece in nine police districts and used the Greek police, one German police artillery battalion, and a police regiment (number 18) for security. Each district was under a German police officer. Stroop could also call on the Wehrmacht for assistance. Hitler reap-

Notes to Chapter Four pointed Stroop as HSSPF Rhein-Westmark on October 23; Brigadierführer Schimana replaced Stroop (YVA M-9/242). Later in 1949, a cellmate, Kazimierz Moczarski, interviewed Stroop; see note 41. 50.  See Sevillias, Athens-Auschwitz. For a family that was not registered and so escaped arrest, see Eftihia Nachmias Nachman, Yannina: A Journey to the Past, ed. by Marcia Haddad Ikonomopoulos and Isaac Dostis (New York: Bolch, 2004). 51.  For a non-Jewish perspective on Haidari, cf. Mary Henderson, Xenia—A Memoir: Greece 1919–1949 (London, 1988). A number of survivors recorded their testimony about conditions in Haidari for the Nuremburg trials. 52.  See Chapter 7 for the fate of this clan. 53.  Another thirty-two Jews of Chalkis were captured during raids in the following month and deported on subsequent convoys. For the rescue of Jews via Euboea, see S. Bowman, “Evvia Portage: The Jews, ELAS and the Allies in Evvia, 1943–1944,” in K AMPOS: Cambridge Papers in Modern Greek, no. 11 (2003), 1–24; and the expanded Hebrew version in Dapim leheker hashoah (2005). 54.  The experiences of the latter in the mountains, recorded by Michael Matsas in his ­Illusion of Safety, summarize the difficulties of urban Jews hiding in the rock-poor mountains of rural Greece. 55.  Personal interview, Mar. 1997. He noted that the rabbi supported the Revisionist Zionists, who were considered right-wing nationalists. 56.  For Kastoria, cf. Berry Nahmias, Ze’akah Lemahar 76859 [Outcry for Tomorrow] (Tel Aviv, n.d. [1990–91]). 57.  EDES, under the leadership of Napoleon Zervas, was not a mass movement like the EAM/ELAS of Central Greece under the leadership of Aris Velouchiotis and later Stefanos Sarafis. It was a small band of Republican officers, Cretans and other veterans, and British agents more interested in countering ELAS than in fighting the Germans. Only a handful of Jews were connected with EDES, among them several physicians. See Bowman, Jewish Resistance. 58.  According to NOKW-1994 (Report of Counter Intelligence Squad 377), Moses ­Kofinas and several Jews (Dr. Erikos Lewis [! actually Levi], the merchants Saimos Koen and Leon Mordekai) were arrested in a mass roundup of suspected Communists in the predawn of Feb. 24, 1944, and interrogated until March 3. 59.  Cited in Matsas, Illusion of Safety, 198. Dimitris Hatzis’s short story about “­Sabethai Cabilli” is a literary memoir that is somewhat exaggerated in terms of the historical reality (cf. The End of Our Small Town, trans. David Vere, Birmingham, 1995, 32–57. 60.  They were suspected of converting air-dropped dollars to drachmas, cf. Robert Herz­stein, Waldheim: The Missing Years (New York, 1988), 100–101. Heinz Richter makes the argument that General Lanz absolutely refused to carry out SS orders to deport the Jews in fall 1943 and so the deportation was delayed until Lanz left with his staff for Hungary and was absent during Mar.–Apr. 1944. Cf. his comments in Thetis 2 (1995), 325 and his article “General Lanz, Napoleon Zervas und die britischen Verbindungsoffiziere,” Militärgeschicht­ liche Mitteilungen 1 (1989), 113. There are a number of accounts of regular army clashes with the SS, not all as successful as Lanz’s. 61.  See Stroop’s comments above, note 44. Cf. Mark Mazower, Inside Hitler’s Greece, 253. Document in P. K. Enepekides, Die Juden-Verfolgungen in Griechenland 1941–1944. Auf ­G rund der Geheimakten der SS (Athens, 1969), 154ff (in Greek). There Hafranek is described



Notes to Chapter Four as a lieutenant colonel. Persistent postwar witness, summarized by Michael ­Matsas in Illusion of Safety, to the presence of an intelligence officer Lt. Kurt Waldheim, have not been substantiated by documents. At the same time, however, there was an increase in German counterintelligence in Ioannina and Corfu during spring 1944 that required opening an Ic (Intelligence) office in Ioannina (report dated Apr. 25, 1944; cf. Mazower, 164). Hence, if Waldheim (Ic/AO) were indeed in Ioannina or Larissa during this period, a record may yet be found, although the researches of Herzstein and Mazower have not been successful in placing him in Ioannina during this period (see Herzstein, 100). 62.  The confiscated treasure in the warehouse fell into the hands of ELAS, which allegedly transported it to Albania to finance the civil war. The mayor of Ioannina, according to Joseph Matsas, requested the community Torah scrolls from the German commander and returned them to survivors after the war. 63.  Interviews with Yeti Mitrani and her mother Lily Sciaki, see Chapter 8. 64.  Judith Humphrey wrote several articles on the fate of Cretan Jews in the Bulletin of Judaeo-Greek Studies and has graciously shared her insights. Her nearly exhaustive research in British, German, and Greek documents, only partially published, seems to rule out any other cause than a British torpedo. Edgar Thomashausen recalled being told at a cocktail party that night by a German officer that the ship was lost in a storm. 65.  Herzstein, 124; and Mazower, 253. 66.  As noted by Jonathan Steinberg in All or Nothing, 175. 67.  NOKW-1915, dated May 14, 1944; Enepekides, 163; summary in Mazower, 254. 68.  Incident recorded in Mazower, 254, which amplifies and corrects what was reported by Molho and Nehama, In Memoriam, 228. 69.  From the Hebrew translation in Molho and Nehama, The Destruction of Greek Jewry 1941–1944 (Jerusalem: Yad Vashem, 1965), 166. 70.  The many units generically called 999 Strafbattalions were made up of prisoners who “volunteered” for the honor of dying in battle rather than remaining in concentration camps or in prison. The units served on all fronts and were forbidden to retreat. 71.  The panegyric of Molho and Nehama, In Memoriam, 229–30, is more accurate than hyperbolic in the case of Zante (Zakynthos). A recent memoir is Dionysios Strabolemos, Enas Iroïsmos—Mia Dikaiosi (Athens, 1988); my thanks to Judith Humphrey for the reference. 72.  According to Kommandant Ost-Ägäis Kriegstagebuch Nr. 4 [RH 26–1007/13]. s.d. July 23 and 24, 1944. Erwin Lenz, one of the 999 Battalion troops, describes the ­R hodes deportation in NOKW-1715 (reproduced in Michel Mazor, Le phénomène nazi (Paris, 1957), 91–92. One Czech Beitar family of four was included among the Rhodes Jews. A tragic experience is reported by Walter Eytan (then called Ettinghausen) when he served at Bletchley Park as a decoder and translator: “I may be the only one who will recall a peculiarly poignant moment when in late 1943 or early 1944 [actually mid-1944] we intercepted a signal from a small German-commissioned vessel in the Aegean, reporting it was transporting Jews, I think from Rhodes or Kos, en route for Piraeus zur Endlösung (‘for the final solution’). I had never seen or heard this expression before, but instinctively I knew what it must mean, and I have never forgotten that moment. . . . It left its mark—down to the present day.” Cited in Code Breakers: The Inside Story of Bletchley Park, F. H. Hinsley and Alan Stripp, eds. (Oxford University Press, 2001), 60. My thanks to Arnold Franco for this reference. 73.  “Breve cenno sulla deportazione della colonia ebraica di Rodi,” dated May 23, 1945,

Notes to Chapter Five is in the Haganah Archives accompanied by a Hebrew translation. The compiler of the report writes from personal experience (he had been living in Rhodes since 1936) and from interviews with Greeks and Italians throughout the island. His report is the most detailed contemporary account of the deportation process. 74.  Including Mois Soriano, whose memoir can be read in Raul Hilberg, Documents of Destruction. Ultimately thirty-nine individuals were saved through his efforts. Molho and Nehama, In Memoriam, 232, count forty-seven Jews who had their Turkish citizenship honored. It was not until the 1990s that Yad Vashem honored Salahattin Ulkumen for his efforts to save Jews. 75.  These Jews had not evacuated during the British invasion of September 1943, and only a few availed themselves of the opportunity to escape to Turkey, which is almost near enough to swim. Cf. S. Bowman, “Could the Dodekanesi Jews Have Been Saved?” Newsletter of the Jewish Museum of Greece 26 (Winter 1989), 1–2. 76.  In the World Jewish Congress (WJC) papers now housed at Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati is a list of all the property, apparently a copy of the master register made by the Italians at this time. It was forwarded to the WJC after the war, presumably as part of war claims procedures. 77.  Merolle concludes his account with his marriage, following her release from prison, to the Sephardi woman for whom he had secured, through his Italian contacts, false identification papers.

Notes to Chapter Five 1.  Crete, of course, had been under German administration since its conquest, except for its easternmost province, which the Italians controlled. It is listed here, together with the Italian-occupied areas, reflecting the date (May–June 1944) of the deportations. 2.  See Chapter 4 for background. The Jews of Thrace arrived during the period of the dismantling of Treblinka, which had been but recently ordered by Himmler during his tour of the headquarters of Operation Reinhard and its operational camps (Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka); cf. Nazi Mass Murder, edited by Eugen Kogon, Hermann Langbein, and Adalbert Rückerl (Yale University Press, 1993), 136. On Operation Reinhard, cf. Encyclopedia of the Holocaust, s.v.; and the more detailed monograph of Yitzhak Arad, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka: The Operation Reinhard Death Camps (Bloomington, 1987). 3.  See Arad, Belzec, 143–46. 4.  There is a persistent rumor that some of the barges containing Jews were sunk in the Danube. 5.  See Tzetlan Todorov’s apologia in his The Frailty of Goodness: Why Bulgaria’s Jews Survived the Holocaust (Princeton, 1999) and Omar Bartov’s review essay in the New Republic (Aug. 13, 2001), 33–38. 6.  See Nahon, Birkenau. For the simple story of a young girl named Innes who escaped via Turkey to Palestine, see Braha Chabbas, Rescued Children [Palestine Pioneer Library] (Tel Aviv, n.d.), 3–7. 7.  Merten was tried in Salonika in 1959, but no resolution to the missing funds was forthcoming. For the actual deportation figures, see text following note 31 and discussion in the Appendix.



Notes to Chapter Five 8.  Auschwitz Chronicle 1939–1945 (London and New York, 1990). Her earlier research on Greek Jewry was published in Hefte von Auschwitz, II (1970), 5–37, now available in her comprehensive report to the Jewish Community of Salonika, “Griechische Juden im KL Auschwitz” (in Greek and German), typescript. My thanks to the late Albertos Nar for a copy of this typescript. 9.  Matarasso, Ki omos, includes a list of statistics supplied by the directorate of state railways to the Jewish Community of Salonika on January 29, 1945 (see Bowman, Holocaust in Salonika, 173). In several instances, the number of deportees (for which the community was charged) does not coincide with the numbers reported by Danuta Czech. Given her research and the fact that the “official list” seems to be limited to Salonikan Jews, I tend to rely on her figures (cf. Appendix in this book). For the first transport, the list counts twenty-four hundred Jews. The first question is how accurate these figures are. The second is how many died en route and if their bodies were removed from the train. Such information would support Czech’s figures for those gassed and burned on arrival. 10.  Cf. Miriam Novitch, Le passage des barbares, 10. 11.  The numbering follows the pioneering German article of Danuta Czech. One of the camp physicians performed the selection process on arrival: healthy young males and females (the latter not visibly pregnant or accompanied by children) were separated for entry into the camp. Their number varied with the camp needs at the moment of arrival. The remainder were sent to the crematoria either on foot or by “Red Cross” vehicle. 12.  The State Museum at Auschwitz contains the artificial limbs of the Greek Jews, according to Miriam Novitch (oral communication). 13.  Ezisa ton Thanaton (Thessaloniki, 1981), translated by Marcia Haddad Ikonomopoulos as A Liter of Soup and Sixty Grams of Bread (New York, 2003). 14.  Ibid., 26 (English version, 13). 15.  Reproduced ibid., 203. Kounio may have been the young man in the story related by Mordekhai Tsirulnitsky in The Black Book (see note 40), 495, who asked in German why the women were being separated. Kounio was born in Karlsbad, from where his mother, Hella (Stella), emigrated to Salonika with her husband, Salvator. 16.  Czech, Auschwitz Chronicle, 403. Various prisoners were sent to Block 11 for minor offences and periodically shot in batches. 17.  The list of 436 Salonikan women who were sent to the crematorium on Aug. 21, 1943, is broken down in the chronicle here according to the transport on which they arrived in camp. The names are reproduced in Czech, “Geschichte der Juden in KL Auschwitz,” ed. Kazimierz Smolen et al. (Oswieçim, 1967). A number of reports from Neu Dachs (Jaworzno, Jawoczno) list Greek Jews among the slaves sent to Birkenau to be killed, or cremated after being murdered in Jaworzno. They are noted according to their transport. See Chapter 6 for further discussion. 18.  The Greek Railway list has 2,500. 19.  Czech, Auschwitz Chronicle, 465. See under sixteenth transport. Guards who shot prisoners attempting to escape were rewarded; most incidents therefore were recorded as attempted escapes. 20.  Ibid., 488. 21.  The Greek Railway list has 2,500. 22.  Czech, Auschwitz Chronicle, 488; spelling corrected. 23.  This was the consensus of postwar students of the Greek tragedy. Arieh Koretz in

Notes to Chapter Five his Yad Vashem interview with Joseph Ben (03/3875, 20) in 1976 argued that the Germans were afraid (!) of Dr. Cuenca. Koretz believed that Cuenca’s regular contacts with the Italians and the International Red Cross, and the fact of his possessing a telephone, meant he could contact influential sources in Athens and easily create public notice of the German actions against the Jews of Salonika. (Clearly the Gestapo did not forget the earlier scandal with Burkhardt’s telegram to Geneva.) Moreover, as he was exempted from wearing the yellow star, he set a bad example for the harassed Jews. Hence, it seems that to assign blame to Merten (who was about twenty-eight at the time) for this idea, as Jews did in his postwar trial and essays on the period, might be too facile an observation. True, the paperwork went out over his signature, but then he was the person at the top of the civilian pyramid in his official capacity and the deportation was ultimately controlled from Vienna. (See ­Susanne-­Sophia Spiliotis, “An Affair of Politics, Not Justice: The Merten Trial (1957–1959) and Greek-German Relations,” in Mark Mazower, ed., After the War Was Over (Princeton University Press, 2000), 293–302.) Koretz adds the interesting note that his father offered himself as a hostage to the Gestapo in place of the twenty-five men. 24.  Birkenau: How 72,000 Greek Jews Died (New York, 1947). There is some data on ­Cuenca’s service in Auschwitz in Isaac Bourla’s Chimera. A Period of Madness (New York, 2007, Sephardi and Greek Holocaust Library, vol. 3), passim. 25.  The Greek Railway list has 2,800. Such discrepancies may be due to a number of factors ranging from inefficiency to deaths en route. There are also several rumors that the Greek Resistance tried to stop some of the deportation trains and in one case partially succeeded, but this is unsubstantiated. The discrepancy, however, points up the necessity to be careful of all the figures inherited from this period. 26.  Cf. Yitzhak Arad, Treblinka—Hell and Revolt (Tel Aviv, 1983) (in Hebrew), 109; Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, 146. Cf. Pish‘e milhamah be-polin, 281–283 (in Hebrew) and photostats of the railroad schedule, also in Leszczinski, War Crimes in Poland, Genocide 1939–1945 (Warsaw, 1962), 281–83. 27.  Arad, ibid., 104–5 cited from Yankel Viernik, Pinkas katan-shanah be-treblinka mipi‘ed re‘iyah (Tel Aviv, 1944), 40. See also Shmuel Vilenburg, “Treblinka—hamahaneh ­vehamered,” Yalkut Moreshet 5 (April 1966), 4–48. From the latter description, however, these cars from Salonika might just as well have contained Jews from Thrace. Further clarification can be found in the English version of the latter (Samuel Willenberg, Surviving Treblinka, Oxford, 1989), where the author’s description of these Greek-speaking Jews suggests they came from Bulgarian-occupied Thrace and Macedonia (sixteen transports in all). 28.  Their dates are derived from those supplied by Dr. Matarasso, which in turn are based on the official list supplied by the directorate of state railways to the Athens Jewish Community on January 29, 1945. The first sixteen dates correlate followed by no. 17 (June 1), no. 18 (August 2), and no. 19 (August 10). 29.  These tickets document Molho and Nehama transports one through four, six and seven, nine through fourteen, and sixteen. Cf. list in Czech, 190. 30.  Nikos Stavroulakis, in his introduction to Sevilias’s Athens-Auschwitz, mentions two trains leaving on May 9. 31.  René Molho (They Say Diamonds Don’t Burn) was on the seventeenth transport and claims it left on May 11. An unreferenced statement by Alexandar Matkovski adds some confusion to the provenance and number of deportees: “It is known that, on 30 April, 400



Notes to Chapter Five Jews from Lerin were taken to Ber and that, on the same day, 600 Jews from Ber went to ­Salonika, from where they departed for Auschwitz or Treblinka on May 1.” There is no record of a train leaving on May 1. Still, despite the error in date, the addition of Macedonian Jews to the Greek transports has an impact on the demographic losses attributed to Greek Jewry. See A History of the Jews in Macedonia (Skopje, 1982), 194. 32.  According to the Hebrew edition; the French gives the figure of 45,659 and the Greek edition gives the corrected figure 45,650. The official statistics reported by Matarasso count 42,300 after sixteen transports and 46,601 after nineteen transports. Rudolf Vrba estimated 45,000 Greek Jews gassed by April 1944, but this figure would have included the deportations from the Italian zone as well. 33.  If we take into account some 1,964 Jews from Thrace whom Czech includes in her transport seventeen, then the actual difference in the totals for Salonika Jews between Czech and Matarasso amounts to 836 Jews. 34.  Willenberg, Surviving Treblinka, 113, notes that suitcases of the first transport in early spring “bore labels reading ‘Saloniki.’ ” 35.  This coincides with the Greek Railway list. 36.  Sam Carasso (no. 112381) recalled that three trains arrived at Birkenau simultaneously (communication from Isaac Benmayor). 37.  Czech, Auschwitz Chronicle, 488. 38.  The Greek Railway list has 2,800. 39.  Saloniki, 312. David Soures (no. 112576) later appears on a list of sick transferred to Block 19. 40.  Ilya Ehrenburg and Vasily Grossman, eds., The Black Book (New York, 1980), 495. 41.  This may be one of the few-recorded communications from Auschwitz to Salonika. For example, on July 13, 1943, the Jewish prisoners at Auschwitz were asked to write home for care packages. The Jews of Poland and Greece were excluded from this campaign (cf. Czech, From the History of KL-Auschwitz, I, 202). 42.  Black Book, 496. Hella Kounio related the chilling effects on her and her daughter (both worked in the central registry) of the arrival of a transport of children to Auschwitz. It is unknown whether this was the same as the one related in the text; personal interview. 43.  The Greek Railway list has 2,800. 44.  Nazi Medicine, I, 64. 45.  Ibid., 424. 46.  Czech, Auschwitz Chronicle, 472; the name might be Saltiel. 47.  This coincides with the Greek Railway list. 48.  Czech, Auschwitz Chronicle, 517. 49.  The Greek Railway list has 2,800. 50.  Czech, Auschwitz Chronicle, 406. 51.  Ibid., 485. 52.  The Greek Railway list has 2,800. 53.  This coincides with the Greek Railway list. 54.  The Greek Railway list has 2,800. 55.  The Greek Railway list has 2,800. 56.  The Greek Railway list has 2,600. 57.  His camp number was not mentioned in the trial record. The Zu- und Abgänge Buch for Block 8 Auschwitz has survived [YIVO Archives ME 42 9]. It lists the arrival of 220

Notes to Chapter Five Greek Jews by name with nos. 119781–120000. Unfortunately, two pages are torn out of the book, from 119911 to 119978, that is, the section of the alphabet wherein Itzhak Nechama should have been listed. This is the only surviving list of a particular Greek transport that I have seen and of the men only. One name can be restored from the Jaworzno list: Abram Nahoum (no. 119946). 58.  Leon Benmayor (no. 119842) recorded his memoir in Thessaloniki on March 21, 1990; he is listed in the Zu- und Abgänge Buch from Auschwitz Block 8, which gives the names of all but sixty-seven of the males selected from this convoy. I wish to thank his son, Isaac (Ino) Benmayor, for a copy of his memoir. 59.  The Greek Railway list has 2,600. 60.  Matsas, Illusion of Safety, ms. 81. His testimony will be discussed in the next chapter. The hospital in Auschwitz I was located in Block 9; Matsas’s source did not indicate in which camp he was located. 61.  Czech, Auschwitz Chronicle, 465. A total of three of the five corpses from that camp were of Greek Jews (nos. 110037, 120943, and 122177). 62.  Ibid., 462. 63.  The Greek Railway list has 1,700. 64.  Haganah Archives CMF. Yavan. See Chapter 6. One of Dr. Matarasso’s informants recalled 1,250 Salonikans at Jaworzno. A list of slaves in Jaworzno in the Auschwitz Archives (copy in the Czech report in the community archives in Salonika), dated January 18, 1944, contains inter alia sixty-five Greeks (nos. 65–134) ranging in number from 110106 to 122350, that is, eighteen from this transport. 65.  Czech, Auschwitz Chronicle, page 460 for no. 122184 and page 465 for no. 122177, who may have been part of the escape attempt with nos. 110037 and 120943 and two others. 66.  According to Czech. Molho and Nehama give the figure of 820 derived from ­Matarasso. 67.  Matarasso lists a transport (the eighteenth) on August 2 consisting of Spanish Jews and 74 privileged Jews, in all 441. His transport number nineteen left on August 10 with 2,500 Jews. The Italian consulate in Salonika reported this to Rome and Athens; cf. telegrams cited in Daniel Carpi, “Italian Sources for the History of Salonikan Jewry during the Holocaust” (in Hebrew), Pe’amim 65 (1995), 124ff. 68.  His memoir (in Hebrew) was published in Greek Jewry in the Holocaust: Memoirs (Institute of the Salonika Jewry, Tel Aviv, 1988), 243–65. He gives the date of departure of five hundred Greeks to Warsaw as September 11, 1943. See Chapter 6 for discussion of dates and numbers. 69.  Three hundred fifty were arrested on March 24, 1944, when they appeared at the Melidoni Street synagogue for an announced distribution of matzoth. Their families joined them later, bringing the number to about 800. Mazower (Inside Hitler’s Greece, 252) reports that Dr. Josef Mengele selected the 320 men and 328 women of this transport for his research; the number seems excessive. Czech (Auschwitz Chronicle), sub Apr. 11, 1944, lists approximately 2,500 Jews. 70.  Sevilias, Athens-Auschwitz: left on April 2 and arrived after eight days on April 14 (sic). 71.  The Holocaust Odyssey of Daniel Bennahmias, Sonderkommando, with Rebecca Camhi Fromer (University of Alabama Press, 1993); see Chapter 6. 72.  Gideon Greif, We Wept Without Tears (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2005) published his interviews with Sacker, Ya’akov Gabai (sic), Shaul Chazan, and Leon Cohen.



Notes to Chapter Five They mention inter alia other Greek members of the Sonderkommando from this transport, such as Raoul and Henri Yahoun. 73.  In her Auschwitz Chronicle (London, 1990), Czech lists this transport arriving on June 30 and consisting of 2,044 Jews. Claire Beja remembered leaving on June 21, 1944, and arriving on June 29 in her 1981 interview with Rosina Pardo (548 Days with Another Name, New York, 2005, 94). 74.  This transport is not listed in Czech, Auschwitz Chronicle, but the data were calculated in her earlier article on Greek Jewry in Auschwitz. Elias Albenansi (A15244) is listed from Larissa and Raphael Baenllov (A15268) is listed from Philiatai; both were transferred to Block 19. 75.  Dr. Miklos Nyiszli, Auschwitz. A Doctor’s Eyewitness Account (New York, 1960), 83. The discrepancy between his account and the figures given by Czech raises several questions. It appears that the story of the males chosen for the Sonderkommando (see Chapter 6) is connected with this transport and would account for the discrepancies between 400 and 446 males that are recorded. Another question is, If this indeed resolves that discrepancy, then how does one account for the 131 women—unless, that is, Nyiszli was (and it is not unlikely) mistaken on their account? Nyiszli’s memoir, written after the war, may not be accurate on this point. 76.  Martin Gilbert, The Holocaust, 272, cites the figures of 1,641 Jews from Rhodes and 94 Jews from Kos; 22 died en route. Survivors after the war included 151 from Rhodes and 12 from Kos. Gilbert, however, does not give a source for this information. The most up-todate data on the Rhodes deportation are by Liliana Picciotto Fargion, Il libro della memoria: Gli Ebrei deportati dall’Italia (1943–1945), 2nd edition revised (Milano, 1991). 77.  An incomplete memorial list was published by Hizka Franko, Les Martyrs Juifs de Rhodes et de Cos (Elizabethsville [Katanga], 1952); English translation by Joseph Franco, The Jewish Martyrs of Rhodes and Cos (New York, 1994). Lucia Franco (no. A24316) provides a description of the trip, which lasted from August 2 to August 16 after a nine-day sea crossing to Athens. 78.  See Chapter 2, note 45. 79.  The Soviet estimate of 80,000 recorded by Kraus and Kulka in The Death Factory: Document on Auschwitz (London and New York, 1966), 207, is an exaggeration. Georges Welles, who controlled the chapter on Auschwitz in Kogon et al., eds. Nazi Mass Murder, cites a figure of 55,655 Greek Jews sent to Auschwitz, of whom only 12,760 were selected for the camp. According to the list in that chapter, the percentage of gassed victims who were Greek (77.1 percent) was the highest of any national group. On prisoner clerks, cf. Lore Shelley, Secretaries of Death and Auschwitz: The Nazi Civilization (New York: University of America Press, 1986). 80.  There were thirty-nine subcamps established between 1942 and 1944. Cf. Czech, “The Auschwitz Sub-Camps,” in From the History of KL-Auschwitz, I (1967), 35–54. 81.  Czech, Auschwitz Chronicle, records 343 Greeks in Monowitz (Auschwitz III) on Jan. 13, 1945 (778), and 358 Greeks in all the other camps on January 17, 1945 (778), a total of 701 Greek Jews. Most of those left on the last marches from the camp. 82.  Title from Theodora Kroeber, Ishi in Two Worlds (Berkeley, 1964).

Notes to Chapter Six

Notes to Chapter Six 1.  See Franciszek Piper, “The Number of Victims,” in Anatomy of the Auschwitz Death Camp, Yisrael Gutman and Michael Berenbaum, eds. (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994), 62. 2.  Olga Lengyel, Five Chimneys: The Story of Auschwitz (Chicago, 1947; London, 1972), is the first source to tell this story. As a nurse in the women’s camp, she was too far away to have witnessed it firsthand. The story is otherwise unsubstantiated despite its entrance into the literature of the camp and the memoirs of Greek Jews. In my introduction to Dr. Marco Nahon’s memoir, Birkenau: The Camp of Death, I followed her story with the observation on the Corfu transport (discussed Chapter 5) from the eyewitness account of Dr. Nyiszli, Mengele’s assistant coroner who worked inside the Sonderkommando area, which does not mention this incident. Czech, Auschwitz Chronicle, 668, under the date July 21, 1944, records the selection by Dr. Thilo of 434 Greek Jews from the men’s quarantine (B-IIb) who arrived with the Athens-Corfu transport of June 30 and their assignment to labor in Camp B-IId. How the rumor of their purported revolt reached Lengyel is unknown. Michael Molho (cited by Ber Mark, The Scrolls of Auschwitz, Tel Aviv, 1985, 60) claims that one hundred Jews from Athens refused work in the Sonderkommando in May 1944. 3.  Czech, Auschwitz Chronicle, lists a number of purported attempted escapes by Greek Jews. They were included in Chapter 5. 4.  Not listed by Mark (Scrolls of Auschwitz, chap. 7). René Molho recalled in his memoir They Say Diamonds Don’t Burn an escape organized by a Czechoslovakian Jew from his barracks that included a Greek Jew named Bourla and another prisoner. He dates it to April or May 1944. It may be the same attempt. 5.  The four men involved were Alter Fajnzylberg, a French Jew; Szlomo Dragon and his brother Jack; and a Greek Jew named Alex who actually snapped the pictures. (Albert ­Errera was also known by his code name Alekos Alexandridis.) Reproductions can be found in Auschwitz: A History in Photographs, Jonathan Webber et al., eds. (Warsaw and Bloomington, 1993), 172ff, and Fajnzylberg’s testimony 42–43. 6.  Leon Cohen’s account was written long after the war in French and published in a Hebrew translation in Pe’amim 27 (1986) and an English version From Greece to Birkenau: The Crematoria Workers’ Uprising (Tel Aviv, 1996); Daniel Bennahmias’s account was recently published by Rebecca Fromer (Holocaust Odyssey, 1993); and the Greek version of Marcel Natzari, Chroniko 1941–1948, appeared in Thessaloniki, 1991 (a German translation is available in Danuta Czech’s report commissioned by the Jewish Community of Salonika and deposited in the community archives). Gideon Greif (We Wept Without Tears: Testimonies of the Jewish sonderkommando from Auschwitz, Yale University Press, 2005) published interviews with four Greek survivors: Josef Sackar, Ya’akov Gabai (sic), Shaul Chazzan, Leon Cohen (whose earlier testimony was also published separately (see beginning of this note), and also Shlomo Dragon (see above note 5). The oral testimony of Mois Misrahi is deposited in the archives of Gratz College in Philadelphia. YIVO acquired from the Bund Archives some original registration sheets from Auschwitz [YIVO Archives S-2 87]. These signed depositions record the basic information of the prisoners: description, address, languages, military experience, and so on. Later the information was put on cards for the central filing system. Beginning with no. 182xxx through no. 182757 are listed 31 Greek Jews from Arta, Corfu, Ioannina (Yannina), Athens, and a few Salonika refugees who came on the twentieth Greek



Notes to Chapter Six transport from which 320 males were selected; the remaining deportees were gassed and then cremated. (Spelling follows prisoner’s signature on the form; the scribe’s transliteration is occasionally misleading.) 182xxx Lewi, Samuel 182614 Serris, Moissis 182616 Levis, Sabetay 182617 Levy, Moise 182624 Meli, Abroum 182638 Misan, Haim 182642 Misan, Moissis 182649 Misrachi, Albertos 182650 Misrahis, Mois (no. lost) Matsas, Michael 182662 Mazza, Elia 182663 Negrin, Moissis 182666 Namer, Yossif 182668 Nakamoulis, Eugen 182669 Nadjary, Marcel 182671 Pinhas, Salomone 182679 Soussis, Jacques 182681 Soussis, Isaac 182685 Sabbetai, Moissis 182688 Sabas, Giosepos 182694 Sabas, Pesos 182705 Sabetai, Savas 182706 Sidis, Samuel 182718 Djahon, Raoul 182722 Varouh, Joseph 182727 Venezia, Salomone 182728 Venezia, Mois 182736 Zakar, Menahem 182739 Zakar, Yosef 182753 Bitali, Matys 182757 Baruch, Baruch 184206 Mechoulam, Eliezer

born Yanina 1906 Yanina 1919 Istanbul 1910 Istanbul 1914 Kavala 1902 Arta 1922 Arta 1924 Chios 1910 Chios 1911 Corfu 1909 Yanina 1902 Yanina 1909 Athens 1924 Istanbul 1904 Salonika 1917 Salonika 1924 Athens 1909 Arta 1902 Arta 1909 Arta 1912 Arta 1912 Trikala 1911 Trikala 1904 Salonika 1919 Korfu 1910 Salonika 1923 Salonika 1921 Patras 1918 Arta 1924 Arta 1913 Arta 1915 Xanthi 1908

7.  He is listed in the literature as Joseph Baruch, also called Peppo-Joseph Baruch by his friend Shaul Chazzan (Greig, op. cit., 280); however, in his signature on his Auschwitz registration form, located in YIVO (see note 6), he spelled it Varouh. He served as an officer in the Third Artillery Regiment of Corinth from 1937 to 1941. In the YIVO list are sixteen other Greek veterans. See S. Bowman, Jewish Resistance in Wartime Greece, chap. 7 and text to note 11. 8.  According to survivor accounts, the women smuggled the explosives in their hair. More likely it was in their clothes. A number of memoirs collected by Lore Shelley, The Union Kommando in Auschwitz: The Auschwitz Munition Factory Through the Eyes of Its Former Slave Laborers (Lantham, MD, and London, 1996) shed light on this activity. Several of

Notes to Chapter Six the memoirs mention Greek Jews in this kommando, including their tragic deaths. René Molho was in the Kanada Kommando, and his assignment was to set fire to their barracks after hearing an explosion (Diamonds, 20). 9.  Czech, Auschwitz Chronicle, 724, gives these figures for the four Birkenau crematoria: Squad 57B in Crematorium II, Squad 58B in Crematorium III, and Squad 59B in Crematorium IV each had a day shift of 84 prisoners and a night shift of 85 prisoners. Squad 60B in Crematorium V had 72 prisoners on day shift and 84 prisoners at night. The total complement was 663 prisoners. Crematorium I was in the main camp of Auschwitz. Confusion in the sources and the secondary literature stems from counting the four Birkenau crematoria as I, II, III, IV rather than II, III, IV, V. 10.  Hermann Langbein, in People in Auschwitz, translated by Harry Zohn (Chapel Hill and London, 2004), 202, reports: “Eduard de Wind recalls a conversation that he had shortly after the evacuation of Auschwitz with Kabeli, a professor of literature at the University of Athens, who, like de Wind, had remained in the camp. Kabeli, who had served on the Sonderkommando for a year, named some Greek Jews whom he knew to have participated in the organization of the uprising: Baruch, Burdo, Carasso, Ardite, and Jachon.” See note 6, where several names may be correlated: Joseph Varouh and Baruch Baruch, Jachon is probably Djahon, and Burdo is likely Broudo. 11.  See Greif, We Wept Without Tears, for the most recent discussion of the Sonderkommando and the various sources. 12.  The semantics of the term, derived from the German Musulmann, is unclear. Some scholars suggest it represents the prone state of the prisoner in extremis as resembling a Muslim at prayer. It perhaps originated in Axis perceptions of the passivity of Muslims in North Africa. 13.  Dr. Hans Muench published a study of Musulmans in a special Auschwitz edition of the Polish Medical Journal, “Przeglad Lekarski,” in 1967; cf. his comments in Lore Shelley, Criminal Experiments on Human Beings in Auschwitz and War Research Laboratories: Twenty Women Prisoners’ Accounts (San Francisco, 1991), 300–1. See Chapter 7 note 45 and text there. See comments on Muench by Otto Langbein in H. Langben, People in Auschwitz, 9. 14.  See Wieslaw Kielar, Anus mundi: 1,500 days in Auschwitz/Birkenau, translated from the German by Susanne Flatauer (New York: Times Books, 1980). John Marchand, who was sent to Auschwitz for his resistance work, informed me in 1972 that he too worked in a garden. 15.  Seweryna Szmaglewska, Smoke over Birkenau, 222–24. The lyrical translation of her memoir recalls the arrival and deaths of the Greek Jewesses in spring 1943 (pp. 170–71). “Mama” was a newly written song that many Greek Jews had learned in Greece and sang so nostalgically in the camps. Composed by the Italian tenor Beniamino Gigli during his transatlantic voyage from New York to Naples, the song was a favorite among the Italians during the war and was learned by many of the young Greek girls. The Germans too adopted it, and it became a popular addition to the slaves’ repertoire in the camps. See Lucia Franco, Et un jour, la joie de vivre s’arreta a . . . Auschwitz (n.p.: Marla Stein Associates, 1994), 72 and passim. 16.  Kitty Hart, Return to Auschwitz. 17.  Smoke over Birkenau, 224f. 18.  A Girl Called Judith Strick (New York, 1970); previously published as And Some Shall Live (Jerusalem, 1969).



Notes to Chapter Six 19.  Tadeusz Borowski, This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen and Other Stories (New York, 1967), chap. 1. 20.  Mavis M. Hill and L. Norman Williams, Auschwitz in England: A Record of a Libel Action (New York, 1965). The suit is detailed in Leon Uris’s bestseller QBVII (1970). 21.  Czech, Auschwitz Chronicle, 464, gives the figure of 438; she discusses this document (which, among others, I copied in Auschwitz in 1990) in more detail in her report prepared for the Jewish Community of Salonika. My thanks to Albertos Nar for a copy of this report. The correct count for the numbers is 436 (see Chapter 5, where the numbers of women are listed for each transport). A duplicate copy of the selection list was smuggled out of the camp and forwarded to London. Anton Tauber, SS Unterscharführer, Blockführer and Rapportführer, carried out the selection from among the Dutch and Greek women in the women’s camp (cf. Shelley, Criminal Experiments, App. B). All who showed body sores in various degrees of intensity were listed and sent to Block 25 (the death block) prior to transfer to the gas chamber; cf. Krystyna Zywulska, I Came Back (New York, 1951), 53–54. Other figures count 441 Greeks. 22.  Otto Wolken, a prison doctor, reported that this occurred on a Sunday. Cf. Robert Jay Lifton, Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide (New York, 1986), 181. Cf. Czech, Auschwitz Chronicle, 474; in her “Most Important Events in the History of the Concentration Camp Auschwitz-Birkenau,” in From the History of KL-Auschwitz, I, 202, she gives a more accurate figure of 4,462 men. 23.  Olga Lengyel, Hitler’s Ovens, 131. Her memory may be suspect; Czech does not list such a mass selection. The first transport from Rome arrived on September 23, 1943; 149 men and 47 women entered the camp and the rest were gassed. 24.  According to Albert Menasche; however, Czech, Auschwitz Chronicle, citing Gerald Reitlinger’s The Final Solution, mentions only a small selection in the women’s camp for that date. 25.  Menasche, Birkenau (Auschwitz II), 65–66, estimates that eight hundred of the twenty-five hundred women sent to the crematoria were Salonika Greeks. 26.  Czech, Auschwitz Chronicle, 557, lists a total of 4,247 women gassed in Birkenau through December 1943 and another 4,684 dead by other means. In the three main camps of Auschwitz 5,748 males died. 27.  On that date Czech, op. cit., notes that 247 Jews from the Neu-Dachs Auxiliary Camp were gassed in Birkenau. 28.  Gisela Perl, I Was a Doctor in Auschwitz (New York, 1948), 102. 29.  “This is the horror book of World War II” introduces The First German War Crimes Trial: Chief Judge Walter B. Beals’ Desk Notebook of the Doctors’ Trial, Held in Nürnberg, ­Germany, December 1945 to August 1947, ed. by W. Paul Burman (revised edition, Chapel Hill, NC, 1985). The Doctors’ Trial with documentation is contained in Trials of War Criminals Before the Nuernberg Military Tribunals under Control Council Law No. 10 (Washington, 1953), vol. I (“Green Series”). For the 1964 libel case of Dering v. Uris et al., see note 20. Cf. also A. Mitscherlich and F. Mielke, Medizin ohne Menschlichkeit (Heidelberg, 1949; English version The Death Doctors, London, 1962); Dr. Wladyslaw Fejkiel, “Ethical and Legal Limits of Experimentation in Medicine—in Connection with Professor Clauberg’s Affair,” in From the History of KL-Auschwitz, Kazimierz Smolen et al., eds. (Oswieçim, 1967), vol. I, 97–117; and Czech, “Role of the Men’s Hospital Camps at KL Auschwitz II,” ibid., vol. II, 5–20. Cf. also International Auschwitz Committee, Nazi Medicine (New York, 1986).

Notes to Chapter Six 30.  He remained a civilian member of the Nazi Party, which he joined in 1933, and rented his facilities at Auschwitz and Ravensbrück. Cf. Lifton, Nazi Doctors, 270ff, for his subsequent career and postwar fate. 31.  He joined the Nazi party and the SA in 1930 and was in Auschwitz from August 28, 1941 (ibid., 278); he was identified as wearing a Luftwaffe uniform. 32.  Cf. Germaine Tillon, Ravensbrück (Paris, 1973; English version New York, 1975); and Ota Kraus and Erich Kulka, Death Factory. 33.  Cf. R. J. Minney, I Shall Fear No Evil: The Story of Dr. Alina Brewda (London, 1966), henceforth Alina Brewda. Her testimony was among the key evidence given in the Dering v. Uris trial (Auschwitz in England, 192ff). Cf. also International Auschwitz Committee, Nazi Doctors, Part I, especially testimonies of Drs. Stanislaw Klodzinski and Dorota Lorska. Lore Shelley collected twenty women prisoners’ accounts, among them the Greek Aliza Barouch, in Criminal Experiments; cf. also NOKW 850, 884, 885. 34.  Shelley, Criminal Experiments, page 8 and passim. 35.  Dering was incarcerated at Auschwitz on August 15, 1940, and was made Lageralteste in September 1943, which put him in charge of the camp hospital. Since 1941 he was a doctor in the outpatient department. For an apologetic assessment by the Polish Resistance of his role in helping prison doctors and victims, cf. Garlinski, Fighting Auschwitz, 289 and 355–57. He performed some sixteen or seventeen thousand therapeutic operations on behalf of the prisoners. For his role in the Polish Resistance at Auschwitz, cf. Auschwitz in En­gland, 56. For a psychological analysis, cf. Lifton, Nazi Doctors. Dr. Jan Grabczynski assisted Dering at the operations and testified on his behalf at the libel trial. The jury incidentally found for the plaintiff Dering; the judge awarded him a half penny in damages and held him responsible for court charges. Dr. André Lettich (Trente-quatre mois dans les Camps de Concentration. Témoinage sur les crimes “scientifiques” commis par les médecins allemands, Tours, 1946, 31; in NO-425) notes the surgical brutality of Dr. “Doehring.” Several women who died after the war from cancer resulting from the irradiation are noted by Shelley in Criminal Experiments, 77ff. 36.  Part of the surgical register, which survived the war and is presently located in the Oswiecim Museum in Poland, was entered in evidence during the trial. It listed 130 operations between March 5, 1943, and November 10, 1943. The prisoners names and numbers were followed by the type of operation, viz., castratio, sterilizatio, amputatio testis sin., amputatio testis dex., amputatio testis utriusque, ovariectomia sin., ovariectomia dex. 37.  These injections into the uterus were iodipirin, F12a (diluted novocain) and ­citobarium, according to Dagmar Hajková. Silvia Friedmanová recalled Lipiodol, F12a (10cc novocain and 10cc water), citobarium mixed with water; and a preparation of 20–40 percent iodine; cf. Kraus and Kulka, Death Factory, 98–99. 38.  According to Else Cohen (NO-816), Dr. Pauly, an Aryan doctor, performed ovariectomies on ten Greek women. 39.  Cf. Alina Brewda; Friedmanová and Dr. Dora Kleinová of France in Kraus and Kulka, Death Factory, 98–105; “The Stations of the Cross,” by Dagmar Hájková and Hana Housková in Tillon, Ravensbrück, 95–112; Perl, I Was a Doctor in Auschwitz; Lengyel, Five Chimneys; Lettich, Trente-quatre mois, 46. 40.  Czech, “Role of the Men’s Hospital Camp,” 112–13. Jan Zielina explains how the doctors were brought to Block 9 in Auschwitz as “patients” and then smuggled into the hospital (cf. Nazi Medicine, 201ff). 41.  Garlinski identifies sixty doctors in the central camp hospital located in Blocks 9, 19,



Notes to Chapter Six 20, 21, 28 (Fighting Auschwitz, 171 and 363). A more accurate and detailed account is given in Czech, ibid. 42.  Nahon, Birkenau, and Menasche, Birkenau, 43ff, describe the hospital and its eightyfour doctors in the Arbeitslager (D-II). 43.  Matsas, “Illusion of Safety,” ms. page 81. His number indicates that he came on the sixteenth Salonika transport, which arrived on May 8, 1943. 44.  This was Dr. Leon Cuenca (Cuenka), who was kidnapped on Merten’s orders and sent to Auschwitz on the third Salonika transport. 45.  The Tale of the Ring, 274 et passim. 46.  Czech, “Role of Men’s Hospital Camps,” 46 and 49. Cf. Alfred Fiderkiewicz, “Reminiscences Concerning a Prisoner-Doctor’s Work in Tuberculosis Blocks of the Prisoners’ Camp Hospital at Birkenau (1943–44),” in History of K-L Auschwitz II, 258ff. Previously, pregnant women, if detected at selection, were sent directly to the crematorium. 47.  Cf. Makowski, “The Prisoners’ Hospital at KL Auschwitz III,” 121ff. Jonny Hüttner relates that transports were occasionally brought directly to Monowitz in 1944, thereby avoiding the normal selection at Birkenau. He adds the interesting point that the Buna works arranged with the camp authorities that prisoners would keep their own shoes, which they needed for the heavy work. Thus, when a transport of Greek doctors were despoiled of their valuables and their shoes by the professional criminals on duty at the disinfection hut, the camp resistance reported it to the camp commandant, Vinzent Schöttl, who ordered that the shoes be restored (cf. Len Crome, Unbroken: Resistance and Survival in the Concentration Camps, London, 1988, 103). 48.  Makowski, “Prisoners Hospital,” 133–34; cf. also Eugenieusz Niedojadlo in Nazi Medicine, 47. 49.  Makowski, ibid., 162 and 175f. Solomon Samuelides (no. 121104) was transferred to the Auschwitz III hospital. See ibid., 191. 50.  Tale of the Ring, 234–37. 51.  EJ, 11, s.v. Majdanek. Cf. E. Gryn and Z. Murawska, Majdanek Concentration Camp (1966). 52.  Alina Brewda, 22–23. The difficulty with their date of March 20, 1943, is that there were only 192 Greek women in Auschwitz on March 20. The next addition of Greek Jews to the camp was on March 24. The authors cite a transport of malaria-stricken Greek and Albanian Jews in August (24). This seems more likely. An attempt to interview Dr. Brewda in 1988 was unsuccessful; a postwar interview by a psychologist of a female survivor recalls the figure of two hundred Greeks. This figure compares with “about three hundred young Greek Jewesses from Salonica” and a further transport in the summer of 1943. 53.  Alina Brewda, 91–99. On the gassing of the three hundred survivors from Majdanek, see Hart, I Am Alive, 110. She was in the Kanada Kommando at the time and talked with the women before their death. 54.  Cf. Kogen, Langbein, and Rückerl, eds. Nazi Mass Murder, 196–97. Further information on these victims can be found in Shelley, Criminal Experiments. 55.  Testimony of Haim Salomon Calvo dated April 12, 1945, Haganah Archives CMH. Yavan. He mentions by name: Mordou of Veroia, about twenty-five, well educated and a polyglot, died at Blemhaven. Survivors include Menahem Cohen, thirty-three, of ­Salonika, Moise Soulema, thirty, of Salonika, Joseph Taraboulouz, twenty-eight, and Isaac Canetti, twenty-two, the latter two from Dhidhimotikhon.

Notes to Chapter Six 56.  Mark, Scrolls of Auschwitz, 141, polemicizes against Isaac Kabelli (who generally erred on the side of exaggeration) on the basis of the memoir of a Soviet journalist. Mark cites the figure of four hundred Greeks sent from Auschwitz to Warsaw. 57.  Personal interviews in May–June 1987. 58.  The estimate of Isaac Aruh (Dapim le-heker ha-shoah ve-ha-mered, 2, 204) claims only 440 survived the year in Warsaw before the revolt of August 1944. Other sources estimate two thousand to three thousand Greeks among these prisoners. 59.  His brother, Isaac Senior, corroborated these stories. Additional material from the memoir of Yoachim Eliakim (in Refael, Routes of Hell, 21 and 24). 60.  Cf. Ben, Greek Jewry, 165ff. His entire testimony is contained in the Yad Vashem Archives 03/2598. 61.  His brother claims that the guards who were suborned to let him escape were transferred on the eve of the escape. The attempt, however, could not be postponed, and according to his friend Yoachim Eliakim he attacked the guard to take his pistol and then was shot by two passing soldiers who brought him back to camp. Moshe Shmuel (Zikhron Saloniki, II, 612) claims the attempt was aimed at organizing a mass escape from the camp. 62.  Albert Levi, YVA 03/2598; Hayyim Carasso, ibid., 168. Yad Vashem Archives 03/2597 adds that Senior kicked out the stool rather than allow the Blockführer to do so. 63.  Personal Interview in August 1987. 64.  Yad Vashem. ITS Basic Documents of CC’s. Dachau Reel 15: approximately 280 from Warsaw; 82 from other camps; 59 males and females with a provenance of Rhodes and Cos, and 4 from Paris. Testimony is available from five survivors: Iakov Attias (no. 109923), Mose Halegoua (no. 137034), Josef Natan (no. 137101), Isaac Parente (no. 116575), Iosef Salem (no. 124503). 65.  See Stefan Korbonski, Fighting Warsaw (Minerva Press, 1968 reprint), chap. 19; cf. Bernard Goldstein, Five Years in the Warsaw Ghetto (New York, 1961), 225ff; and Bowman, Jewish Resistance in Wartime Greece, Chapter 7. 66.  Goldstein, Five Years, 234. Cf. Michael Howard, The Mediterranean Strategy in the Second World War (London, 1968), 64–65. 67.  Goldstein, Five Years, 229. 68.  Albert Levi lists in his group his brother Dario, Mois Meir, Hayyim Sustiel, and Morris ben Suah (the youngest of them, who died seeking water for the group). 69.  A small contingent of Greek Jews was left behind after the mass evacuation of July 1944 to dismantle the camp in the ghetto. 70.  Op. cit., 252. For a vivid description of life in hiding, cf. Charles Goldstein, The Bunker (Philadelphia, 1970). 71.  A Warsaw Diary, 1939–1945 (London, 1969), 166. 72.  Dapim, 204. 73.  From lists I compiled and Judith Humphrey correlated, the figure of approximately 1,080 Greeks emerges: about 350 Jews, about 350 Cretans, and the remainder from elsewhere in Greece. 74.  These cards were passed to Yad Vashem in the 1980s and are now housed in its archives. 75.  Salonika 73 (one born in Paris), Ioannina (Yanina) 12, Athens 9 (one each born in Previsa [Preveza], Rhodes, Chania), Corfu 4, Piraeus 2, Xanthi 1, Kavalla 1, Katerini 1, ­Larissa 1, Trikala 1, Tripolis 1, and two unidentified sites: Aida (?) 1, Sintlehinion (?) 1.



Notes to Chapter Seven 76.  National Archives, Washington, DC, Microfilm T990, rolls 1–2. The last number, 16399, has the date April 29, 1945. 77.  Provenance as follows: Ioannina 11, Saloniki 8, Trikala 4, Volos 3, Kavalla 2, Rhodes 2, Corfu 2, Mogina (?) 1 (part of the Corfu transport), Previsa 1, Veroia 1, Kastoria 1, Athens 1. These sites are unidentified: Aria 1 (cf. Aida in previous note), Warnhair (?) 1, Triera (?) 1, Wiur (?) 1, Areta (?) 1, Adaliu (Adalia?) 1, Salim (?) 1. The Turkish-born Jews came from Smyrna and Constantinople. 78.  Cf. Iakovos Kambanellis, Mauthausen (1963 in Greek; English translation by Gail Holst-Warhaft, Athens, 1995) for a vivid memoir of a Greek Christian survivor of the camp. He was in the registry and was part of the group that saved some of the Death Books and other records. In addition he made lists for the Americans after the camp was liberated. His text is a record of political discussions with Spanish prisoners, of whom only fifteen hundred, of the ten thousand incarcerated by the Vichy regime, survived. He also records several interesting conversations with Jewish prisoners about Palestine. Of particular note, he recalls some two hundred Greek Jewish women at Mauthausen; cf. 33 and passim. 79.  These names were published in Lo Nishkah (1996) and read out at the Yom Hashoah commemoration in Tel Aviv; other survivors of Mauthausen acknowledged their experiences at that time. 80.  Cf. Evelyn Le Chene, Mauthausen: The History of a Death Camp (London, 1971); pages 238–39 contain figures for Ebensee. 81.  Isaiah Trunk, Jewish Responses to Nazi Persecution (New York, 1979), 121; cf. Livia Rothkirchen, “The ‘Final Solution’ in Its Last Stages,” Yad Vashem Studies VIII (1970). 82.  Cf. Rothkirchen, “Final Solution,” and Shmuel Krakowski, “The Death Marches in the Period of the Evacuation of the Camps,” reprint from The Nazi Concentration Camps: Proceedings of the Fourth Yad Vashem International Historical Conference (Yad Vashem, Jerusalem, 1984), 475–89. In addition to the Warsaw death march and the great slaughter of the Stutthof complex, Greek survivors recorded other death marches. The point of rescue by Allied soldiers determined in many cases the postwar experience of the survivors; see the following chapter. 83.  A similar situation from Vespasian’s and Titus’ siege of Jerusalem is reported in ­Sepher Yosippon, the popular medieval history of the Second Temple period. It has been argued that the anonymous author was a doctor, but the description of starving people eating themselves to death after they had escaped from within the walls had to be a phenomenon common to observers of premodern sieges.

Notes to Chapter Seven 1.  A valuable analysis that attempts to describe this situation is found in Anna Pawelczynska’s Values and Violence in Auschwitz. She shows, however, little understanding of the Greek experience, which is used by her (and other survivor observers) as a foil to the more successful Poles. As noted in Chapter 6, the Greek survival rate was higher than that of most other Jewish ethnic groups. 2.  See the discussion in Hermann Langbein, Against All Hope, chap. 6. 3.  See Donald Bloxham and Tony Kushner, The Holocaust: Critical Historical Approaches (Manchester and New York, 2005), chap. 1, the most recent guide for evaluating this material.

Notes to Chapter Seven 4.  Recalled by Primo Levi in a number of his books. 5.  There were many non-Jewish speakers of Spanish in Mauthausen. 6.  Benjamin Jacobs, The Dentist of Auschwitz: A Memoir (University Press of Kentucky, 1995), 170. Most likely they were sent to work in the new coalmines that were opened. 7.  The normative camp word for obtaining food or valuable commodities through trade or theft was “organisierung,” or in verb form “organisieren.” Those who could “organize” stood a better chance of survival. 8.  E.g., the Kounios. Some of the registration cards at the Auschwitz archive list German as one of the many languages known to individual Greek slaves. 9.  Hebrew was learned in the religious schools and through the many Zionist clubs and schools serviced by shlihim from Palestine. Most could cite or chant the prayer book and the repertory of piyyutim verbatim. 10.  Cf. Krauss and Kulka, Death Factory, 190. 11.  Cf. Sim Kessel, Hanged at Auschwitz (New York, 1972), 80ff and the observations of Kogon, Theory and Practice of Hell; the French resistance in Dura; and the female administrative staff memoirs collected by Shelley in Secretaries of Death. 12.  Cf. Garlinski, Fighting Auschwitz, and Kulka’s comments in general on camp ­resistance. 13.  Cf. Pawelscynska, Values and Violence; and Ya’acov (Jack) Handali, A Greek Jew from Salonica Remembers (New York, 1993), 111–12. 14.  Cf. Thomas Geve, Youth in Chains (1958; Jerusalem, 1981). 15.  But not all, according to Lili and Yvette Assael (interview with author, 1989). They also learned from each other. Rachel Roth (Here There Is No Why, Jerusalem, 2002) recalls the effects of the Polish climate and the lack of Yiddish knowledge on the Greek women from Salonika (pp. 229–30, 263). Yet she notes their skill at salvaging foodstuffs (p. 276) and teaching the other girls to find edible leaves (285, describing work in the “poison ivy” kommando). 16.  Cf. the comments of Germaine Tillon, Ravensbrück, chap. 3, to those of the males in Kraus and Kulka, Death Factory, chap. 4. In general, see Terrence Des Pres, The Survivor: An Anatomy of Life in the Death Camps (New York, 1976) and Dorothy Rabinowitz, New Lives. Survivors of the Holocaust Living in America (New York, 1976). See Women in the Holocaust, edited by Dalia Ofer and Lenore J. Weitzman (New Haven, 1998). 17.  Cited by Kraus and Kulke, Death Factory, 52. On “newcomers,” cf. Sara NombergPrzytyk, Auschwitz. True Tales from a Grotesque Land (Chapel Hill and London, 1985), 13ff. 18.  Nomberg-Przytyk, Auschwitz, 18. Her fifteen-year-old friend, however, could not adjust to the new system and soon perished, although she fought to escape a selection (25–26). 19.  Cf. Kraus and Kulka, Death Factory, 142ff. Survivor accounts include the Jew Kitty Hart, I Am Alive (London, 1962), and the Pole Krystyna Zywulska, I Came Back (New York, 1951). Survivor accounts recall the wealth of useful items left behind by the Greek transports: Maria Elzbieta Jezierska acquired some badly needed quinine “in a small bottle with a Greek inscription from a Jewess working in the ‘Effektenkammer’ ” (Nazi Medicine III, 212). The hospital in the Gypsy camp was located in Blocks 30 and 32 and used Greek blankets, “thick mats, made of twisted red wool, a marvelous hiding place for lice” (ibid., 8). 20.  Cf. A. Donat, Treblinka, passim for examples within that camp. 21.  Proceedings of the Conference on Women Surviving the Holocaust, Esther Katz and Joan Miriam Ringelheim, eds. (New York, 1983), 151.



Notes to Chapter Seven 22.  According to Kraus and Kulka, 51–52, it was a primitive Finnish bath whose goal was to have weakened prisoners die of pneumonia. My thanks to Prof. Susan Chernyak, who witnessed the event, for supplying the correct date. Other memories collapse the date with the Jan. 5, 1945 hanging of the four girls who supplied weapons to the Sonderkommando. 23.  Zywulska, I Came Back, 233–34. 24.  “A Letter from Rhodes,” in the archives of the American Friends of the Jewish Museum of Greece. 25.  Menasche, Birkenau, 62–63. 26.  Related in Matsas, Illusion of Safety, unpublished manuscript. Because the secret of their impending death had to be kept from the victims, punishment for infractions of the rule of silence was severe, a tortuous death to impress the lesson. In this case, the perpetrator was not caught. Similar stories were recorded from other linguistic groups of Jews. 27.  In his posthumously published memoir, Athens-Auschwitz (Athens, 1983). 28.  Sam Ezratti’s father did the opposite to assist his daughter and her child (personal interview). 29.  One Greek Jewish dentist who could treat patients successfully without anesthesia was spared for his skill. Another Greek whose dentures were a work of art survived as a model for Nazi dental students on field trips to the camp. (Oral testimony to author, received in 1972.) 30.  Itzhak Bourla, Chimera. A Period of Madness (New York, 2007), gives a description of Monowitz that parallels that of Primo Levi in its detail. He identifies 180 kommandos in Monowitz. He was first in Kommando 41, and later in another consisting of nine men that transferred logs from one place to another. 31.  He identifies as coworkers Barukh Alhades, Yitzhak Arditi, and another called ­Nehemko. 32.  Esther married Hayyim Refael and Mordo became Sasson. Their stories are in ­Shmuel Refael’s collection of Greek testimonies Routes of Hell. Esther includes Kula Semo in her memoir. 33.  See Chapter 6. 34.  Szymon Laks, Music of Another World, translated by Chester A. Kisiel (Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1989), 57, 58, 100. 35.  Menasche, Birkenau, 47. Henry Meyer of the LaSalle Quartet prepared a lengthy video memoir of his experiences in that orchestra (deposited in the Jacob Rader Marcus Center of the American Jewish Archives, on the Cincinnati campus of Hebrew Union College). Michel Assael, who paired with Dr. Menasche in the Birkenau orchestra, is the brother of the two Greek women in the female orchestra. The only Greek member of the orchestra in Auschwitz I, a trombonist named Jack Halegua, also survived the war. Szymon Laks was Kapellmeister of the Auschwitz orchestra and was familiar with both the male and female bands. 36.  The story of the women’s orchestra was told by Fania Fenelon, Playing for Time (New York, 1977). See following note. 37.  Personal interviews in July 1987. The recollections of the three siblings, including establishment of the orchestra and its functioning, serve as a control to Fenelon’s memoir. 38.  Birkenau, 94–97. 39.  Fenelon, Playing for Time, 61. Laks, Music, discusses both the male and the female orchestras from his perspective as conductor of the former.

Notes to Chapter Seven 40.  Birkenau, 98ff. 41.  Morris Moshe was among the Greeks sent to Warsaw in October 1943 (memoir in Salonique: Ville-mère en Israel (in Hebrew; Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, 1967, 311). Isaac Senior (personal interviews in June and July 1987) was in the first transport to Warsaw in September 1943. Two Greek brothers, well-known wrestlers, were bootmakers in Warsaw. Another two brothers in Warsaw, Mordoh and Jack Azous, were boxers. About 280 of the Greeks who survived Warsaw were evacuated in July 1944 to Dachau (Yad Vashem. I.T.S. Basic Documents of Concentration Camps. Dachau, Reel 15). 42.  Ya’akov Gabai (in Greif, We Wept Without Tears, 188) is an eyewitness: “One of the members of our group had come with me in the same transport. His name was Menahem Litschi. He’d been a shoemaker in Greece. He left a wife and two daughters behind. One day he said to me, ‘Ya’akov, this work is intolerable. Look, we can’t continue throwing people into the fire. I don’t want to live anymore.’ I told him to be patient for a couple of days. ‘All beginnings are tough. Everything passes. Don’t throw your life away.’ He waited two days, and on the third day—when he thought no one was looking—as they were bringing bodies to the bunker, Menahem jumped into the fire with the body that he was dragging and cremated himself. A German sergeant named Grünberg shot him to spare him the pain. It happened on the [sic] May 18, 1944.” 43.  Her story has been collected by several investigators: cf. Novitch, Passage des ­barbares, 62; and Shelley, Secretaries of Death. Cf. Erika Kounio-Amarilio, Peninta Chronia Meta . . . Anamnyseis mias Salonikiotissas Ebraias (Fifty Years Later . . . Recollections of a Salonikan Jewess; Thessaloniki, 1995); interview with Moses Altsech, July 1989; interview with S. Bowman, May 1996. 44.  Cf. examples in Shelley, Auschwitz: The Nazi Civilization, passim. 45.  Personal interview. During our discussion of these points in spring 1997, which she was at a loss to explain, I suggested that perhaps he had come to treat her as a surrogate child to be protected by an older and less-than-fanatic Nazi officer. After some reflection, she began to consider their relationship from another perspective. What is necessary to explain is the survival of most of the women who worked in the Politische Abteilung at Auschwitz; cf. Shelley, Secretaries of Death. 46.  Shelley, Criminal Experiments on Human Beings in Auschwitz and War Research Laboratories: Twenty Women Prisoners’ Accounts (San Francisco, 1991), Appendix A. 47.  In this context, Muench mentions a Professor Artioli from Salonika as having worked at the Institute. Subsequent to his acquittal, Muench was retried on various charges but has been generally exonerated from any war crimes. His is the only available explanation to date for the survival of these women. 48.  Routes of Hell, 70–72. 49.  Ibid., 33. 50.  Ibid., 38–43. 51.  Ibid., 66, Rena Bivas; 59, Shlomo Bivas; 77, Rivkah Belleli. 52.  Ibid., 46–52. Arukh fought the Polish champion in Birkenau and the former world champion from Tunisia. The recent controversy that arose over the correct identity of the true champion in the wake of the film about the Greeks, Triumph of the Spirit, may have attracted a greater viewing audience. 53.  Ibid., 454–58. He grew up in Quarter 151. His father however was a tobacco dealer from Kavalla, and Rozen succeeded in getting a good education through gymnasium. He



Notes to Chapter Seven too records defeating the Tunisian champion. After liberation he returned to Greece, married, and with wife and newborn son went to Palestine on a precarious fishing boat, eventually arriving after four months in the camps the British maintained on Cyprus. 54.  Isaac Bourla (Chimera) met him in Buchenwald, where they were liberated. Cuenca was taken by the ICRC to Geneva and then returned to Greece. I did not see any report by him in the ICRC archives in Geneva. 55.  Trial of Eichmann, 855. Their tale is recorded by Heinz Kounio, Ezisa ton Thanaton [I Survived Death]; an English adaptation was published by Marcia Haddad Ikonomopoulos, A Liter of Soup (see note 13 of Chapter 5). 56.  A shortened version of his memoir is in Refael, Routes of Hell, 377–83 (in Hebrew). An English pamphlet with photocopies of his Auschwitz documents is distributed through Yad Vashem, where Stroumsa volunteers as a guide. A more accessible version is in Shelley, ed., Union Kommando, 258–70. His expanded memoir has been published in English, French, and German. Other memoirs (82, 203, 230, 253) in Shelley’s collection mention Greeks in the Union Kommando, not all of whom survived; cf. 32, where three Greek men were pushed by a guard into a basin of salicylic acid; the soldier laughed as they dissolved. 57.  Cf. Terrence Des Pres, The Survivor. 58.  On the optimism of the Greeks, cf. examples in Geve, Youth in Chains (1958; Jerusalem, 1981), 156–57. 59.  Personal interview, May 1996. 60.  Survival in Auschwitz (New York, 1971), 72. Some families managed to survive intact. For example, the men of the Negrin clan from Trikala were drafted for labor directly from the quarantine camp and so never experienced Birkenau. 61.  Salonique, Ville-mère en Israel, 310f. A Greek report on Stutthof is in Nahon, Birkenau; he was also in Echterdingen, Ordhuf (Klavinkal Lager), Buchenwald, and Dachau. 62.  Ibid, 312. Likely this language isolation was the reason for the choice of Greek Jews for the Warsaw detail (see Chapter 6). 63.  Against All Hope, passim. 64.  Cf. Carousso (Carasso), loc. cit.; and Makowski, Prisoners’ Hospital, 189. 65.  Handali, Greek Jew from Salonica Remembers, 111–12. Jonny Hüttner explained this policy in Crome, Unbroken, chap. 7; see Chapter 6, note 47. 66.  Cf. Buchenwald Report, passim. This report represents the only systematic debriefing of the survivors of a concentration camp and was compiled for the Allied High Command by a special Intelligence team; segments only were used at the Nuremberg Trials. 67.  Op. cit., 311. Another version has it that this occurred on Rosh Hashanah. 68.  Personal interview, May 1992. 69.  Interview with author, August 1988. Rabbi Halegua was at that time chief rabbi of Salonika. 70.  Refael, Shirat Hayyim (n.p. [Tel Aviv], 1997), passim; another version in Routes of Hell, 468–77. 71.  Cf. Nazi Medicine, III, 128. 72.  See Chapter 9. 73.  Cf. Eberhard Kolb, Bergen Belsen—Die Geschichte des “Aufenthaltslager” 1943–1945 (Hannover, 1962). 74.  The figure 74 is from In Memoriam; Weinberg remembered 78. Kolb, Bergen Belsen, lists 367 Spanish Jews on August 29, 1943, and a transport of 74 Greek Jews on August 2,

Notes to Chapter Eight 1943; to these were added 155 Spanish and 19 Portuguese Jews captured in Athens on March 25. Their car was detached from the Auschwitz transport and reached Bergen-Belsen four days later. 75.  The Greek survivors referred to Bergen-Belsen as “Camp Albala.” 76.  Abel J. Herzberg, Between Two Streams: A Diary from Bergen-Belsen (London, 1977) is more balanced and points out the failings of every group. Albala’s reputation is confirmed in the daily entries, while the vicissitudes of the “Prominenten” should qualify the survivors’ claim that they had an easy incarceration. The final deaths of many hundreds from typhus came after liberation in Tröbitz, some sixty kilometers east of Leipzig. 77.  Cf. In Memoriam, 322–23. Lists of these individuals can be found in the Joint Archives in Jerusalem. The diplomatic story behind their release to Spain has been told by Haim Avni, Spain, The Jews, and Franco (Philadelphia, 1982). 78.  He saved the leg of Werner Weinberg. 79.  The information from Rabbi Weinberg was obtained in an interview with him and his wife in 1986. His public memoir was published as “The Lost Transport.” Arie Koretz published a Hebrew version of the interesting diary he kept in the camp; the volume contains a photograph of the graveyard (Yomano shel na’ar; Tel Aviv: privately printed 1992); see my review in BJGS, no. 13, Winter 1993, 23–24.

Notes to Chapter Eight 1.  Aside from the regular traffic between Yugoslavia and Greece in the areas controlled by Tito and ELAS, there is a hint that the deportations from the Italian zone could have been delayed. Fitzroy Maclean, the main British contact with Tito, recalls that General Mihajlovic was ordered to destroy a strategic bridge on the Belgrade-Salonika railway but failed to implement the order because he was by then somewhere between ignoring the British and collaborating with the Germans (cf. his Escape to Adventure, Boston, 1950, 309). The Greek situation parallels that in Yugoslavia; there the forces of EDES were somewhat reluctant to engage the Germans and even entered into negotiations with enemy forces. 2.  We should remember the World War I nightmares that haunted Hitler and prompted Churchill. As well we might recall that Metaxas was a strategist during that war, and of course the Bulgarians had designs on Thrace that they would implement after the German conquest of 1941. 3.  Christos Zalocosta immortalized the successful, almost suicidal, defense of the Thracian border in his prose epic Rupel (Athens, 1945). Actually Rupel, the gateway to northern Greece via the Strymon valley, held out for four days from Apr. 6 to 10, 1941, and surrender came only after the occupation of Salonika, its defenders having killed more than 550 Germans while suffering only minimal casualties. The forces at Rupel were older troops; the youngest and strongest were sent to Albania. The defense of Rupel apparently determined Hitler’s decision to release the Greek POWs, which he announced in his speech of May 4, 1941. 4.  Mark Mazower assessed recent historiography in his review article “Historians at War: Greece, 1940–1950,” Historical Journal, 38 (1995), 499–506; and N. Marantzidis and G. Antoniou, “The Axis Occupation and Civil War: Changing Trends in Greek Historiography, 1941–2002,” Journal of Peace Research, 41(2004), 223–31. 5.  For one detailed report, see CZA S25/7852.



Notes to Chapter Eight 6.  Among the ongoing bibliography, see Christopher Buckley, Greece and Crete 1941 (1952, reprint Athens, 1984); John Hall Spencer, Battle for Crete (London, 1962); and The Battle of Crete 1941, ed. by David Holton (University of Cambridge, 1991). 7.  Laird Archer, Athens Journal 1940–1941: The Graeco-Italian and the Graeco-German Wars and the German Operation (Manhattan, KS, 1983), 106. 8.  Executions of Jews in Crete listed in NOKW-1783: six shot at Iraklion (July 5, 1943); another thirty-three were shot in reprisal. 9.  Myers’s interview with author in 1987, where he alluded to a Sephardi ancestor in the seventeenth century. Myers’s memoir of 1955, Greek Entanglement, was expanded and reprinted (Gloucester, 1985). Woodhouse’s Apple of Discord (London, 1948) was supplemented in a series of subsequent studies. In our interview in 1987, Woodhouse could not recall any Greek Jews in his command during the period after September 1943 when he replaced Myers as the senior British officer with the Resistance. Yet his pay roster, located in the Liddell Hart Archive at King’s College, London, lists several Greek Jews (see note 47) employed as translators. 10.  The Axis retaliated by shooting hostages amid the wreckage, according to photographs at King’s College. (One of the victims listed on the monument seems to have a Jewish name: Sab. Sapheka.) Jewish forced laborers from Salonika were sent to repair the conduit; among them was the brother-in-law of Salomon Matalon, who later escaped and helped mine the roads with the Resistance (personal interview). It has been claimed that Jews were involved in the Gorgopotamos affair, but the order of the day cited by Isaac Kabelli has never been found. A Palestinian POW claimed in 1943 that one Jew participated in the raid (CZA S25/7852). (Myers’s radioman was a Palestinian Jew.) Michael Matsas, who did independent research on the Greek Jews in the Resistance, disavows any Greek Jewish participation. 11.  A bridge over the Aliakmon was destroyed by a British-American-ELAS joint venture in 1944 (see note 113). Cf. NA. State Department Archives 862.504/836 noting two Todt Labor battalions in Salonika and Greek laborers sent to repair the Gorgopotamos Bridge. 12.  NOKW 1397. Report by Lt. Col. Boehncke (Wehrmacht operations Staff). 13.  Sam Modiano gave a devastating critique of Zervas in an interview with Karen McKay in 1977: I have never trusted Zervas as a chief because Zervos [sic] was . . . running during the war . . . most of the gambling places . . . under the claim that . . . he was [supplying] . . . Italian intelligence information about [those] betraying them. . . . The British were pressing him to go up [to the] hills and organize his own national guerilla corps, the EDES, and he was resisting . . . until the day . . . he was warned by the British that if he didn’t leave within a month time, no more money was [forthcoming]. . . . [How] I laughed with Chris [i.e., Woodhouse] when the [DSO award] was given. . . . Zervos was given for each one of [his] men five gold sovereigns . . . allegedly to fight against the Germans. In matter of fact, they did nothing. They were fighting against the ELAS-EAM [Deposited in Hebrew University, Institute of Contemporary Jewry, OralHistory Division, Tape No. c/1361-C-1366]. 14.  At the same time, Hitler sent General Rommel to Greece to report on the military situation there. He arrived on July 25 in the heat of a Salonika summer and was less than impressed by the situation described by Colonel-General Löhr, who complained about the­ar-

Notes to Chapter Eight my’s reliance on imported supplies. In the midst of his tour of inspection, Rommel, already decided that the German divisions should be under his direct command “by interpolating a German Corps H.Q.,” was informed that Mussolini was under arrest. He was immediately recalled to the Fuehrer’s HQ and ordered to prepare for a possible invasion of Italy; cf. The Rommel Papers, ed. B. H. Liddell Hart (London, 1953; Arrow, 1987), 431. 15.  Cf. Nigel Clive, A Greek Experience 1943–1948 (1985), supplemented in interview with author. 16.  NA. OSS. Entry 99, Box 36. Item 184. History of 2671st Special Recon Battalion. Their story has not yet been told, although some of their activity seems to have been claimed by Greek and British veterans. Further information is available in Bowman, Jewish Resistance in Wartime Greece, passim. 17.  Elucidated by Hondros, Occupation and Resistance, and Mazower, Inside Hitler’s Greece. 18.  A contingent of three hundred Italians surrendered to a Jew, who was acting secretary for the andartes on a mission to Kriekouki (cf. map in Sarafis, ELAS, 95) to recruit Italian support for ELAS after Italy’s withdrawal from the war. After he marched them back to camp, he was promoted to Kapetan Makkabaios. Story related to author by Marcel Yoel, a friend of the Kapetan (Into Shimshi), who resided in Israel until his recent demise; Shimshi subsequently supplied me with documentation about his service with ELAS. See Bowman, Jewish Resistance in Wartime Greece, chapter 4. 19.  Interview with Jacob Furst (1988), who was the interpreter for such negotiations in Chalkidiki. Manfred Messerschmidt of the Waldheim Commission recounted to me (November 1994) his interview with Falk Harnack, a Wehrmacht radio sergeant whose brother was shot by the Germans as a Russian spy. Harnack, angered by this injustice, went to the Greek Resistance and told them that the 999 battalions were made up of political prisoners and “socialists.” He advised the Resistance to entice them to desert and allow them to fight only against SS battalions. This meeting happened perhaps in the summer of 1943. 20.  An elite, somewhat “praetorian” unit, which wore the traditional “fustanella” garb of the anti-Ottoman klephts. 21.  My thanks to Mark Mazower for this reference. 22.  Modiano, op. cit, recalls the harrowing experience of Dick Benveniste, nephew of Aelia Modiano (?), who was in the hills with several other Jews. When he began to sing “It’s a long way to Tipperary,” he was ordered to stop with the threat of facing a firing squad. The “brutal man” explained that the song proved him to be a traitor who sold out to the British. Modiano claims that Russia sent special agents to infiltrate EAM-ELAS. The following pages are drawn from my Jewish Resistance in Wartime Greece (London, 2006). 23.  Jacob (Yanni) Furst was adamant that everyone in his outfit knew he was a foreign Jew (interview in 1987) and that ELAS was eager to save Jews. Other Jews did also; for examples see my Jewish Resistance, passim. 24.  A translation of “A Report of the Central Committee of the EAM on the Jews of Greece and the Liberation Struggle” (NYC, Joint Archives, “Greece,” cf. 2) indicates widespread EAM activity to warn and recruit Salonikan Jews. EAM’s assistance to and recruitment of Jews in Athens is supported by the testimonies of a number of Jewish escapees (cf. “The Situation of the Jews in Greece” issued by the World Jewish Congress in February 1944, 6) and the OSS report reproduced in Alexander Kitroeff, War-Time Jews: The Case of Athens (Athens, 1995), 114. Also the testimony of Alberto Amarilio names a number of EAM politicians in Athens who aided Jews to escape ( Jewish Resistance, 41ff).



Notes to Chapter Eight 25.  Tzimas was one of the five members of the Central Committee of EAM; cf. Myers, Greek Entanglement, passim; the latter recalled this impression in our interview. 26.  Eva Gani of Volos, a Greek-speaking Romaniot Jew, slipped across the narrows separating Volos from Euboea and scattered seven members of her family among the villages. Fourteen members of the Molho family of Salonika escaped to Skopelos, where they spent the war (see Chapter 4). 27.  ELAS, s.v. Jews. 28.  See, for example, Kitroeff, War-Time Jews, 67. Evert and other Greek police were honored by Yad Vashem for their efforts. We have already seen (Chapter 3) the close relations between Maniadakis and some leading Jews in Athens during the Metaxas period; no doubt they continued during the occupation. 29.  Cf. testimony of Christopher Christodoulou, modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=6327, for his experience in Haidari Prison. 30.  Personal interview (1988). Hammond sent a full report on the Jewish situation to Cairo. He glosses over this material in his Venture into Greece with the Guerrillas 1943–1944 (London, 1983), 65, and his The Allied Military Mission and the Resistance in West Macedonia (Thessaloniki: Institute for Balkan Studies, 1993). 31.  The question was seriously discussed in 1944, however, once it became an issue with the U.S. War Refugee Board. For local ramifications, see Bowman, Jewish Resistance in Wartime Greece, chap. 3. 32.  NA. OSS. Entry 99. Box 45. Item 215b. Field Report of Maj. James H. Oliver, who taught ancient history at Columbia University before the war. He received his information from Lt. Col. John Metaxas and his adjutant Lt. Tsoukias. 33.  Saul Friedlander, Pius XII and the Third Reich (New York: Knopf, 1966), 144, cites in the name of Zalman Shragai (Chief Rabbi Herzog’s Rescue Mission, in Hebrew, Jerusalem, 1947, 6): “According to information supplied to the Chief Rabbi of Palestine, the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople sent a note to all Bishops in the Balkans and in Central Europe, enjoining them to help the Jews with all the means in their power and to proclaim in the churches that concealing Jews was a sacred duty.” Partially cited in the context of the Western churches and their relationship to the Nazis by Thomas A. Idionopulos, Betrayal of Spirit (Aurora, CO, 2007), 158. It is unclear from Friedlander’s citation whether Rabbi Herzog requested aid or the patriarch sent the note on his own, or even when the meeting occurred. More accurately, the book is simply called Massa hahatzalah (Shevet 1946–Tishre 1947); no author or editor listed on title page! (A postscript: “thanks go to Itzhak Goldshlag for assistance with editing the material,” and so he is listed as editor of the book in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem catalogue. The reader should search the book under its title, however, for greater success.) Shragai wrote (5–8) an introductory summary of the trip that took place at the beginning of 1944 rather than the beginning of 1943 as originally planned. On page 6, Shragai writes that while in Turkey the rabbi established close connections with the representatives of the U.S. and Britain and “strengthened his previous contacts with the Greek Orthodox church whose spiritual authority extended throughout southeastern Europe, and also with the Vatican in Rome. Following the rabbi’s request, the Greek Patriarch in Istanbul commanded all the priests in the Balkans obedient to him to announce in all the churches the sacred responsibility to save Jews from their persecutors and to hide them until the calamity passed. The patriarch turned even to the royal houses in those countries and requested them to use all their influence for the purpose of saving our brethren. The

Notes to Chapter Eight considerable aid that the Orthodox Church put forth and which saved tens of thousands of Jews is well known to us today.” He continues with thanks to the Nuncio Msgr. Roncalli for his assistance and conduit to the pope. However accurate is Shragai’s assessment of the effect of the patriarch’s efforts, the translated passage is an exact rendering of his contemporary statement about the patriarch. I have not yet obtained a copy of the patriarch’s letter. 34.  Michael Matsas gave the figure as 138 certificates. See the testimony of Christodoulou for the actual procedure, note 29. 35.  My thanks to Robert Bedford for a copy of Henry Levy’s memoir “The Jews of Salonica and the Holocaust,” which he deposited at Yale University. On page 8 he recounts meeting in the Eptapyrgio prison in Salonika an andarte, “a young priest from a small village near Polygyros [who] admitted to and apologized for his misconceptions regarding the Jewish people. It was hard for him to believe that we were Jews because his religious teachings portrayed us as criminals and manipulators and ‘where were our long noses.’ ” 36.  As late as the 1970s, one could still hear the Bishop of Florina fulminate against Communists, Jews, and Jehovah’s Witnesses as the arch-enemies of the Greek Orthodox Church. 37.  Even so Asher Moissis accuses him of blocking an overt migration of Salonikan Jews before the German occupation: “The Nazis entered Sofia and I left Salonika on March 3, 1941. I took along with me Isaac Angel, President of the Zionist Federation of Greece. I told others to leave and many wanted to leave for Athens and several families began to leave. But Maniadakis, seeing the Jewish families leaving for Athens, sent a confidential order to Salonika police to forbid the departure of the Jews from Salonika. The police sold tickets only to Christians. Many Jews would have left.” (YVS E/1147). The question arises as to why Maniadakis sent such an order. What did Moissis mean by tickets, given that no memoir or other source mentions a restriction on railroad ticket sales? Was Maniadakis influenced by the number of Central European Jewish refugees in Athens (see Chapter 2)? Is there any connection with the Jewish leaders who were burdened by those refugees? Is there any hint of political or cultural anti-Semitism here? Is there any German pressure to stabilize the Jewish population? A number of questions need to be resolved before reading Moissis’s damning statement at face value. Later in his report, he elaborates on this and places the blame on both the Nazis’ “satanically clever and well studied plan” and the Jews themselves, who “gave greater value to the power of money”: “Before the Nazis entered Salonika, the fear of the Jews was great but they could not leave because of the order of Maniadakis. But when the Nazis entered and allowed them freedom for two years the people were fooled.” 38.  Interview in 1988 with request for anonymity. 39.  Related by Michael Matsas. 40.  The story is told in detail in Bowman, Jewish Resistance in Wartime Greece, chap. 3. 41.  Ari Caratzes related the family story to me in 1990 and again in 1994. 42.  Personal interview, June 1996. Alvo could not identify who supplied the caique; he joined the Greek air force when he arrived in Cairo. His brother Danny and Izo Tazartes also escaped by boat to Turkey. 43.  Mrs. Sciaki recalled this tragedy in our 1989 interview. She and her husband escaped to Turkey via an ELAS-supplied caique. Marcel Yoel informed me that his father fortuitously chose not to leave on a caique arranged by the Resistance, and this one subsequently sank (letter in author’s possession).



Notes to Chapter Eight 44.  Cf. S. Bowman, “Joseph Matsas and the Greek Resistance,” JHD 17 (1991), 49–53; and Joseph Matsas, “The Participation of the Greek Jews in the National Resistance, 1940– 1944,” ibid., 55–68. See Jewish Resistance in Wartime Greece for additional data. 45.  Even this estimate may be low. The report of an escaped Palestinian Jewish POW who fought with the Resistance until late August 1943 estimates some forty to fifty thousand in the Resistance, of whom about three thousand were Jews, mostly Salonikans who escaped during the deportations [CZA S25/7852]. For the story of the Bulgarian Jewish intellectual Saul Mezan, who was rescued in a Resistance-organized jailbreak from Ioannina and probably died fighting with a mixed band in Albania, see B. Arditi’s report in Ozar Yehudei Sepharad 4 (1961), 168–69 (in Hebrew). The percentage of Jews among the Yugoslavian partisans was even higher. 46.  In his Illusion of Safety. 47.  Liddell Hart Centre for Military Archives at King’s College London contains the wartime reports of Myers and Woodhouse. The latter’s “Nominal Rolls Force 133” dated August 1944 (Woodhouse III/4-5) include, among the list of forty-seven honorary commissions, the names of Jack Benveniste (joined A.M.M. Sept. 28, 1943) and Samuel Allalouf (joined Nov. 10, 1943); and among the fifty noncommissioned those of John Besas (joined June 1, 1943) and Maurice Cazes (joined Oct. 9, 1943). In our interview, the Honorable Christopher Woodhouse (formerly an MP) could not recall meeting any Jews during his service in the Greek mountains. It is unlikely that those using their Jewish names or Christian aliases would have brought the issue to his attention. On the other hand, Michael Ward (Greek Assignments: SOE 1943–1948 UNSCOB, Athens, 1992, 75–76) notes two Jewish sisters who escaped from Salonika and made their way to HQ Neraïda, where they sought sanctuary; others, he notes, served as interpreters. Cf. Fischmann sisters in Jewish Resistance in Wartime Greece, 106–7. 48.  As Judith Humphrey informed me, based on his YVA testimony of 1967. Two Jewish girls apparently served as couriers in Chania. 49.  Cf. Haim Politis in Novitch, Passage des barbares, and later in this chapter for the story of Fanny Florentin. 50.  The first was in October 1941 (see G. Engel, Heeresadjutant bei Hitler 1938–1943 (Stuttgart, 1974), 111) and the second was published by Jonathan Steinberg, All or Nothing, 214. 51.  Hella Kounio in her 1989 interview with Moses Altsech notes the colonel who headed the Geheime Feldpolizei had a room in her house. 52.  Personal interview in 1989. There was no mention of an organizational structure behind this act. 53.  Testimony of Alhi Refael in Lo Nishkach 11 (1996), 13. Armed adults protected the young boys and girls, who in their eagerness used their own blood when the paint ran out. 54.  He published a literary version of his exploits in Ptyches (Athens, 1968). See Jewish Resistance in Wartime Greece, 73, for further details. 55.  Rafael Halevi succeeded him. The Germans first appointed the accountant Saby Saltiel and later in December 1942 installed Rabbi Koretz as president of the community despite the protests of the community leaders. Further details of his career are in S.  Bowman, “The Contribution of Asher Raphael Moissis,” Studies in Bibliography and Booklore 12 (1979), 25–27. 56.  Besantsi was editor of Le Progrès in Salonika. His house, according to Henry Levy, became a Gestapo jail.

Notes to Chapter Eight 57.  Ventura was the first Jewish Communist elected to the Greek Parliament. Greek newsmen who were actually undercover police agents captured him in Crete. 58.  The region bounded by the streets St. Constantin, Piraeus, and Iera Odos included the quarters of Botanikos and St. George. 59.  Nikolaos Louvaris (who served as minister of communication, of welfare, and of education during the occupation) presided over a council of nine professors (they met in the building where General Drakos lived on Odos Nikis) that commissioned these works on the recommendation of the university. 60.  The general secretary of EAM (identified only as Hatzi) agreed to a special edition of Eleftheri Ellada (edited by Kostas Vidalis, who was also a friend of Sam Modiano’s) on the persecution of Salonika Jewry, but according to Shibi the project was cancelled after some Athenian Jews expressed their fears of making themselves obvious. Cf. his memoir in Novitch, Passage des barbares. 61.  So Modiano identified the organization; his memory may have been faulty on this point. 62.  Smuts, according to his son ( Jan Christian Smuts, London, 1952, 414–15) spent some time in Cairo and generally throughout the war looked after Greek affairs. Further research might clarify this episode. 63.  Ventura was Modiano’s subeditor at Modiano’s French language newspaper l’Independant until Metaxas shut it down in 1940. Modiano says there were one hundred Jews in the police unit; another source lists two hundred. 64.  Modiano claims that the Italian consulate in Salonika was working with the British, who had their own agent in the consulate under the alias of Alfred Rosenberg. He could not recall whether it was MO4 or MO5. Actually Rosenberg’s first name was Riccardo, and he was with the Italian secret service. Cf. “Excerpts from the Salonika Diary of Lucillo Merci (February–August 1943),” compiled by Joseph Rochlitz with introduction by Menahem Shelach, Yad Vashem Studies, Vol. 17 (Jerusalem, 1987). See critique of this article by Daniel Carpi, “Salonika During the Holocaust, a New Approach,” note 23. Steinberg’s extensive research in the Italian sources (All or Nothing, 99) produced no clue to his identity. The latest critical research on Riccardo Rosenberg in Carpi, 280–89, explicates some questions and raises tantalizing others. 65.  Karen McKay interviewed Modiano in July 1977. Her tapes and a transcript are in the Institute of Contemporary Jewry, Oral History Division, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem along with the original tapes (no. C/1361-C/1366). I had several meetings with Modiano in 1972 and 1973. Modiano was interviewed in depth by Richard Capell in late 1944 (Simiomata: A Greek Note Book 1944–1945, London, n.d. [1945?]). Further details in Carpi’s Italian Diplomatic Documents, which supplies the documentary sources to critique such memoirs as Modiano’s and others. 66.  State of Israel, Ministry of Justice, The Trial of Adolf Eichmann: Record of Proceedings in the District Court of Jerusalem, II (republished Jerusalem, 1992), 847–48; the Hebrew version was published in Zikhron Saloniki; Frankiski Ampatzopoulou edited the Greek text Giomtob Giakoel, Apomnimoneumata 1941–1943 (Thessaloniki, 1993). English translation of his memoir by Isaac Benmayor in The Holocaust in Salonika: Eyewitness Accounts, ed. by S. Bowman (New York, 2002). Unfortunately he was arrested in midsentence, yet for some reason the manuscript was not confiscated. It is not a diary or a memoir (as in the Hebrew and Greek editions) but rather should be read as an apologetic reflection on events and



Notes to Chapter Eight personalities before the deportations. Yacoel was, after all, a central figure as lawyer for the community. It was he who drew up documents, interacted with officials, and apparently prepared the schedule of neighborhoods for deportation (the actual notes, in his hand, are extant, as related to me by Heinz Kounio). A full study of his role is a desideratum. See introduction to Greek edition for preliminary survey. 67.  In April 1942, he came to Salonika and promised, “Nothing will happen to you, you are Greeks, we are all brothers and sisters, you are the children of our Beloved (Patrida) Country, many of you died and were wounded fighting the enemy.” Cited by Henry Levy, op. cit. 68.  Yad Vashem E/1187. 69.  Constantine Tsaldaris, leader of the Populist Party, and active member of prewar and postwar Greek governments. 70.  It is interesting to note that Rallis said almost the same thing to Edgar Thomashausen after the deportations of the Athenian Jews (interview with author in 1988). 71.  In our December 1994 interview, Bennahmias reported that he worked for Moissis after the war and that such aggressive action was well within the bounds of his character. 72.  Moissis also “asked Logothetopoulos to order Simonides [governor of Macedonia] not to work with the Nazis for this purpose [the destruction of the Jewish cemetery]. Logothetopoulos told Moissis that he would send Simonides a telegram, and ask him for a report of the deportation of the Jews, but Simonides not only did not obey the orders but he did not send a report. He remained in office as governor until the liberation” (YVA E/1187). 73.  George Kafandaris, active in prewar and postwar Greek governments. 74.  Mazower attributes the change in government to the instability caused by demonstrations (Inside Hitler’s Greece, 120). 75.  Actually it was the Jewish wife of George Politis who pleaded for assistance during an underground meeting of Greek intellectuals, professionals, and politicians hosted by the archbishop. They all signed on behalf of their organizations in a protest that perhaps is unique for occupied Europe. See Matsas, Illusion of Safety, 55–56. 76.  According to Asher Moissis, “Coretz was removed when he went to see Rallis because the Nazis saw that he was not the blind instrument for the Nazis and they appointed Albala” (YVS E/1187). 77.  In Chapter 9 we see what efforts were required to elicit these statements. 78.  Guinzach Saloniki (Archives Saloniciennes), Fasc. A, ed. Barouh Ouziel (Tel Aviv, 1961), 90–92. An English version prepared after our interview with the rabbi is in the Gennadeion Library in Athens. 79.  Joseph Ben, “Jewish Leadership in Greece During the Holocaust,” Patterns of Jewish Leadership in Nazi Europe 1933–1945 (Jerusalem, Yad Vashem, 1980), 335–53. 80.  He was aide de camp (ADC) to Modiano in Salonika and, after coming to Athens, befriended the chief of Italian intelligence. On the difficulties surrounding the term “Rosenberg Kommando,” see note 64 and Carpi’s comments on pages 280-81. Modiano’s memory may have been influenced by his reading of Molho and Nehama, In Memoriam; alternatively the term, regardless of its historical accuracy, had entered the discourse of Greek Jews as noted by Carpi. 81.  Vidalis told Modiano the story after the escape had been made. Cf. Modiano interview, op. cit. 82.  According to Mary Noah, the wife of one of these men (Isidore Noah), whom I interviewed in 1990, they were prepared to use their weapons on the rabbi. As Shibi told me

Notes to Chapter Eight in 1972, “One more rabbi or less would not be missed; but it was important that he leave.” In a letter to Michael Matsas, Shibi ascribed this statement to Joseph Nehama. 83.  Cf. FO 371/43689, 236ff dated July 21–22, 1944; Matsas, Illusion of Safety, 113–14. 84.  Michael Matsas has suggested a figure no higher than four Jews, mostly physicians, with EDES. There were others, as noted in Jewish Resistance in Wartime Greece, where more details on this section can be found. 85.  Joseph Matsas, “Participation,” 66–67. 86.  On these individuals, see Michael Matsas, Illusion of Safety, index s.v.; and my Jewish Resistance in Wartime Greece. 87.  In 1919, many of the Jewish workers began to support the Socialist Federation of Labor organized by Abraham Benaroya; cf. Joshua Starr, “The Socialist Federation of Saloniki,” Jewish Social Studies, 7 (1945), 323–36. Some later joined the Greek Communist Party. Those Jews who had become Communists, mostly from the poorer working classes (such as tobacco workers) of Salonika, were drawn to the movement during the 1936 strikes. In 1940, following Moscow’s lead, the KKE called to support Greece (albeit still “monarcho-fascist” Greece) against Italian Fascism, and most remained to fight in the mountains. 88.  YVA 03/4542; he estimates some five hundred Jews with the andartes by the end of April 1943. Many of them had combat experience in Albania, and during the winter they left Salonika and other German occupied towns for the mountains. EAM organized support for their families through EPON. See Jewish Resistance in Wartime Greece, chap. 2 for his service as a kapetan and politikos. 89.  See Jewish Resistance in Wartime Greece, chap. 3 and the essay on her at She was forced to leave Greece after the war under threat of imprisonment. A number of male and female andartes went to Palestine in the years following the war. 90.  Bea Lewkowicz, The Jewish Community of Salonika: History, Memory, Identity (London, 2006), mentions an andartissa named Alici Pitson and also the husband of Lili Molho. Hari Gadol, according to his son Ljubomir, printed Communist materials during the occupation. When he was arrested, his boss posted bail. The KKE gave him a list to recruit Jews for the andartes and convince them to take their families to the safety of the mountains. He took with him foreign press materials on the Holocaust to convince them, but to no avail. Unfortunately no one accepted his offers. He, his wife Mara, and her sister Vukosava Sedlaric joined an andartes “brigade” near the Macedonian border. The women were allowed only to be nurses. When they defended the hospital during an Italian raid, they were publicly praised, and Mara was rewarded with a weapon, thus becoming the first armed andartissa. The three served also as translators when Svetozar Vukmanovic, tempo of the Yugoslav Central Committee, came to talk with Markos Vafiades. Hari and Mara joined the Macedonian partisans at the end of 1942, Hari as a commander and translator for Tito and Mara as political commissar. Vukosava remained a nurse and was twice wounded (private communication from their son, May 2006). 91.  Zak Behar, one of many witnesses, was cited in Novitch, Passage des barbares, 68. 92.  Her father, Alberto Carasso, was shot as a hostage on Dec. 30, 1943, with forty-three Greek Christians in retaliation for the blowing up of a bridge. His twin brother was shot on May 1, 1944, along with 199 Greek Christians. The two twins are buried in two mass graves in a Christian cemetery. 93.  For parallels cf. Ismail Kadare, Chronicle in Stone (London, 1987) and the Ioannina story in Chapter 4.



Notes to Chapter Eight 94.  YVA 03/0544. She recalled only one other Jew in the mountains, Albert Preznalis of Serres. This shows that the Christian disguises adopted by Jews in the mountains and the false papers supplied by EAM or ELAS were so effective that, unless Jews knew each other personally, there was no way for any individual, participant, or scholar to get an accurate count of the Jewish story in the mountains. 95.  Sarafis, ELAS, 167 identifies the 50th Katerini Regiment, its kapetanios (military commander) Lieutenant Kikitsas and EAM representative Markos Vafiades. The latter recruited Joseph Matsas and other young Jews of Salonika. After August 1943, Colonel Kalambakis became military commander. 96.  Yosef Ben, Yehudei yavan bashoah uvahitnagdut 1941–1944 (Greek Jews during the Holocaust and Resistance; Tel Aviv, 1985), 130–32, contains a partial summary of YVA 03/2149/145. 97.  In a 1988 interview with the author. See notes 2 and 3 and text there. 98.  Other 999 units did guard duty on Zakynthos and Rhodes and elsewhere in 1944. The fate of the Jews of those islands was completely opposite, the former surviving and the latter being deported to their destruction. Hence these units (drawn from the generic Strafbattalion, consisting primarily of political prisoners) have to be judged individually vis-à-vis their actions. 99.  The Bashibazook exploit of P. L. Fermor et al. in the kidnapping of the German commander of Crete led to pro forma execution of a number of Cretan hostages, including several Jews. For an early report on Soviet POWs in mainland Greece, see NARA 226/190/2 folio 25. A number of Soviet Jewish POWs in Crete participated in that action. See Jewish Resistance in Wartime Greece, 72n, for further data. 100.  Additionally, Smuts continuously emphasized to Churchill and Roosevelt the importance of Africa and the Middle East. With the former he had much in common in this position; not so with the latter. 101.  One should note here the parallel to the situation in Yugoslavia, where the peasants in Tito’s area asked for no quarter and gave none. On the other hand, in Mihailovich’s area there was a tendency to passive or active collaboration with the occupiers by those who preferred to survive the war rather than defeat the Axis occupiers. Zervas’s actions seem to fall in the latter category. 102.  It is not improbable that the Italian option was as much a function of opportunity (Algeria to Tunisia to Sicily to Rome) as it was a function of domestic American politics, which had a larger Italian and Catholic population. The highly decorated Nisei brigade, for example, constituted from American-born Japanese, was willing to suffer incredible casualties to prove their loyalty on any European front. Even so, the United States did recruit a small American Greek unit, which served in Greece during summer 1944; unfortunately the latter’s story has not yet been told. See further in Jewish Resistance in Wartime Greece, 69–70, 93n; also Patrick K. O’Donnell, Operatives, Spies, and Saboteurs (New York, 2004), chap. 7 and 234–36. The British perspective, which (traditionally) saw the U.S. attitude as opposition to British influence in the Balkans, is already articulated in Chester Wilmot, The Struggle for Europe (London, 1952). 103.  Cf. Hondros, Occupation and Resistance, and Mazower, Inside Hitler’s Greece. A useful outline can be found in German Antiguerrilla Operations in the Balkans (1941–1944), CMH Publication 104-18, passim. 104.  Cf. Pinakes Katastrophon Oikodomon tes Hellados [Lists of Destroyed Greek Homes].

Notes to Chapter Eight Newly declassified OSS records contain lists of atrocities, forwarded by the Greek government in Cairo to Washington. 105.  Slavophones in Macedonia organized and armed by the Germans. 106.  On August 1, 1943, it was decided to establish the school, and each headquarters and general command (later designated divisions and regiments) was to supply 30 andartes. The class of 136 graduated after a month; the second class began on October 1 with 300 cadets. Cf. ELAS, 154 and 176. Each graduate became a platoon leader with the rank of second lieutenant. 107.  Daisy Carasso (YVA 03/4542) gives a date of July 23, 1944, which is supported by Joseph Matsas, his synagonistes, who records, op. cit., 65, his other exploits; Sarafis, ELAS, records two incidents at Muharrem Hani (15 kilometers from Edessa in Macedonia) on July 28 (five ELAS dead) and August 6 (two ELAS dead). Sarafis records 24 German dead, but local Greek sources published a figure of 250 German dead (for the latter, cf. Mosheh Yitzhak’s memoir in YVA 03/4542). His sister reported that Greek students working at the Paulo Melas prison gave him his father’s watch and admonished him to go to the mountains and avenge his father. 108.  Joseph Matsas, op. cit., 66. 109.  Joseph Matsas dates this to July 2, 1944; cf. Sarafis, ELAS, 447 (date incorrect) for details. Matsas recalls the klephtiko lyrics of Hadjis’s men: “Skoufas is going to war along with brave andartes.” Apparently he was killed after his capture; see Jewish Resistance in Wartime Greece for further details. 110.  Interview with author in spring 1996. See now his memoir, Ellinas, evraios kai aristeros (Skopelos, Greece, 2000). 111.  ELAS had a tripartite leadership for each unit consisting of a military leader, a representative of EAM, and a kapetan. A section had three leaders, a six-man machine gun crew, and six skirmishers, that is, fifteen men; a platoon consisted of three sections; a company of three or four platoons, a battalion of three or four companies, and a regiment of three or four battalions. The whole army was eventually organized in at least seven divisions and a number of specialized brigades (cf. ELAS, 156, 166–67). The army was structured to be “light and mobile,” with emphasis on small guerrilla missions of sabotage and ambush. 112.  Sarafis ends his litany of actions on Oct. 31, 1944. None of these actions are listed by Sarafis, who admits that his extensive list is only partial. Further data are available in Jewish Resistance in Wartime Greece, chap. 2. 113.  Partial lists have been published by Joseph Matsas, Joseph Ben, Michael Matsas, and most recently in Jewish Resistance in Wartime Greece, 97–121. 114.  ELAS, 443; Steyrs are Austrian submachine guns. 115.  Joseph Matsas, op. cit., 65. The discrepancy in casualty figures may be due to the decision to take no German prisoners, and those captured were shot. Memoirs in Matsas, Illusion of Safety, 274–78. The SS dead are ironically buried in the German war cemetery at Marathon. 116.  Leon recalls meeting American Greek commandos at Veskoti in 1944. He participated as a mortar specialist in the destruction of the Aliakmon bridge in a combined British-American-ELAS venture. He declined to attend the officer training course when he began to suspect Communist control over the andartes. After witnessing several popular trials, in one of which an old Greek rightist and a Jewish musician were condemned to be



Notes to Chapter Nine shot (about thirty-six voted yes and four Jews voted no), Leon asked to be sent to the front and served at Deskati near Lamia with five or six other andartes. Both Flora and Leon identified several andartes during our 1990 interview: the fighters Chico Cohen; Morris Aji, who received a head wound during an attack on a village; and Morris Florentin (Flora’s brother), who was wounded at the Battle of Karyes and whose leg was saved by Dr. ­L ambrakis (the latter’s murder in Salonika was the subject of the book and film Z); Sabi ­Barsano and Morris Haim (a student medic), who voted no along with Leon and Flora at the aforementioned trial. 117.  In our 1990 interview, he recalled that he fought alongside Leon Florentin with a mobile unit armed with heavy machine guns (and 1917 Mausers) in Albania; both he and Leon were mortar specialists with ELAS, whose telemetry they adjusted from American supplies. 118.  Joseph Matsas introduced Fanny Florentin’s story in his 1982 lecture. In our interview, she recalled the execution in Paulos Melas of Jack Capon, who had published a newspaper for EAM. 119.  See Jewish Resistance in Wartime Greece, chap. 3. Systematic interviews with Jewish survivors in Greece is a desideratum, for example with Kapetan Byron, who resides on a small island near Euboea, about whom I learned from his relative in Dor, Israel.

Notes to Chapter Nine 1.  Cf. Bernard Wasserstein, Britain and the Jews of Europe, 1939–1945 (Oxford, 1979), and Chapter 2. 2.  The anti-Jewish legislation passed during the war was dictated by the Germans. For local government in Salonika during the war, see Chapter 8 and Apostolou, “Exception of Salonika,” 165–96. 3.  See now Katerina Lagos, “The Metaxas Dictatorship and Greek Jewry, 1936–1941,” Journal of Modern Hellenism 23–24 (2006–07), 45–80. 4.  Interview in June 1996. See Rabinowitz, Soldiers from Judea, 62–63. 5.  Friedlander’s reference to this letter sent to the Orthodox bishops in the Balkans cites Zalman Shragai’s report (published in Jerusalem 1947) that mentions the visit to Turkey by the Chief Ashkenazi Rabbi of Mandate Palestine Isaac Herzog in 1944 to seek aid for Jews in German-occupied countries. It was during this trip that he approached the patriarch. If this datum is valid and Rabbi Herzog met with Patriarch Benjamin, it represents another instance when the Greeks responded to a Jewish request in a positive act. See as well note 33 in Chapter 8. By a curious coincidence, Rabbi Herzog declined the offer to be the chief rabbi of Salonika a decade earlier and just prior to the offer of the office to Rabbi Koretz. 6.  CICR for Comité International de la Croix Rouge. See Jean-Claude Favez, The Red Cross and the Holocaust (Cambridge University Press, (1999) pp. 168–71 for Greece. 7.  Since 1941, der Bevollmächtige für Erdölfragen im Südosten and in 1942 appointed as Sonderbeauftragter des Reiches für wirtschaftsliche und finanzielle Fragen in Griechenland. Cf. his apologetic memoir Sonderauftrag Südost: Bericht eines fliegenden Diplomaten (­Göttingen, 1956). Naturally, he has some keen observations on the economics and diplomacy of the situation; cf. 74ff. 8.  Listed as a “police dossier” in CICR files. 9.  Cf. Cincinnati Judaica Review IV (1993); reprinted in Thetis 3 (1996).

Notes to Chapter Nine 10.  CZA, L22/15 letter of J. Linton, Jewish Agency in London, May 20, 1942. The British Foreign Office approached the Swiss Government with regard to transferal of Jewish children from Hungary and Rumania to Palestine (Bundesarchiv Bern 2001 D 3 Box 103. Letter dated Apr. 22, 1942, referring to Mar. 4 enquiry). On Mar. 6 the head of the Division of Foreign Affairs noted that Germans would not oppose such transfer; rather, it would be impossible to get visas for Palestine or countries of transfer. But “for reasons of humanity and certain political considerations, we shall do it.” 11.  CZA, L22/15, Lausanne to Zionist Organization Geneva, Mar. 31, 1943, notes rumors of Bulgarian attempts to deport Jews from Thrace and Macedonia to the Reich and queries whether some Jews will be allowed to go to Palestine. Ibid., L/22/59 contains a series of telegrams from Barlow in Istanbul regarding rescue of Balkan children. Cf. also L22/35, letter of Oct. 26, 1942, to Jewish Agency in London. Also cf. S6/3378 dated July 17, 1942, on a telegram from London about British government agreement to transfer children from Greece and other countries, albeit without direct British involvement. 12.  She was a Greek and his second wife. 13.  See Paul A. Levine, From Indifference to Activism. Swedish Diplomacy and the Holocaust; 1938–1944 (Uppsala, 1998). 14.  CZA, S5/5282. Letter to Prof. Selig Brodetsky in London, July 24, 1933. 15.  Ibid., S25/5282, letter dated Nov. 6, 1934. 16.  CZA, S5/2203. The two Salonika memorial books by Molho and Rekanati have extensive entries on Zionism in Salonika, contrary to recent scholarship downplaying Zionism in Salonika. 17.  Ibid., Jan. 17, 1936. 18.  CZA, S5/4521, Jan. 30, 1938. 19.  Ibid. 20.  Ibid., June 10, 1938. 21.  Ibid., July 5, 1938. 22.  CZA, S6/3757, June 16, 1938. 23.  CZA, S6/4572, correspondence from July 24–31, 1938. The Arab Revolt, following the Arab Strike called by Haj Amin el Husanyi, the grand mufti of Mandate Palestine, had crippled the Arab orange growers over the past two years, and the Jewish settlers needed extra workers for their increased markets. The Salonika archive in YIVO retains some of the correspondence with Pardes. 24.  CZA, S6/3757, letters of Dec. 15, 1937, and June 9, 1938. 25.  It is possible that Shaul Senior was the shaliah (emissary-recruiter) chosen for S­a lonika. On his career, see later in this chapter and Chapter 6. 26.  CZA, s6/1954, letters of Nov. 10, 1937, and May 27, 1938. 27.  CZA, S5/4521, dated March 1940. 28.  Ibid., dated Nov. 11, 1940. 29.  CZA, S6/3293, Palestine office to Jewish Agency dated Sept. 23, 1938: 600 certificates issued. S6/3209, Palestine office to Jewish Agency dated Feb. 16, 1939: “Due to restrictions in force, no candidates from Greece for Category A (1) are available.” Ibid., a circular letter dated Feb. 29, 1940, notes that the government allowed 190 A1 certificates. 30.  CZA, S6/3209, Palestine office to Jewish Agency dated Mar. 21, 1940, queries: whereas capital cannot be transferred out of Greece, there are no candidates for A1 certificates; can we use Greek allotments for German Jewish refugees in Greece?



Notes to Chapter Nine 31.  CZA, L/15/429, Benjamin, director of the Central Palestine Office to Salonika Consul General of Turkey, dated Aug. 6, 1940. 32.  CZA, S26/1407, dated Dec. 2, 1940. 33.  The exclusion was practiced in the breach, with numerous exceptions recorded by survivors. 34.  CZA, S25/5282. Salonika would fall to the Germans on Apr. 9, 1941. 35.  See Holocaust Odyssey of Daniel Bennahmias, Sonderkommando. 36.  As discussed earlier, the CICR delegate in Salonika, René Burkhardt, got into trouble with the Germans for such a demand in March 1943. 37.  CZA, L/22/59 contains an exchange from Lichtheim to Eliezer Kaplan in March 1943 regarding rescue of Balkan children. In it Chaim Barlas (their representative in Istanbul) is observed to be concerned first with Zionists of Poland, then Bulgaria, then Hungary. He had no contact with Greece. Moreover, he was ill informed, overworked, and worried about promotion. There are few positive reports about Barlas in the files; cf. his apologetic Hatzalah biyemei sho’ah (Rescue During the Holocaust; Tel Aviv, 1975). 38.  CZA, S53/1575. 39.  CZA, S26/1407. 40.  Letter from I. Goldin dated Constantinople, Oct. 24, 1943, CZA, S53/1575. 41.  CZA, S6/4657. 42.  Cf. CZA, S26/1203 from August, September, and October 1943. 43.  CZA, S26/1203. 44.  CZA, S53/1575. 45.  Here better translated as exile rather than Diaspora. Cf. CZA, S25/7841 and S25/7852. 46.  CZA, S26/1407, dated Oct. 10, 1943. 47.  See Chapter 8. 48.  The Jews in this committee differ from those Jews who constituted a secret committee to replace the official Jewish leadership, which dissolved itself after the ESPO bombing of the Athens synagogue in 1942. The latter are identified as Albert Nahmiah, Solomon Kamhi, Joseph Lovinger, Jack Hanen, and Moses Levi; cf. FO 371/42900/1896. See Jewish Resistance in Wartime Greece, chap. 3 for further details and below, note 73. 49.  These were, according to Orestes Varvitsiotes, whom I thank for this information, Sikilianos, Yiorgos Carantzas, and perhaps Aristotelis Coudojumaris. 50.  CZA S25/7841. 51.  More later in this chapter for this committee, which worked also with Maniadakis and the ICRC (earlier CICR). 52.  Velics had been sending detailed reports to Hungary regarding the German persecution of the Jews and was considered the doyen of the Athens diplomatic corps. These reports compare with those of the Swiss diplomatic corps. Their escape was apparently instrumental in the removal of Lt. Gen. Schimana as Athens Gestapo chief in May 1944. My thanks to Peter Hidas for sharing his work on his wartime activities. On the fate of Hungarian Jews, cf. Randolph L. Braham, The Politics of Genocide I (New York, 1994), 275, and II, 931 note 30 for Velics. 53.  CZA S25/7841, dated Nov. 1, 1944.On the question of papal assistance to the Jews, see Saul Friedlander, Pius XII, and Susan Zucotti, Under His Very Windows: The Vatican and the Holocaust in Italy (New York, 2000).

Notes to Chapter Nine 54.  CZA S25/7841, dated Jan. 31, 1945. 55.  See Chapters 2 and 8, and note the critique of Asher Moissis. Evert has been recognized as a Righteous Gentile by Yad Vashem for his actions. According to Orestes Varvitsiotes, his uncle Yiorgios Carantzes, who was president of the newspaper guild and a managing editor of Proia, stamped more than 200 false identification cards; both the stamp and the cards were supplied by the police. Proia already had a pro-Jewish tradition. Nikos Karvounis, an editorial writer, and the poet Kostas Varnatis protested Nazi treatment of Jews after the promulgation of the Nuremburg Laws. 56.  CZA S25/7841, dated Nov. 1, 1944. The names are spelled as in the document. Giorgios Mavros, Salmon Kimhi’s partner (discussed later), was a Venezelist and a lawyer with a popular reputation. He too was in contact with the British and a leader in the transfer of Greek officers to Egypt. 57.  Letter to foreign secretary from 10 Downing Street dated July 14, 1944 (FO 371/43689/137459); file contains further discussions about Rabbi Barzilai’s call for aid and diplomatic notes to Cairo for consultation with the Greek government there. The discussion was prompted by Ambassador Leeper’s call for guidance; the latter ignores the Jews in his memoir When Greek Meets Greek (London, 1950). 58.  CZA S25/7841, dated Nov. 1, 1944. Schoenberg continued to live in Salonika after the deportations and was to assist young Arie Koretz after the latter’s return from Belsen. 59.  Cf. Walter Laqueur, The Terrible Secret (Boston, 1980) and David Wyman, The Abandonment of the Jews: America and the Holocaust 1941–1945 (New York, 1984). 60.  Jews asked for radio messages to encourage other Jews to join Resistance forces. Pappas (discussion to come) refused, fearing the Germans would increase their terror in Greece. Still, he sent the request to Greece via secret channels. Cf. CZA, S53/1575, conversation with D. Pappas dated Oct. 27, 1943, to be discussed. 61.  Cf. Holocaust Odyssey of Daniel Bennahmias. For the delayed broadcast of Mar. 29, 1944 see Jewish Resistance in Wartime Greece, 47–48. 62.  CZA, S26/1203. This letter is dated Sept. 21, 1943, and asks “Greek radio in London and Cairo to tell our Greek Brothers to help us.” 63.  CZA, S26/1407. 64.  CZA RG S26/1257, Rescue Committee, Jewish Agency, Jerusalem. 65.  CZA, S26/1407. 66.  CZA, S53/1575. Conversation with D. Pappas, Oct. 27, 1943. 67.  There were hundreds of Christian refugees and slightly more than 100 Greek Jews. One such list in Bern dated Feb. 23, 1944 (Division of Police N 42/31 Wi) lists 737 Greek war refugees, of whom at a rough count 126 were Jews (Bundesarchiv Money from the American Joint distribution was funneled to Switzerland to support the Jews; their records emphasized that the money was for general relief of all Greeks. This was standard Joint policy since their involvement in Greek relief after the great fire of 1917. 68.  The Jewish Agency was well aware of the situation in Salonika; cf. CZA, L22/15, Lichtheim to Barlas, dated Mar. 31, 1943: “Salonika is occupied by the Germans and nearly the whole population of Salonika has been evacuated long ago.” The deportation, in fact, continued through the summer of 1943. There is no mention of Nicholas Hammond’s June report from Baron Hirsch to his Cairo superiors in the Zionist sources. 69.  This should be the same as the Hitahduth olei yavan (see text to note 37). CZA, S/26, Lichtheim to Irgun olei yavan, dated Feb. 2, 1943.



Notes to Chapter Nine 70.  CZA, S26/1202. Subsequent reports from Barlas in this file bear out this complaint. A long letter dated Oct. 5, 1943, claims that the Constantinople office was only recently informed of events in Greece. Meanwhile, Jerusalem was being informed almost contemporaneously by Dr. Goldin in Istanbul, as with his letter of Mar. 16, 1943, regarding deportations from Thrace that were carried out on Mar. 9, 1943! 71.  CZA, S6/3758, dated Jan. 13, 1944. 72.  See entry s.v. in the Jewish Women’s Encyclopedia. 73.  CZA, S53/1575, conversation with D. Pappas Oct. 27, 1943, showing that such discussions were on a higher level than Ehud Avriel’s memoir indicates. See Jewish Resistance in Wartime Greece and expanded version in Dapim leheker hashoah (2005). Others paid a higher price; see the following note. 74.  This follows the summary in Hadari, Against All Odds, 63–64. Thomas’s story continues with his further relations with the Mossad. After the British had defeated ELAS in the Battle of Athens (December 1944), he was deported to a detention camp in Sinai along with other andartes. He wrote to his contacts to beg that the Jews intervene with the Americans to have him and his colleagues released from hostile British custody to the Soviets, who (he claimed mistakenly) would honor rather than imprison a fellow Resistance fighter. Solomon Barki was a member of the committee in Athens with Joseph Lovinger. He and his brother Raphael Barki were uncles of Marcel Yoel; Raphael had arranged Turkish passports for Marcel, his sister Suzy, and their mother, Linda, who subsequently took the train to Istanbul. Raphael arranged for other Barkis to escape by caique. Marcel’s father had a bad dream the night before the caique left and refused to board (he convinced four other passengers not to leave). The caique never reached Çesme, and among the thirty Athenians on board were three of his cousins. Letter from Marcel Yoel in author’s files. 75.  Their names are listed in CZA files. See sources and discussion in Tuvia Frilling, “Between Friendly and Hostile Neutrality: Turkey and the Jews during World War II,” in The Last Ottoman Century and Beyond: The Jews in Turkey and the Balkans 1808–1945, ed. Minna Rozen (Tel Aviv University, 2002), II, 407–16. 76.  CZA S25/7841, dated Nov. 1, 1944. 77.  CZA, S6/3758, Jewish Agency to Barlas, dated Dec. 3, 1943, cites letter of Mar. 12 to the chief secretary requesting certificates via “special arrangements” authorized by the British government, by which consuls in Aleppo and Beirut granted visas to fifty-three Greek refugees who arrived in Haifa on Dec. 31, 1942. 78.  Understandably in the backwaters of Greek diplomacy, multilingual communication was difficult. The Greek consul in Jerusalem addressed a letter to “David Revez, Secretary General of great peasant [sic] Sionist organisation of Palestine Isterouth”; CZA, L22/15, dated June 22, 1944. 79.  CZA, S6/3758, dated Jan. 4, 1944. See Chapter 10. 80.  The first studies in Salonikan Jewish poverty are beginning to appear from Evanghelos Chekimoglu, “Jewish Pauperism in Thessaloniki, 1940–1941,” paper given in Tel Aviv (June 1995); I acknowledge with thanks a copy of this paper and the discussions we had in Thessaloniki during May 1996 (published in The Last Ottoman Century, vol. II, 195-205). The material he cites from the Historical Archives of the National Bank of Greece, Thessaloniki Files, Vanderbild Material, can be compared with the registers of the Salonika Jewish community from the 1920s and 1930 in the archives of YIVO in New York. The Joint material

Notes to Chapter Ten is drawn from the archives of the American Joint Distribution Committee in New York, Greek files. 81.  A new agency, the War Refugee Board, was able to circumvent this official neglect and the reactions to it on the part of officials in the U.S., Allied, and Axis governments. The generally anti-Jewish sentiments of State Department officials were recalled by Jewish refugees and further studied by Wyman in The Abandonment of the Jews. The attitude of the U.S. ambassador to Spain is well documented in the War Refugee Board materials in the Franklin D. Roosevelt Archives. 82.  The AJC was more concerned with political issues, whereas the JDC specialized in relief. 83.  See Chapter 2. 84.  During the 1930s, two collections were undertaken by Isaac Emmanuel and Michael Molho. Emmanuel in Palestine hired his brother to copy inscriptions. Later he published a second, more expanded edition (2 volumes, Jerusalem, 1968). Molho’s edition appeared in 1974 (Tel Aviv). The two collections of these rival scholars occasionally differ in readings that cannot be checked, many of the original stones having been subsequently destroyed. 85.  See Chapter 4. 86.  Hyman did not think this a good idea in any event. 87.  The Jewish community indicated its satisfaction with the sale and used the money to purchase new dwellings. Cf. Jewish Morning Journal of Apr. 11, 1931. 88.  ADJC, New York, Greek file, 18–19. See Chapter 3 for the fate of these refugees. 89.  Presumably this committee was the liaison with the CICR in Athens in questions of relief and protection. Geneva, CICR, G3/27c/111, report of Sept. 29, 1943, lists only contact with the Jewish community, with no further clarification. 90.  The cable summary is dated Apr. 2, 1943. 91.  Geneva, CICR, G3/27c. Receipt dated May 25, 1943. 92.  Ibid., G3/27c/111 report dated Geneva, Dec. 14, 1943. On this subject, no report from Wenger, Burkhardt’s successor in Salonika, or the CICR in Athens was found in the Geneva archives. 93.  NY, ADJC, Saly Mayer 64. 94.  Ibid., May 9, 1943. 95.  Gisi Fleischmann wrote that she was still getting extensions and negotiations continued with the IRC to arrange safe conduct for Slovakian Jews. The deportation of the Salonikans previously drafted for forced labor would occur later that summer. 96.  Ibid., Saly Mayer 65, Aug. 27, 1943. 97.  Cf. Haim Avni, “Spanish Nationals in Greece and Their Fate During the Holocaust,” Yad Vashem Studies 8 (1970), 31–68. Lists of these Jews are available in the Joint Archives in Jerusalem.

Notes to Chapter Ten 1.  Indeed, Rommel was sent to Greece to assess the situation there toward the end of July 1943; cf. Liddell Hart (ed.), Rommel Papers, 430–31. 2.  Cf. Ambassador MacVeagh Reports, 642 sub Nov. 6, 1944, and Bowman, Jewish Resistance in Wartime Greece.



Notes to Chapter Ten 3.  Ibid., 615 sub Oct. 8, 1944. 4.  As noted by Thomashausen in his reports at the Imperial War Museum and oral interview with this author. 5.  Though beyond the strict limits of this study, the remainder of the 1940s show the Greek experiences to be pace-setting in the postwar responses of European Jewry, for example, the mass exodus to Palestine, the return of Jewish property and reorganization of the Greek Jewish communities, publication of memoirs, historical assessment of the Holocaust by professional scholars, and so on. 6.  The WJC documents in Cincinnati contain lists of the various relief organizations. Foreign Office concern about the monetary influence of these groups in Greece is clearly political; cf. FO 371/7750, 371/R13659, 371/42828/1897 and for attitude toward new relief organizations in the UK itself, 371/42828/1858, 2015. 7.  The story has been conveniently summarized by David Close, The Origins of the Greek Civil War (London and New York, 1995), chap. 4. 8.  The governor general of Macedonia was ordered on Mar. 7, 1943, by the commandant of Salonika-Ägäis via Max Merten to set up a framework to administer Jewish property. Shortly thereafter, the Greek laws enacted during the Italo-Greek war (no. 2836 of 1940 and no. 309 of 1941 sequestering Italian property; on Law 2836, cf. CZA S25/5282) were subsumed in Ordnance no. 48136 and thus Jewish property was turned over to the Greek state. During the occupation, these properties were administered by Merten to his private benefit and to reward collaborators. Cf. Mazower, Inside Hitler’s Greece, 246–47 for the YDIP (Service for the Disposal of Jewish Property). Law 205 of June 1, 1943, for administration of abandoned Jewish property confiscated by the Occupying Authority was administered by the same YDIP. Law 1180 of July 20, 1944, on management of sequestered Jewish wealth was already in effect, since Feb. 13, 1944. According to this law, a central administrative unit known as KYDIP superseded the framework called for on Nov. 24, 1943, by the German military governor of Greece. On Oct. 10, 1944, Ioannis Rallis passed Law 1977 abolishing Law 1180, changing the name of KYDIP, and charging it with responsibility for Jewish heirless property. Law 2/1944 abolished Laws 1977 and 1180; finally, Law 337 of May 23, 1945, abolished Law 205 of 1943. Law 808 of Dec. 30–31, 1945, began the process of restitution of property. Cf. Sam Nahmias and subsequent legislation in Appendices I–II to Molho and Nehama, In Memoriam. English and Greek copies of this legislation with commentary in HUC.WJC/ Greek boxes. See Bowman, Holocaust in Salonika, 221ff. 9.  See Chapter 9. The liquid wealth confiscated from Salonika Jews was enormous. Postwar claims put the figure at 1.7 million pounds sterling recorded as deposited in Greek banks in the years before the war. 10.  Files now located in the American Jewish Archives at Hebrew Union College in ­Cincinnati, preliminary classification “Greece.” Citations hereafter HUC.WJC/Greece/­ document. 11.  HUC.WJC/Greece/Responsible Declaration signed by Canaris Constantinis, vice president of KIS (Central Board of the Jewish Communities of Greece), May 12, 1948. 12.  One of which was the Tripartite Commission, instituted to return state gold reserves robbed by the Nazis. The World Jewish Congress was enlisted to intercede with the U.S. State Department to facilitate Greek Jewish claims to the 1.7 million pounds sterling minus expenses (HUC.WJC/Greece/Letter of Nehemiah Robinson to Jack Tates, May 3, 1949).

Notes to Chapter Ten 13.  HUC.WJC/Greece/letter from Joel Fisher to AJDC Paris. The American ambassador was enlisted to pressure Prime Minister Tsaldaris to accept this “fair solution . . . to the ­Politis matter.” After all, she was to receive the equivalent of forty thousand pounds (in property in Greece or in cash) for property estimated at twenty to twenty-five thousand pounds. The Joint would contribute $25,000 to facilitate the process. Mrs. Politis, it will be recalled, was instrumental in stimulating the appeal of Archbishop Damaskinos and the forty-two professional organizations against deportation of the Salonika Jews. 14.  According to Fisher, Tsaldaris was sensitive to New York Times reports of anti­Semitism in Greece, particularly with regard to Salonika. We should suspect that U.S. financial and military involvement in the Greek Civil War was instrumental in his decision to expedite matters. 15.  Cf. Joshua Plaut, Greek Jewry in the Twentieth Century, 1913–1983 (Madison, NJ, and London, 1996), passim; and Dalven, Jews of Ioannina, 52–53. 16.  The complicated story of internal Jewish politics, which forced the resignation of Asher Moissis, and the leadership of KIS in 1951 cannot be pursued here. Jews with Spanish citizenship continued to press their claims. In one of his last acts before his death, Moissis negotiated with the Greek government successful transfer of a very small percentage of the receipts of sale of heirless property to emigré Greek Jews, primarily Salonikans in Israel. The problem of administering the heirless property remains a heavy burden, from a number of perspectives, on the few remaining Jews in Greece. See my essay in Clogg (ed.), Minorities in Greece, 64–80. 17.  Cf. Hebrew studies by Hadari, Tsomet kushta (Against All Odds, Tel Aviv, 1992), passim; Menahem Shelah, The Yugoslav Connection: Illegal Immigration of Jewish Refugees to ­Palestine through Yugoslavia, 1938–1948 (Tel Aviv, 1994), 140–43 and passim; Arieh Kochavi, Displaced Persons and International Politics: Britain and the Jewish Displaced Persons After the Second World War (Tel Aviv, 1992). 18.  See letter of Leo Herrmann, Secretary-general of the Keren Ha-Yesod, to D. Pappas, Greek minister in Cairo [CZA S26/1204]. 19.  The Red Star of David, which paralleled the Red Cross, the Red Crescent, and the Red Lion; only the latter three were officially recognized by Geneva. See following note. 20.  For the politics behind the use of a traditional Jewish symbol, see Shabtai Rosenne, “The Red Cross, Red Crescent, Red Lion and Sun, and the Red Shield of David,” Israel Yearbook on Human Rights 5 (1975), 1–46. The Swiss were not alone in protesting such a symbol. For a summary of the group’s activities, see Haganah Archives, Eduyoth 169.1/ Report dated Oct. 28, 1952. 21.  Thus the researcher should beware of the many reports of Grecophones wandering south after mid-1945. The Jewish Brigade was quite active in organizing this migration. See Y. Bauer, Flight and Rescue: Brichah—The Organized Escape of the Jewish Survivors of Eastern Europe, 1944–1948 (New York, 1970), 28–29 and passim. 22.  Further research on this topic in the Red Cross archives in Geneva and the UNRWA files in New York is a desideratum. See letter of June 25, 1945 (CZA S6/4571), when only thirteen of the group of thirty were in Athens; the writer notes a second group centered in Kalamata. Numbers of Jews reported were about 4,500 in Athens, 1,200 in Salonika, 1,400 in Larissa, 800 in Volos, several hundred in Patras, and a few in Ioannina. 23.  He emerged as the spokesman for the Greek Zionists who led the community after liberation (cf. S25/5282 letter to Liebman from Sgt. Y [Israel] Pinzewer, dated June 6, 1944).



Notes to Chapter Ten According to reports, the Zionists were in conflict with Rabbi Barzilai over the question of leadership of the community (cf. S25/5282). 24.  A lengthy AJDC report dated June 4, 1945 (CZA S6/4657) indicated its role (staff of two with one or two Greek employees) in the rebuilding of the Jewish community: a grant of $24,000 with a monthly allotment of $2,340 (at 148 drachmas per dollar). Expenses included repair of a religious school, purchase and support of a cemetery, repairs to an Athens synagogue, three years’ support of aged Jews in a nonsectarian home for aged in Athens, reestablishment of a Jewish orphanage in Athens, support for the medical dispensary located in the Athens synagogue, a summer vacation program for sick children, a shelter and workshop for adolescent girls (thirty-five in Athens), a revolving loan fund, emergency relief fund, emergency shelter fund, university student support, and preparation of a Central Location Index. The centralization of Joint aid in Athens helps to explain the postwar shift of power within Greek Jewry to Athens. 25.  CZA S6/4657 dated Feb. 11, 1946, from E. Schachnay to E. Dobkin. 26.  CZA S6/4657 dated May 16, 1946. Letter from E. Schachnay to Kurt Grossman of the World Jewish Congress. A report of the ICRC visit to the camps, dated February 1946, is appended. 27.  See Close, Origins of Greek Civil War, chaps. 4 and 5. 28.  Milhemet Haezrahim be-yavan (Dezember 1944–January 1945), dated May 1945. This, incidentally, is the first item in his bibliography by Haya Hofman and Sonia Rozenberg (Tel Aviv, 1999). 29.  To date I have seen no studies on this aspect of Zionist politics in Palestine. I suspect further investigation along these lines of the British experience in Greece and the vicissitudes of civil war in general may illuminate aspects of David Ben Gurion’s actions during the latter half of the 1940s. 30.  In 1972, the Bishop of Florina was castigating Jews, Communists, and Jehovah’s Witnesses as the arch bêtes-noirs of Greek Christians, while signs in buses and elsewhere proclaimed “Greece for Christian Greeks.” 31.  A study of Belle Mazur, prewar archaeologist and postwar representative of the Joint (AJDC) in Greece, would be useful. The fate of a number of these Jews is outlined in Matsas, Illusion of Safety. 32.  See Jewish Resistance in Wartime Greece, chaps. 2 and 3. 33.  “Report on Visit to Jewish Communities in Central and Northern Greece 9th July, to 23 July, 45” [CZA S26/1204]. 34.  In 1944 the Jewish Agency and the Histadrut offered MERRA (Middle East Relief and Refugee Administration) a group of sixty trained volunteers called PICRA (Palestine Jewish Council to Relief Abroad). In 1945 forty were sent to Greece. 35.  A Palestinian Jew who was serving on a British merchant ship visited Salonika during May 1945. He counted eight hundred Jews in the city, two hundred of whom were youths who had fought with ELAS. Most of the latter were Greek Jews, but a few were from Macedonia and Yugoslavia. All wished to emigrate to Palestine for fear of being drafted by the Greek army (CZA S6/4571). 36.  He most likely was unaware that such impartiality was official Jewish policy since at least 1943 (among U.S. Jewish organizations since World War I) and all international agencies adhered to it strictly. 37.  Only Greek Jews could leave Bulgaria at the time. On Zionism in Bulgaria and the

Notes to Chapter Ten subsequent mass emigration, see Guy Haskell, From Sofia to Jaffa: The Jews of Bulgaria and Israel (Detroit, 1994). 38.  Nahon, Birkenau, epilogue; see Chapter 7. 39.  Christopher Browning’s Ordinary Men is the most detailed study of one police unit. 40.  Herzstein, Waldheim, recounts his discovery of the name of Kurt Waldheim on these Crowfoot lists (available in the U.N. archives) of those to be held accountable by the Allies after the war. 41.  Herzstein, Waldheim. 42.  The sinking and strafing of the prisoner-filled luxury liner Cap Arcona four days before war’s end still awaits its official chronicler. See the memoir of survivors Benjamin Jacobs and Eugene Pool, The 100-Year Secret: Britain’s Hidden World War II Massacre (Lyons Press, 2004). Numerous memoirs mention such Allied attacks. 43.  Two Jewish memoirs—Kounio’s Liter of Soup and Moshe Ha-Elion, The Straits of Hell (Mannheim and Cincinnati, 2005)—describe the Greeks in Melk and Ebensee. 44.  Iakovos Kambanellis’s gripping memoir of Mauthausen is the only such non-Jewish Greek memoir available in English; see note 76 of Chapter 6. 45.  August 1944: 500 Greeks and 400 Albanians in Stalag VIIA at Moosbarg; October 1944: about 700 Greeks at Stalag VIC and IVF at Munster; February 1945: 480 Greek partisans at Camp VIJ at Dorsten (not visited). In Report of the International Committee of the Red Cross on Its Activities During the Second World War September 1, 1939–June 30, 1947 (3 vols., Geneva, 1948), I, 535. 46.  Some figures: Greeks arrived in Sweden in 1945: 37 (23 female, 14 male) Saloniki born: 16 Yanina: 5 Athens, Kastoria, Arta, Preveza born: 2 Patras, Xante, Korfu born: 1 Register of Survivors, Jerusalem, 1945: 165 women from Belsen Salonika born: 64 Rhodes born: 25 Yanina [Ioannina] born: 23 Korfu born: 15 Athens born: 6 Arta, Florina, Kastoria born: 2 Volos, Drama, Bursa, Argos born: 1 Marmara born: 6 Korfu born: 14 Larissa born: 3 Buchenwald June 1945: 9 males Salonika born: 7 Rhodes, Marmora born: 1 Jewish Agency April 1945: 179 from Greece and Turkey Athens born: 27 Salonika born: 43



Notes to Chapter Ten Larissa, Piraeus, Veroia, Bursa born: 2 Demotica born: 4 Yanina born: 9 Xante, Arta, Monastir, Volos born: 1 Greece born: 63 Turkey born: 4 Rumeli born: 17 (Source: DELASEM Rome List of Foreign Jews)

Salonika born 21 Istanbul born Xanthi 4 Adrianople Korfu 8 Aidin Komotini 1 Smyrna Rhodes 7 Katerini 2 Xios 1 Yanina 1 Eight large families, a few couples, some individuals

19 10 1 4

47.  Interview with Isaac Senior (no. 137131 or 137135) on Aug. 4, 1987. He recalled too some Greek Christian free workers who lived with the Greek Jews in a “Greek Block.” 48.  Simon Schochet, Feldafing (Vancouver, 1983), 124–25. Primo Levi recalls the story of the Salonikan who was on his liberated train through the Soviet Union and organized a brothel. 49.  Francesca M. Wilson, Aftermath: France, Germany, Austria, Yugoslavia 1945 and 1946 (Penguin, 1947), 45ff. Her career is an interesting counterpoint to that of Ruth Parmalee, whose service in Greece began with the Anatolian refugees in Salonika in 1922 and continued in the British refugee camps established in Gaza for Dodecanese Greeks in 1943–1945. The latter’s archive is located in the Hoover Institute at Stanford University. 50.  Remember: The Holocaust in Greece (published by Children of the Survivors of the Holocaust in Greece and Foundation for the Advancement of Sephardic Studies and Culture, Forest Hills, NY, 1995). 51.  Four women of the Rhodes community were among the first women to reach Dachau on April 28, 1945, the day before the arrival of the American troops; see note 56. 52.  Yad Vashem 03/2761. Hayyim Allalouf (03/3143) was also in Jaworzno. He drove a taxi in Salonika and later was a driver in Birkenau. Leon Howell (read: Hagouel; no. 118633) claims 1,400 Greek Jews were sent to Jaworzno on July 2, 1943, and all but 50 were dead three months later; only 20 survived the war (03/1147); cf. also testimony of Menahem Cohen (no. 114258) and Levy Allalouf (no. 119795), ibid.; Haim Salomon Calvo (no. 122060) was sent to Jaworzno and was assigned to the Osmand Kommando, which worked in the electric factory. 53.  Nahon, Birkenau. 54.  Rabbi Werner Weinberg recalled for the author that he recited the memorial prayer at the graveside in his capacity as acting rabbi for the survivors. Arie Koretz, the son of Zvi Koretz, was one of the few Greek Jews who could still say kaddish at a parent’s grave after 1943; his diary does not cover the period after liberation. It would be a number of decades before another generation of parents reached the age of proper burial. 55.  Dr. Isaac Matarasso reported the shock of those who listened to the Auschwitz story

Notes to Appendix of Leon Batis, the first survivor to tell his tale. Others had thought him mad when he did so; the Salonikans heard it in Athens on Mar. 15, 1945. Matarasso reports on six more survivors who arrived at the beginning of April. See his report in Bowman, Holocaust in Salonika. 56.  Cf. “The Odyssey of the Women from Rhodes,” Dachau Review: History of Nazi ­Concentration Camps Studies, Reports, Documents, vol. 1 (1988), 234–40; and interviews with several female survivors. Stella Levi’s “A Letter from Rhodes” (1987) is in the archives of the American Friends of the Jewish Museum of Greece. She was sent to a subcamp because Dachau was too full. 57.  At our last visit, shortly before his death, Daniel Bennahmias recalled that he worked for Asher Moissis. 58.  An annotated edition of the trial record is currently in progress. To be sure, the ­Salonika Judenrat was the only one to survive the war nearly intact. 59.  Hasson escaped with Nazi blessings to Albania (see Carpi, “Salonika During the Holocaust,” 275–79), where he continued his nefarious actions, a scathing description of which was recorded by Irene Grünbaum in her posthumously published autobiography ­Escape Through the Balkans, tr. and ed. by Katherine Morris (Lincoln, University of Nebraska Press, 1996), 56–57 and 106ff. 60.  Apologia of Salomon Mair Uziel dated Thessaloniki 1953. English translation prepared by Isaac Benmayor from the original Judeo-Spanish in The Holocaust in Salonika: Eyewitness Accounts; Hebrew summary in Yahadut Yavan be-hurbanah. zikhronoth (Tel Aviv, 1977–78), 233–40. This report is required reading to help distinguish between fact and opinion among Greek-Jewish memoirs, reports, and histories. 61.  As witnessed by the vehement discussions following. Daniel Carpi’s paper at the conference on Balkan Jewry held at the Diaspora Institute on the campus of Tel Aviv University in June 1995 (published as “Salonika During the Holocaust”).

Notes to Appendix 1.  Michael Molho published a statistical analysis of the residents of the Jewish quarters in Salonika on June 22, 1942 (Zikhron Saloniki, vol. II, Tel Aviv, 1985–86, 30); he gives no source for the figures. He does not indicate whether all the individuals were Jews; 35,000 raises interesting questions! Quarters Families Individuals No. “151” (upper part) 909 3,200 No. “151” (lower part) 519 1,783 No. “6” 363 1,250 Karagatz 80 250 Baron Hirsch 700 2,500 Hagia Paraskevi 662 2,480 Kalamaria 500 1,700 Regi-Vardar 2,300 8,050 Elsewhere in the city 1,919 13,577 Refugees and homeless 60 210 Total 8,012 34,990



Notes to Appendix These figures compare with a rough census cited by Molho from 1935 in his Salonique: Ville Mère en Israel (Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, 1967), 24, that enumerates 52,350 Jews of whom 47,289 were Greek citizens. 2.  From the list issued end 1944 and received by the American Joint Distribution Committee January 1945 (AJC Archives. Ar 45/64 File 457. Greece general Jan–July 1945). The numbers listed by Joseph Ben (1985), 229, differ for some towns, although his total for 1940 is 79,950 (including Rhodes).


999 Strafbattalian (Punishment Battalion), 75, 146, 168-69, 263n, 284n, 291n 1939 White Paper, 37, 184, 217 Aboab Orphanage, 51 Acropolis, 47, 245n Adler, Cyrus, 205 Administrative Committee of American Relief, 254n AEG (Allgemeine Elektrische Gesellschaft), 36, 251n Aegean Sea, 16, 43 SS Aghios Nicolaos de Nomicos, 208 Agronsky, Gershon, 249n AIU (Alliance Israélite Universelle), 14, 1720, 22, 25, 29, 31-32, 36, 51, 247n, 249n-50n AJC (American Jewish Congress), 205-06, 298n AJDC—American Joint Distribution Committee (the “Joint”), 22, 37, 135-36, 187, 197, 202-06, 214, 217, 248n, 256n, 260n, 297n, 300n-01n Aji, Morris, 293n Akarnania, 11, 13, 80 Akonis, Dario, 127 Akonis, Israel, 127 Akonis, Nahman, 127 Alalouf, Jean, 136 Albala, Jacques, 38, 62, 67, 135-136, 229, 258n, 282n, 289n Albania, 13, 40, 246n Albenansi, Elias (A15244), 269n Alcheh, Israel, 205-06

Alexander, Wladislaw, 103 Alexandria, 14-15 Alexandridis, Alekos, see Albert Errera Algiers, 61 Alhadeff, Bohor, 76 Alhadeff, Jack, 76 Alhades, Barukh, 279n Alhanati, Daniel, 193 Aliyah, 31, 109, 184-186, 188, 217 Aliyah Beth, see Palestine, illegal immigration Allalouf, Elia, 51 Allalouf, Hayyim, 303n Allalouf, Isidore, 127 Allalouf, Levy (119795), 304n Allalouf, Samuel, 287n Allalouf, Semtov, 185 [See also Alalouf] Allatini Orphanage, 51 Allied attacks on camps, 112, 116, 122, 127-28, 132, 222-23, 302n Altenburg, Guenther, 158, 180-81 Altoting, see Camps Altsech, Abraham, 188 Altsech, Moses, 280n, 287n Alvo, Danny, 287n Alvo, Hayyim, 153, 176, 252n, 287n Amar Bank, 50 Amarillio, Albert, 158 American Farm School, 186 American Jewish Committee, 204 American Joint Reconstruction Foundation, 206


Index American Near East Foundation, 248n American Red Cross, see Red Cross American Relief Committee, 203 American Women’s Hospital, 248n Amir, Jacob, 27 Andartiko, 163, 176, 219 Anastasiou, Christo, 192 Andronikos II, 14 Angel, Benito, 258n Angel, Yitzkhak (Isaac), 122, 258n, 286n Angilas, Janis, 192 Angiolini, Father, 76-77 Anglo-Jewish Association, 204 The Angry Hills, 162 “Animals,” 169 Anti-Semitism, 65, 110, 198, 253n, 286n; actions against, 156, 174-76, 187; in camps, 109, 221; of the EEE, 30, 34, 64,184; in Greece, 23, 30, 52, 74, 175, 300n; Nazi propaganda, 48; after WWII, 201, 218-19 Antar, 42 Anus Mundi, 100 Anzel, Captain, 44, 254n Apoyevmatini, 50, 185 Arab/Jewish competition for Palestine, 31, 37, 215, 219, 295n Arab Revolt (1936-39), 31, 294n The Arabian Nights, 225 Arar, Yaakov (Harari), 163 Arbeitslager (D Camp), 103, 275n Arditi, Abraham, 167 Arditi, Yitzhak, 279n Arditty, Adolphe, 185-187, 199 Aristotle University, 164 Arkadi, Benny, 200 Armia Kraiowa, 110 Arta, 13 Arukh, Isaac (124338), 110 Arukh, Martha, 129 Arukh, Shlomo (136954), 49, 92, 127, 129, 281n Ashkenazi Jews, 13, 16, 63, 246n, 260n Asopos Bridge, 144 Assael, Lili, 120, 124, 279n Assael, Michel, 280n

Assael, Yvette, 120, 124, 278n Association des Jeunes Juifs, 185 Astir, 208 Ata, Eli, 194 Ataturk, Kemal, 26 Athens, 12-13, 25, 30, 43, 45, 68, 139, 151, 161, 157, 212, 228 Athens Electric Company, 54, 212, 251 Attica, 11, 80 Attias, Iakov (109923), 277n Auschwitz, 80, 88, 92, 99, 103, 105-07, 123, 126, 134, 137, 211, 221, 268n, 272n, 274n; Allied bombing, 132; Allied prisoners, 95; deaths, 94-95, 107; death marches, 94, 112, 122, 126, 129, 135, 271n; escapes from, 95, 120; French Jewry sent, 236; Fürstengrube, 114; Greek Jewry sent, 70, 93-94, 102, 112-15, 132-33, 137, 150, 253n, 268n, 270n, 276n; Harmenz, 102; Hungarian Jews sent, 95-98, 125; Hygienic Institute, 126, 280n; Konigsdorf, 104; Konigshütte, 104; medical experiments at, 83, 103-104, 108; Polish underground in, 133; postwar trials, 104, 126; prisoners sent to Mauthausen, 111; prisoners sent to Warsaw Ghetto, 108, 276n; Russians liberate, 112; Salonika Jewry sent to, 65, 87, 149; Sonderkommando revolt, 96-98; 273n; survivor accounts, 99, 130, 135; transports to, 82-83, 85-89, 92-93, 136, 268n-69n, 283n; orchestra at, 123-24, 244 Auschwitz II, see Birkenau Auschwitz III, see Buna-Monowitz Auschwitz Museum (The State Museum at Auschwitz), 83, 266n, 275n Auslandsorganisation, 34-35 Austria, 24-25, 33, 38 Avigdor, Shaul, 200 Azaria, Lazarus, 163 Azous, Jack, 281n Azous, Mordoh, 281n Baeck, Leo, 259n Baenllov, Larissa, 270n Baenllov, Raphael (A15268), 270n

Index Balfour Declaration, 249n Balkans, 25, 28, 33, 61-62 Balkan wars, 13, 17, 19-20, 24, 248n Bank of Egypt, 254n Bank of Greece, 187, 254n, 298n Bank of Salonika, 194 Barki, Linda, 298n Barki, Raphael, 200, 298n Barki, Solomon, 298n Barlas, Chaim, 198, 296n, 298n Baron Hirsch ghetto, 50, 66-67, 82-84, 130, 149, 157-159, 163, 182, 257n, 259n, 297n Baron Hirsch Hospital, 49, 186 Barsano, Sabi, 294n Baruch, Baruch (182757), 272-73n Baruch, Joseph (Peppo), see Varouh, Joseph Barzilai, Elias, 68, 158, 193, 209, 232, 260n, 262n, 297n, 302n; “kidnapping,” 156, 16061, 291n Batis, Leon, 305n Battle of the Bulge, 211 Bauer, George, 156 BBC (British Broadcasting Company), 159, 194-95, 197 BEF (British Expeditionary Force), 39-41, 43-45, 141, 156; Companies: 601, 254n; 603, 41, 254n; 604, 41; 606, 41, 254n; Palestinian Jews serving in, 39, 41-43, 138, 141, 149-50, 154, 197, 253n, 256n Befehlshaber Saloniki-Ägäis, 65-66 Beja, Claire, 270n Bektashi dervishes, 134 Belleli, Rivka (A-8375), 128 Belleli, Shabbetai, 126 Belleli, Shlomo, 126 Belleli, Yitzhak, 126 Bellert, Jozof, 134 Beloyannis, Nicos, 256n Ben, Joseph, 228, 267n, 293n, 307n Ben Gurion, David, 22, 189, 248n-49n, 261n, 302n Ben Rubi, Chaim, 194 Ben Suah, Morris, 277n Benaroya, Abraham, 30, 291n Benjamin, Moses (120765), 90

Benmayor, Isaac (Ino), 268n Benmayor, Leon (119842), 90, 269n Bennahmias, Daniel (182477), 92, 290n, 305n Benosilio, Jacques (110554), 84 Benoziliu, Pepo, 194 Benroubi, Olga, 120 Bensoa, Palomba (39965), 87 Benveniste, Alberto (Albert), 121, 259n Benveniste, Dick, 285n Benveniste, Jack, 288n Bergen-Belsen, 112, 117, 123, 128, 130, 134, 209, 259n; British liberate, 112, 129; Koretz, Zvi at, 65, 186, 209, 260n; origins, 135; Salonika Judenrat sent to, 91, 150, 227; survivor accounts, 131; transports to, 136, 283n Berlin, 35-37, 75, 251n Berlin Rabbinical Seminary, 62 Bernstein Line of Hamburg, see Red Star Line Berry, Burton, 155 Besas, John, 288n Bessantchi, Mentesch, 156, 250n Biermann, Pierre, 107 Bikkur Holim (Visiting the Sick), 49 Birkenau, 84, 106, 235, 273n; boxing matches at, 128-29, 281n; construction of, 99, 102; deaths in, 95-96, 104, 107, 211, 266n, 275n; death marches from, 126; Fischerei, 101; Greek Jews in, 93, 102-03, 266n; Kanada Kommando, 119, 255n; medical experiments in, 105; orchestra at, 105, 132, 280n; Quarantine Camp, 103-04, 281n; Sonderkommando at, 125; Sonderkommando revolt in, 212; survival 113; transports to, 53, 72, 74-75, 77, 252n, 268n, 276n Birkenau Quarantine Camp, 103 Bitali, Matys (182753), 272n Bivas, Flor, 128 Bivas, Lucia, 123 Bivas, Moses, 69 Bivas, Moshe, Rabbi, 70 Bivas, Rena (38761), 128 Bivas, Shlomo (109433), 128 Blechheimer, see Camps



Index Bletchley Park, 264n BLO (British Liaison Officer), 144-46, 161, 168, 211 Block 10, 83, 87-89, 103-105, 126 Block 11, 83-84, 87-90, 266n Blume, Walter, 160 B’nai Brith, 194 B’nai Zion, 185 Boeotia, 11 Bogdan, Ivan, 191 al-Bohor, David, 189 Bolsheviks, 20 Bonfil, Reuben, 51 Bor-Komorowski, Tadeusz, 110 Bosphorus, 13 Boudrian, Agop, 64 Bourla, Solomon (Charles), 171 Bourla, Dora (Tarzan), 165, 170 Bourla, Esther, 170 Bourla, Leon, 170 Bourla, Mosheh (Moshe), 148 Bourla, Isaac, 122, 282n Bourla, Yolanda, 170 Boxing matches (in camps), 128-130, 281n Breslau, see Camps Broudo, David, 163 Browning, Christopher, 60 Brunner, Alois, 48, 53, 64-65, 82, 158, 260n Brünnlitz, see Camps Brewda, Alina, 104, 107, 275-76n Buchenwald, see Camps Bulgaria, 25-26, 47, 140, 202, 211, 230-31, 233, 256n, 259n, 295n, 302n; occupation of Greece, 47, 55, 80-81, 156, 167-68, 179, 267n, 283n Bulgarian Red Cross, see Red Cross Buna-Monowitz, see Camps Buna Werke, 106 Burger, Anton, 73-75 Burkhardt, Carl Jacob, 181-82 Burkhardt, René, 51, 67, 209, 261n; l’affaire Burkhardt, 180-83, 267n, 296n Byzantine Empire, 11, 16, 17-18, 23, 25 Caime, Moise, 13, 248n

Calvo, Haim Salomon (122060), 91, 108, 276n, 304n Camp “Albala,” 283n Campbell Quarter (Kambel), 30-31, 206-07, 249n Camps, 66, 223, 249n, 280n; concentration, 135, 210, 216-17, 221-22, 227, 257n, 282n; death, 210, 221, 225, 264n; exchange, 227; holding, 47, 70-71, 136; labor, 146, 221; liberation, 108, 111-12, 123-24, 127-30, 227; refugee, 190, 197, 201-02, 220, 223-24, 234, 282n, 298n, 303n; transit, 136 Altoting, 131 Blechheimer, 131 Breslau, 121-22, 131 Brünnlitz, 112 Buchenwald, 108, 122, 131, 257n, 282n, 303n Buna-Monowitz, 89, 93, 106-07, 122, 127, 129-30, 132, 270n, 276n, 280n Chelm, 221 Dachau, 98, 102, 109, 112, 124-27, 130, 219, 221, 223-25, 304n-05n Dora, 127, 129-31, 222 Dupnitsa, 81 Ebensee, 111, 131, 222, 235, 278n, 303n Ehrlich, 127, 131 Feldafing, 130, 223, 226 Fleissberg, 131 Flossenbürg, 112, 122, 127 Gatzberg, 131 Gleiwitz, 127, 129-30 Golleschau, 112 Gorna Dzhumaya, 81 Gusen, 111,131-32 Haidari, 69, 74, 77, 262n Helmbrechts, 112 Henken, 128, 131 Hillersleben, 128, 131 Karlsbad, 131 Krankenbau, 107 Leipzig, 130, 283n Magdeburg, 131 Majdanek, 102, 104, 107, 221, 276n Malkof, 128, 130

Index Mauthausen, 98, 102, 111-12, 125, 13132, 139, 222, 235, 278-79n Melk, 111, 222, 235, 302n Melzbachthal, 122 Mühldorf, 126, 130, 223 Natzweiler, 107 Neu Dachs, 84, 90-91, 108, 266n, 268n, 274n, 303n-04n Neubandberg, 131 Neustadtgalba, 131 Neustadtlager, 131 Neustein, 131 Oranienenburg, 124,127 Rajsko, 126 Ravensbrück, 104,131, 275n Sachsenhausen, 124 Saltzweder, 128, 131 Schafhaus, 123 Schferin, 131 Skopje, 82 Sobibor, 221, 265n Stutthoff, 108, 133, 278n, 282n Terezin, 222 Theresienstadt, 91, 117, 122-23, 131, 208, 260n Treblinka, 80-82, 85, 87, 93-94, 114, 120, 221, 230, 235, 265n, 267n-68n Tröbitz, 136-37, 227, 283n Trostberg, 127, 131 Waldlager, 127, 130 Willinstadt, 123 Canetti, Isaac, 276n Carantzas, Yiorgos, 296n Carasso, Alberto, 54, 291n Carasso, Daisy, 166, 220, 293n Carasso, Daniel (120812), 90, 106 Carasso, Marko, 170-71 Carasso, Sam (112381), 268n Caratzes, 153 Caratzes, Ari, 287n Carpi, Daniel, 260n Carrer, Loukas, 74 Casablanca, 59, 136 Cassuto, Rabbi, 70 Castro, Leon, 190, 195-99, 202

Cazes, Maurice, 288n The Central Executive (Jerusalem), 187 Central Location Index, 302n Çesme (Turkey), 298n Chalkis, 19, 70 Chazan, Shaul (182527), 92, 269n-70n Chazzan, Shaul, see Chazan Shaul Chelm, see Camps Chenio, Alberto, 259n Chernyak, Susan, 280n CICR (Comité International de la Croix Rouge, see Red Cross Chief Rabbi of Palestine, see Herzog, Isaac Chief Rabbi of Salonika, see Koretz, Zvi Chimchi, Bella (39966), 87 Christianity, 15, 32 Chrysostomos, Metropolitan, 74 Churchill, Winston, 140, 143-44, 168, 213, 283n, 292n Clauberg, Carl, 89, 103-05, 126 Clauberg’s Block, see Block 10 Cohen, Abraham Judah, 253n Cohen, Chico, 294n Cohen, Daniel, 229 Cohen, David, 110 Cohen, Else, 275n Cohen, Isaac (118548), 106, 185 Cohen, Joseph, 70 Cohen, Leon (182492), 92, 96, 269n-71n Cohen, Menahem, 276n, 304n Cohen, Salomon (116046), 89 Cohen, Samuel (112413), 87 Cohen, Shabbetai, 127 Cohen, Simantov, 186 Cohen, Zako, 130 Comité de Secours aux Réfugiés, 37, 207-08 Commission for the Recruiting of Greek Workers for Foreign Work, 53 Commission Mixte de Secours, see Red Cross Committee to Assist Jewish Refugees, 191 Common Market, 162 Communism, 32, 34, 152, 182, 184, 218, 226-27, 287n, 302n; during civil war, 170, 212-13, 215, 218, 219; among Jews, 30, 165, 198, 218, 220, 233, 257n, 263n, 289n, 291n;



Index in Greece, 54, 71, 139, 168; KKE, see KKE, in resistance, 20, 71, 146, 172, 291n, 293n; Soviet, 30 Constantinople, 16 Coretz, Zvi, see Koretz, Zvi Corfu, 11, 15, 18, 20, 72-74, 80, 150, 231, 237, 248n, 277n Cougno, Hella, see Kounio, Hella Corinth, 11 Corinth Canal, 227-28 Costopoulos, Niko, 192 Coudojumaris, Aristotelis, 192, 296n Cracow, 80 Crematorium, 92, 96-99, 120-21, 125, 211, 266n, 273n-74n, 276n Crete, 11, 18, 44, 72, 80; battle for, 39, 40-43, 45, 59, 140-42; Fortress Crete, 59; occupation of, 39, 46, 265n; resistance, 43, 138, 146, 292n; surrender of 163 “Crowfoot” list, 222, 303n Cuenca, Leon (110941), 84, 106, 130, 183, 267n, 276n, 282n Czech Beitars, 38, 264n Czech, Danuta, 83, 85-86, 266n, 267n-71n, 273n-74n CZA (Central Zionist Archives), 189, 215 D Camp (at Auschwitz), see Arbeitslager d’Amman, Jean, 181 Dachau, see Camps Damascus Blood Libel of 1840, 15 Damaskinos, Archbishop of Athens, 68, 149, 151, 158-161, 176, 191, 194, 212, 300n Danae, 72 Daniel, Dino (182543), 92 Dannecker, Theodor, 61, 251n Daskalakis, Eftichios, 44 Death marches, 102, 112, 211, 221, 277n; From: Auschwitz, 94, 112, 122, 126, 129, 135, 270n; Helmbrechts, 112; Warsaw Ghetto, 109, 223, 278n; To: Bergen Belsen, 112; Dachau, 102, 109, 124, 126, 223; Dora, 129; Majdanek, 102; Mauthausen, 102, 112; Oranienenberg, 124; Sachsenhausen, 124; Trostberg, 127

DELASEM (Delagazione Assistenza Emigranti Ebrei), 227 Demaniuk, John, 221 Demitriou, Demitrios (Nikephoros), 161 Deportations, 86; From: Alexandroupolis (Dedeagatch) 81; Akarnania, 81; Attica, 80; Bulgarian zone, 80-82; Corfu, 80,92; Crete, 80; Czechoslovakia, 93; Dhidhimotikhon, 82, 91; Drama, 81; Epirus, 80; Florina, 91; Hagia Paraskevi, 84; Italian zone, 80; Kavalla, 81-82; Komotini (­Gümülcune), 81; Kos, 80, 93; Langada, 83; Macedonia, 81; Nea Orestes, 82, 91; Peloponnesus, 80; de la Petite Gare, 84; Pravishte, 81; Regie Vardar, 50, 84; ­Rhodes, 80, 93; Salonika, 81-84; Samonthrace; 81; Sarzh-Shaban, 81; Serres, 81; Soufli, 82, 91; Thasos, 81; Thessaly, 80; Thrace, 80-82, 87, 91; Trikala, 70; Veroia, 91; Xanthi, 81; Zilyahovo, 81; of Italian nationals, 91; of Spanish nationals, 91 Der Band der Hitlerfreunde, 34 Dering v. Uris, 83-84, 87-90, 103-04, 274n-75n Dering, Wladislav, 104-05, 275n Deutsche Archaeologische Institut, 12 Dido, 44 Die Singende Pferde (the singing horses), 134 Disinfection Lager, 102 Djahon, Raoul (182718), 272-73n Doctors Trial at Nuremberg, 104 Dodecanese, 16, 150 Dodge, Cleveland, 255n Donat, Alexander, 100 Donovan, William, 140 Dora, see Camps Dorman, Menahem, 218 DP camps (displaced persons), see Camps, refugee Dragon, Jack, 271n Dragon, Szlomo (Shlomo), 271n Dribbon, Judy, 101 Ducia, Dimi, 130 Dupnitsa, see Camps Dutch Jewry (at Auschwitz), 102, 107, 115, 135-37, 274n

Index Dyrrachium (Durrazzo), 13 EAM (Ethniko Apeleftherotiko Metopo), 30, 46, 139, 144-45, 168, 210, 233; after the war, 213, 218; aide to Jews, 57, 153, 161, 191-94, 200, 219, 231-32, 262n, 285n-86n,, 291n-92n; Jews in, 147-48, 154, 161, 165-66, 217, 219; plot to kidnap Rabbi Barzilai, 156, 160-61 EBE (Greeks, Help the Jews), 149 Ebensee, see Camps Eblagon, Rabbi of Canea, 248n EDES (Ethnikos Dimokratikos Ellenikos Syndesmos), 139, 143, 146, 263n, 283n84n; aid to Jews, 192-93; conflicts with ELAS, 145, 162, 211, Jews in, 72, 163, 291n EEE (Ethniko Enosis Ellas), 30-31, 34, 160, 175, 184, 251n Effektenkammer, see Kanada Kommando Ehrlich, see Camps Eichmann, Adolf, 35-36, 53, 59-61, 65, 74, 209, 251n-52n, 260n; trial, 52, 157, 257n Eichmann Sonderkommando, 64 Eisenhower, Dwight D., 59 EKKA (Ethniki kai Kinoniki Apeleftherosis), 163, 167 ELAS (Ethniko Laikos Apeleftherotikos), 30, 144, 145-46, 154, 162, 168-69, 193, 210-12, 283n-85n, 293n-94n; after the war, 213, 21819, 264n; aide to Jews, 70, 72, 148, 153-54, 190-91, 193, 233; conflict with EDES, 139, 145, 211, 263n; Jews in, 148-49; 154, 162-67, 170-73, 197, 200, 213, 220, 225, 231, 292n ELAS People’s Courts, 162 Elbogen, Ismar, 259n Eleftheri Ellada, 161, 289n Elefthero Vima, 69 Eliakim, Yoachim (Behor), 109, 127, 277n Endlösung, see Final Solution Engle, Gerhard, 60 EON, 35, 187, 250n, 252n EPE, 30 Epirus, 11, 18, 80 EPON (Eniaia Panelladiki Organosi Neon), 149, 155, 166, 262n, 291n

Errera, Albert, 95-96, 106, 271n Eskenazi, Samuel, 170 ESPO (National Socialist Patriotic Organization), 68, 160, 262n, 296n ETA (Epimelitia tou Andarti), 163 Ethnos d’Athènes, 186 Euboea (Evvia), 11, 237 Evert, Angelos, 148, 152, 192, 286n, 297n Evian Conference, 173 Exindaris, George, 149 Eytan, Walter (Ettinghausen), 264n Ezrath Holim (Aid to the Sick), 49 Fahn, Regina, 93 Fahn, Rudolph, 93 Fahn, Shani, 93 Fahn, Sidney (B7310), 93 Fajnzylberg, Alter, 271n Faradgi, Samuel (110641), 84 Feldafing, see Camps Feldgendamerie, 82 Fermor, P.L., 292n Final Solution, 39, 53, 58, 80, 150, 173, 195, 264n Fleach, Herman, 207 Fleischman, Gisi, 209, 299n Fleissberg, see Camps Florentin, David, 31, 190 Florentin, Fanny (Flora), 165, 172, 288n, 294n Florentin, Leon, 294n Florentin, Morris, 294n Flossenbürg, see Camps Forced labor, inside camps, 83, 89, 91-92, 284n; outside camps, 40, 45, 52-55, 82, 9192, 159, 166, 257n, 299n France, Anatole, 220 Franco, Francisco, 136 Franco, Iacof, 76 Franco, Lucia (A24316), 134, 270n Free Masons, 44 French resistance, 279n Freyberg, Bernard, 142 Frizis, Mordekhai (also Mordecai), 30-40, 164, 175, 252n



Index Fuerst, Jan (Jacob, Yanni), 168, 285n Gabai, Dario, 92 Gabai, Ya’akov (182569), 92, 269n-70n, 281n Gadol, Hari, 291n Gadol, Mara, 291n Gallipoli, 168 Gani, Eva, 286n Gas chambers, 94, 99, 100, 119, 121, 134, 225, 266n, 265n, 276n; at Auschwitz, 8385, 87-93; at Birkernau, 102-03, 106-07, 211, 274n; at Stutthof, 108; at Treblinka, 80-82; 93; deaths of Hungarian Jews, 125; Roman transport, 274n; escape from, 120; of Sonderkommando, 95, 97; result of malaria epidemic, 103 Gattegno, Louna (40077), 87 Gatzberg, see Camps General Electric, 36 Gennadios, Metropolitan, 159, 255n, 259n George II, King of Greece, 35 Georgio, Costa (Constantia), 193 German Red Cross, see Red Cross German reprisals, 71, 139, 142, 169, 258n, 284n Germany, 10-11, 23-24, 33-35, 46, 48, 80, 119, 127, 138, 183, 189, 214, 251n, 255n; collapse of, 135, 211; concentration camps, 93, 131, 221-22; Jewish policies, 23, 35, 38, 54, 56-57, 60, 102, 109, 114, 178; Red Cross, 179-183; retreat, 72, 123, 169, 171, 210-212 Gestapo, 35, 38, 51, 55, 63, 68, 76-77, 98, 16061, 181, 221, 267n GFP (secret field police), 72 Gigli, Beniamino, 273n Gilette, Yitzhak, 88 Givre, Yaakov, 227 Gleiwitz, see Camps Glezos, Manolis, 256n Goebbels, Josef, 34-35 Goering, Hermann, 35 Goldin, J., 196 Goldman, Hetty, 204 Goldman, Nahum, 202 Golleschau, see Camps

Gorgopotamos Bridge, 59, 143-44, 284n Gorna Dzhumaya, see Camps Gounaris, Stylianos, 21 Grabczynski, Jan, 275n Great Britain, 34, 73, 193; blockade, Greece, 179; Palestine, 216-17; Greek campaign (WWII) 41-43, 50, 61, 138, 140-45, 150, 156, 168, 173, 210-13, 215, 217-18, 225, 249n, 254n, 263n, 265n, 292n; immigration policy - Palestine, 31, 37, 173-175, 184, 187, 193, 208, 217, 234, 294n, 297n; North Africa campaign, 41, 43, 141, 143, 154; Mandate Palestine, 28, 37, 184, 198, 230, 295n; Red Cross, 178-179 Greece, 12-13, 19-20, 25-26, 32-35, 214-215, 226, 230, 251n, 255n; Jewish immigration through, 36, 38; during World War I, 21; during World War II, 39-41, 46, 48, 140, 213 Greek Christians, 17, 55-56, 63, 141,174, 177, 179, 216; aid to Jews, 66, 70, 152, 158, 166, 177, 184, 191, 198, 216, 225, 232-33, 284n, 286n, 294n; anti-Semitism, 15, 30, 201, 246n, 286n; as hostages, 111, 291n; deaths, 111; discrimination against, 175, 252n, 301n; during occupation, 48-49, 141; in concentration camps, 101, 111, 222, 277n; in refugee camps, 190, 197, 201, 234, 296n; Jews passing as, 125, 152, 194, 287n; return to Greece, 226-27, 230 Greek Civil War, 20, 147, 162, 170, 212, 21819, 228, 233, 235-36, 263n, 301n Greek Communist Party, see KKE Greek government-in-exile, 42, 44, 144, 176, 179, 213 Greek National Bank, 42 Greek National Socialist Party, 34 Greek Orthodox Church, 151, 176-177, 286n87n Greek Red Cross, see Red Cross Greek Resistance, 20, 47, 56, 71-72, 138-39, 142-44, 150, 162, 170, 173, 200, 233, 258n; attitude towards Jews, 147-49, 151-52, 16061, 173, 176, 233, 267n; British and, 43, 143-45, 284n; during civil war, 143, 212-13,

Index 217; on Crete; 141-42, 146; foreigners in, 141, 146, 285n; Jews in, 30, 42, 46, 56-57, 70, 72, 94, 96, 117, 138, 147-48, 153-56, 161, 163-66, 169-72, 197, 200, 210, 212, 217, 220, 233, 284n, 288n, 297n; Jews escape via, 6970, 161, 172, 208, 231-32, 287n Greek War of Liberation, 11-12, 18 Greek Zionist journal, 227 Griese, Irma, 121, 124 Grottas, Ester (41512), 89 Gusen, see Camps Habib, Raphael, 134 Hadjis, Yohannas (Skoufas), 170, 293n Hadjopoulos, Elias, 69 Hafranek, Lt. Col., 71, 263n Haganah, 143, 151, 153, 157, 190, 200, 215, 231 Hagouel, Leon, see Howell, Leon Haidari, see Camps Haim, Morris, 294n Hakhnasat Kallah (Preparing the Bride), 49 Halegua, Jack, 280n Halegua, Moshe (Mose) (137034), 109, 134, 282n Halevi, Rafael, 288n Halutzim, 217, 220 Hammer, Friedrich, Major, 73 Hammond, Nicholas, 42-43, 149, 168, 211, 286n, 297n Handali, Jack (Ya’acov), 133 Hanen, Jack, 295n Hanseatisches Reisebureau, 35 Hájková, Dagmar, 275n Hanke, Walter, 135 Harari, Yaakov, see Arar, Yaakov Harnack, Falk, 285n Hart, Kitty, 100 Hason, Albert, 198 Hasson, Vital, 66, 157, 229, 232, 259n, 305n “Hatikvah,” 100, 109 Hazan, Leo (11435), 88 Hebrew Union College, 136, 265n, 280n, 300n Heirless Property of the Greek Jews, 213-14, 237, 300n-01n

Hellenic Red Cross, see Red Cross Hellenism, 26, 32, 235-37; Megali Idea, 25-26 Helmbrechts, see Camps Henken, see Camps Hermann, Doctor (85616), 106 Herrmann, Leo, 301n Herzl, Theodor, 28 Herzog, Isaac, 286n, 294n Hevra Kadisha (Burial Society), 205 Hillersleben, see Camps Himmler, Heinrich, 35, 58-61, 108, 211, 265n Hiotis, Stellios, 193 Hippocrates, see Mitrani, Robert Hitahduth olei yavan (Union of Immigrants from Greece), 189, 297n Hirt, August, 108 Hitler, Adolph, 74, 222; at war, 40-41, 61, 140, 169, 211, 258n; Italy, 58, 146; Jewish policies, 60, 62, 155, 159, 254n; occupation of Greece, 35, 46, 163, 168, 262n, 283n-84n Hitlerjugend, 35 Hochschule, 62, 259n Holocaust, 10, 24, 29, 46, 61, 172, 202, 234, 237, 291n, 300n Holocaust Studies, 58 Höss, Rudolf, 58 hostages, 44, 71, 72, 117, 222, 227; camp for, 91, 135, 227; execution of, 51, 54, 84, 111, 169, 284n, 291n-92n Howell, Leon (118633), 304n Humphrey, Judith, 248n, 255n-56n, 264n Hungerwinter, 49 el-Husayni, Amin Haj, 31, 295n Hyman, Joseph, 206-07, 299n Ibn Habib, Hayyim Raphael, 63 ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross), see Red Cross I.G. Farben, 106 Ikonomopoulos, Mikos, see Saporta, Moris Illusion of Safety, 169 Inönü, Ismet, 26 Institute for Jewish Affairs, 190, 194, 202 International Institute of Agriculture, 203 Ioannina, 13, 71, 150, 237, 246n



Index Ionian Sea, 13 Irgun olei yavan, 198 Israel, 214, 217 Italian Diplomatic Documents on the History of the Holocaust in Greece, 231 Italian Red Cross, see Red Cross Italy, 30, 39-40, 53, 68, 73, 80, 145, 168, 187, 189, 211, 213, 227, 230-31, 233, 284n Ivan the Terrible of Treblinka, see Demaniuk, John Jabotinsky, Ze’ev, 29, 184 Jacobs, Benjamin, 114 Jacquel, Yomtov, see Yacoel, Yomtov Jaeger, Emil, 73 Jawoczno/Jaworzno, see Camps, Neu Dachs JDB (Jewish Distribution Board), 205 JDC (Joint Distribution Committee), 20609, 299n Jerusalem, 190, 201, 297n Jesus Christ, 31, 151 Jewish Agency, 151, 154, 181, 186-91, 195-201, 297n, 302n-03n Jewish Agency Committee for Jews of Europe, 188 Jewish Agency for Palestine, 154 Jewish Brigade, 301n Jewish/Christian Competition, 18-19, 28, 30, 32, 203-04, 237 Jewish Colonization Association, 206 Jewish Museum of Greece, 248n, 253n Jewish Resistance in Wartime Greece, 164 Jewish (Greek) solidarity in camps, 117-18, 124-25, 128, 132-33, 166 Jezierska, Maria Elzbieta, 279n Joint Foreign Committee, 205 Judaism, 26, 182, 260n Judenrat, 54, 61-62, 68, 232-33; Salonika Judenrat, 48, 63, 91, 135-36, 227; deported to Bergen Belsen, 150, 259n; postwar trial, 229, 305n Kabeli, Sabetai, 71, 273n Kabelli, Isaac, 69, 262n, 277n, 284n Kafandaris, George, 290n

Kalamas River, battle, 39 Kalamata, 11, 42 Kambel Quarter, see Campbell Quarter Kambel riots, 175, 184 Kamhi, Solomon, 296n Kanada (Effektenkammer in Auschwitz), 97, 116-17, 119; escape from, 120; Kommando, 99, 117, 119-22, 255n, 273n, 276n, 279n Kapetan Byron, 294n Kapetan, Kitsos, see Moshe, Itzhak Kapetan Makkabaios, 161, 285n Kapetanissa Sarika, see Yehoshua, Sarah Kaplan, Eliezer, 296n Kapon, Lieto (116052), 89 kapos, 97, 99-100, 102-03, 115-16, 120, 130, 133-36, 223 Karalakou, battle, 171 Karamedzanis, 192, 194 Karasso, Moshe, 188 Karlsbad, see Camps Karo, Georg, 12 Karvounis, Nikos, 297n Kaskaval cheese, 14 Kastner trial, 229 Katastrophe, 20, 22 Kefalides, Ilias, 161 Keramopoulos, Professor, 156 Keren Ha-Yesod, 185, 187 Keren Kayemet, 185, 187-88, 214 Khoushi, Abba, 31, 184 Kielar, Wieslaw, 100 Kimhi, Salmon, 194 KIS (Kentrikon Israeliton Symvoulion), 213-14, 301n Kishinev pogrom, 66 KKE (Kommounistiko Komma Ellados), 54, 139, 144-45, 165, 168, 291n Kleinová, Dora, 275n Klephtes, 70, 162 Klodzinski, Stanislaw, 275n Knochen, Helmut, 36 Koen, Saimos, 263n Koffinas, Moises, 71 Kohen, Josif, 154 Kollas, Mayor of Corfu, 74

Index Kondopolis, Fidel, 156 Konstantines, A. 19 Koretz, Arie (Arieh), 228, 261n, 266n, 283n, 297n, 304n Koretz, Gittel, 228 Koretz, Zvi, 38, 44, 47, 63, 88, 158, 259n60n, 290n; accused of treason, 65, 198; arrested, 49, 62, 64; in camp, 136, 207; as Chief Rabbi of Salonika, 186, 209, 232, 255n, 259n, 294n; death of, 136, 227; during occupation, 55, 62, 159; as President of Jewish Community, 62, 65-67, 160, 182-83, 257n-58n, 261n, 288n Kosta, Barba, 192 Kostis, Isaac (Zak), 155 Kostohori, battle 171 Kotzias, Kostas, 251n Kouenca, Leon, see Cuenca, Leon Kounio, Edgar, 67, 135-36, 229 Kounio, Erika, 121, 126 Kounio, Heinz (109565), 83, 132, 255n, 290n Kounio, Hella, (Stella), 125, 260n, 266n, 268n, 288n Kounio, Salvator, 132, 266n Krakovia, Kingdom of, 166 Krakowski, Shmuel, 112 Krankenbau, see Camps Kriegsakademie, 251n Kriegsmarine, 231 Kristallnacht, 35-36 Kubowitzki, Leon, 190, 198 Kukulonatis, Jani, 193 Lakkarow w’larahok, 236 Laks, Szymon, 280n Langbein, Hermann, 133 Langer, Fero, 95 Lanz, Hubert, 71, 73, 263n Lauterbach, Leo, 186 Le Drame des Juifs Hellènes, 189 Le Progrès, 185, 288n Lehman, I.O., 63, 259n Leipzig, see Camps Lembisis, Giorgios, 200 Lengyel, Olga, 95, 271n

Levi, Albert, 109-10, 277n Levi, Dario, 277n Levi, Emanuel, 192 Levi, Minos, 42, 254n Levi, Moses, 296n Levi, Primo, 117, 132, 227, 279n-80n, 304n Levi, Rachel, 128 Levi, Stella, 120 Levis, Sabatay (182616), 272n Levy, Errikos, 165 Levy, Henry, 257n, 287n, 288n Levy, Moise (182617), 272n Levy, Sam, 205 Levy, Simon, 208, 252n Levy, Sylvain, 124 Lewi, Samuel, 272n Lewis, Erikos, 263n “Lili Marlene,” 128 l’Indépendant, 289n Litschi, Menahem, 281n Livre d’Or du Fonds National Juif, see Keren Ha-Yesod Logothetopoulos, Konstatinos, 158-59, 175, 290n Löhr, Alexander, 53, 67, 82, 284n Lorska, Dorota, 275n Louvaris, Nikolaos, 161, 289n Lovinger, Joseph, 54, 191, 296n, 298n Lublin, David, 203-04 Maccabee Sport Club, 129 Maccabee Zionist Club, 30 Macchi, Antonio, 76 Macedonia, 11, 25-26, 29, 80 Maclean, Fitzroy, 283n MacVeagh, Lincoln, 44, 155, 159 Magdeburg, see Camps Magen David Adom, see Red Star of David Mahler, Gustav, 123 Maissa, Salomon, 105 Majdanek, see Camps Makedonia, 30-31, 250n Malakh, Asher, 187, 189-90 malaria (at Auschwitz), 103, 107, 137 Malbish Arumim (Clothing for the Poor), 49



Index Malkof, see Camps Mallah, Haskiel (110285), 84 “Mama,” 100, 134, 273n Mandate Palestine, see Great Britain, Palestine Mandel, Maria, 103 Maniadakis, Konstantine (Kostas), 35, 152, 192, 208, 250n, 254n, 286n-87n, 296n Marchand, John, 273n Marshall, Louis, 204 Matalon, Salomon, 172, 284n Matanoth LaEvionim (Gifts for the Poor), 48-49, 67 Matkovski, Alexander, 267n Matsas, Joseph, 153, 164-65, 171, 253n, 264n, 292n-94n Matsas, Leon, 163 Matsas, Michael, 154, 169, 263n-64n, 272n, 284n, 287n, 291n Mauthausen, see Camps Mauthausen Death Books, 111 Mavros, Georghos (Georgios), 192, 194, 297n Mazur, Belle, 217, 302n Mazza, Elia (182662), 272n Mechoulam, Eliezer (184206), 272n Medical experiments, 87-89, 91, 99, 103-05, 107-08, 115-16, 122, 124, 126, 137, 273-74n, 283n Megali Idea, see Hellenism Mehmet II, 16 Meir, Mois, 277n Meli, Abroum (182624), 272n Melk, see Camps Melzbachthal, see Camps Menasche, Albert, 84, 91, 102-105, 121, 12324, 274n, 280n Menasche, Lillian, 123-24 Menashe, Ora (41581), 89 Mengele, Josef, 92, 95, 103, 269n Merkel, Gottfried, 251n Merolle, Rino, 75-76, 265n MERRA (Mideast Refugee Relief Administration), 202, 215, 302n Merten, Max, 52-53, 65-66, 82, 84, 259n, 267n, 276n, 300n; trial, 84, 265n

“Messaggero di Rodi,” 75 Messerschmidt, Manfred, 285n Metaxas government, 28, 32, 34, 36-37, 16465, 175, 286n Metaxas Ioannis, 35, 39-40, 54, 138, 156, 175, 185-87, 251n, 253n, 283n, 286n, 289n Metaxas Line, 140-41 Mezan, Saul, 288n MI6, 42 Migi, Abraham, 88 Milne, George, 20 Misan, Haim (182638), 272n Misan, Moissis (182642), 272n Misrachi, Albertos (182649), 272n Misrahi, Mois, 98, 271n Misrahis, Mois (182650), 272n Mistra, 11 Mitrani, Robert (Hippocrates), 165 Mitrani, Yeti, 261n, 264n Mitudi, Niko, 192 Mizrahi, Moisses (Moshe), 125 Mizrahi party, 28, 187 MO4, 289n MO5, 156, 289n Modiano, Aelia, 285n Modiano, Samuel, 66, 156-57, 161, 217, 232, 284n-85n, 289n-90n Mogilev pogrom, 66 Moissi, Jesse, 110 Moissis, Asher, 54, 156-159, 213-214, 217, 227, 246n, 248n, 257n, 287n, 290n, 297n, 301n, 305n Moissis, Issac, see Moshe, Itzhak Molcho, Saul, 133 Molho, Michael, 65, 85-87, 248n, 261n, 267n, 269n, 271n Molho, Lili, 291n Molho, René (122213), 91, 267n, 270n, 273n Molho, Solomon, 256n Monastir Gap, 140-41 Montefiore, Lord, 204 Montgomery, Bernard Law, 59 Mordekai, Leon, 263n Mordo, Mazal, 123, 280n Mordok, Elie (109588), 83

Index Morea, 11 Moses Wells, 201 Moshe, Morris, 132, 134, 281n Moshe, Itzhak, 163, 171 Moshe, Salvator, 132 Moslems, see Muslims Mossad, 42, 200, 298n Moustaki, Leon, 126 Muench, Hans, 126, 281n Mühldorf, see Camps Music in Camps, 116, 119, 123-24, 134, 224, 226, 280n, 293n Muslims, 17, 21, 28, 203, 205, 273n; Greek Jews called, 99-101, 103, 258n Mussolini, Benito, 39, 40, 48, 73, 145, 157, 232, 254n, 285n Musulmans, see Muslims Myers, E.M., 143-45, 147, 162, 284n, 288n Myller, Ernst, 251n Naar, Jules, 259n Nachman, Simon, 71 Nadjary, Marcel (182669), 272n Nahman, Meri, 128 Nahman, Y. Pepo, 127 Nahmiah, Albert, 296n Nahmias, Sam, 155 Nahon, Albert, 86 Nahon, Marco, 43, 91, 105, 125, 221, 227 Nahoum, Abram (119946), 269n Nakamoulis, Eugen (182668), 272n Namer, Youssif (182666), 272n NARA (U.S. National Archives), 155 Natan, Josef (137101), 277n Natbands Treaty, 145 Natzweiler, see Camps Nazim Pasha, 247n Nazis, 63, 67-69, 117, 122, 134, 159, 209, 213, 223, 231, 233, 251n, 286n-87n, 290n-300n; organizations in Greece, 34-36; persecution of Jews, 166 Naupaktos (Lepanto), 13 Nea Evropi, 48 Nechama, Itzhak, 52, 90, 131-32, 269n Negrin, Albert, 70

Negrin, Moissis (182663), 272n Nehama, Joseph, 18, 26, 66, 85-87, 160, 247n-48n, 267n, 269n Neu Dachs, see Camps Neubacher, Hermann, 46, 180, 256n Neubandberg, see Camps Neustadtgalba, see Camps Neustadtlager, see Camps Neustein, see Camps Nikephoros, see Demitriou, Demitrios Nikolopoulos, Constantine, 35, 256n Nifusi, Shmuel, 122 Nissim, Elias, 163 Noah, Isidore, 290n Noah, Mary, 290n Noah, Paul, 161 “Noah’s Ark,” 169 North Africa, 59, 258n, 273n Northern Epirote Army, 141 Nuremberg Laws, 65, 297n Nuremberg Trials, 107, 222, 263n, 282n Nuseirat Camp, 201 Nyiszli, Miklos, 92, 270n-71n Olympia Theater, 129 OPAIE (Organismos Perithalpseos kai Apokatastaseos Israeliton Ellados), 214 Operation Barbarossa, 140 Operation Harling, see Gorgopotamos Bridge Operation Marita, 40, 140 Operation Reinhard, 265n Oranienenburg, see Camps Orchestras, at Auschwitz, 99, 123-24, 224, 280n; at Birkernau, 103, 105, 132, 280n; Security Battalion, 152 Orthodox Patriarch Benjamin, 177, 294n OSS (Office of Strategic Services), 140, 145, 150, 161, 293n Oswiecim Museum, see Auschwitz Museum Otto, Prince of Bavaria, 12 Ottoman Empire, 11, 15, 17-18, 264n Ouziel, Barukh, 250n Ouziel, Solomon, 259n Ovariectomies, see Medical experiments



Index Pacifico, David, 13 Palestine, 184, 201, 236, 249n; escape to (during war), 37, 136, 150, 154, 173, 175, 181, 184, 186-191, 198, 201-02, 209, 213, 259n, 265n, 294n-95n; illegal immigration, 184, 216-17, 234; immigration to (before war), 17, 27-29, 31, 35-36, 39, 109, 120, 185, 247n, 250n; immigration (after war), 202, 210, 212, 214-17, 220, 227, 236, 282n, 291n, 299n-300n Palestinian Jews in British Army, see BEF Pangalos, Theodoros, 27 PAO, 149 Papachrysanthou, Phoebas, 192 Papanaoum, Laskaris, 64, 261n Papandreou, Damaskinos, see Damaskinos, Archbishop of Athens Papandreou, George, 213, 217-18 Papas, Leonides, 250n “Paper resistance,” 145 Pappas, Dimitri, 195-98, 202, 297n Pappas, Kosta, 191 Pardes (The Cooperative Society of Orange Growers, Ltd), 186, 295n Pardo, Beinvenida (38861), 83 Pardo, Sarah, (76912), 88 Parente, Isaac (116575), 277n Parmalee, Ruth, 249n, 304n Patras, 11 Paulos Melas prison, 172, 293n Paulus, Friedrich, 59 PEAN, 262n Pelargos, battle, 171 Pelenis, Charis, 192 Peloponnese, 11, 139 Pelossof, Saby, 259n Penelope of Ithaka, 24 Pentalofos Hospital, 163 Pentcho, 38, 252n Percentages Agreement, 213 Peretz, Aharoan, 132 Perl, Gisela, 104 Pessah, Moshe (Mois), 70, 256n Petropoulos, Elias, 261n Pichon, David, 127

PICRA (Palestine Jewish Council to Relief Abroad), 217, 220, 302n Pinhas, Salomone (182671), 272n Pitson, Alici, 291n Plateia Eleftherias (Liberty Square), 40, 50 Polish Brigade, 111 Polish Red Cross, see Red Cross Polish Resistance, 95, 97, 109-10, 133, 275n Politis affair, 214, 301n Politis, George, Mrs. 214, 290n, 301n Politis, Haim, 288n Politische Abteilung, 93, 124, 126, 281n Polk, Frank, 204 POW (prisoners of war), 141-42, 162, 170, 178, 180, 183, 240; Allied, 133; British, 43, 45-46, 117, 191, 256n; Greek, 41, 163, 283n; Jewish, 41, 117, 284n, 288n; Soviet, 95, 117, 146, 292n Preveza, 13 Preznalis, Albert, 163, 167-68, 292n Proia, 297n Property (Jewish), 23, 28, 187-88, 212-14, 228, 233, 235, 237, 300n; expropriation of, 69, 76-77, 204-206, 213, 299n-301n; Guardia di Finanza di Rodi, 77; restitution of, 220, 233-34, 300n Protocols of the Elders of Zion, 30, 175 Pyramoglou, Konstantin, 144 QBVII, 271n Quarantine Camps, 83, 93, 103, 108, 119, 12124, 126, 129-132, 271n, 282n Rafael, Robert, 194 Rallis, Ioannis, 69, 158-59, 175, 211, 218, 260n, 290n, 300n Rathenau, Emil, 36 Rathenau, Walter, 36 Ravensbrück, see Camps Recanati, Abraham, see Rekanati, Abraham Recanati, Ino (Costa), 75, 152, 229 Recanati, Leon, 190 Recanati, Pepo, 152, 229 Red Crescent, 178, 300n Red Cross: 45, 47, 67, 84, 121, 130, 134, 148,

Index 165, 178-80, 183, 253n, 267n; aid to Greek Jews, 50-51, 180-81, 183, 190, 208, 234, 261n, 282n; American 203-204; Bulgaria, 179; Commission Mixte de Secours, 207-08; efforts in Greece, 45, 180, 183, 190, 253n, 296n, 298n; German, 179-80; Hellenic, 44, 49-50, 67, 148, 172, 179, 181-183, 192, 223, 234, 255n; Italian, 179, 182; l’affaire Burkhardt, 181-183; National committees, 178, 182; Polish, 134; relations with Nazi Germany, 179-183; reports (plight of Jews in Greece), 49, 50-51, 18081, 222, 299n; Swedish, 148, 182; Swiss, 49, 148, 180-183, 234, 247n Red Lion, 301n Red Star Line, 251n Red Star of David, 178, 202, 215, 301n Refael, Alhi, 155 Refael, Hayyim, 122, 280n Refael, Moses, 134 Refael, Shmuel, 130 Rekanati, Abraham, 31, 185 Religion in camps, 134, 136-37, 212, 235 Report of the Sonderkommando Rosenberg (Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg), 43 Resistance in camps, 96-98, 113, 115-17, 12425, 130, 133, 137, 276n, 279n, 288n Revah, Jacques (Isaac), 49-50, 67 Revez, David, 298n Riegner, Gerhard, 181 Righteous Gentiles, 177, 297n Rightist Terror, 219 RHAF (Royal Hellenic Air Force), 176 Rhodes, 11, 18, 37, 80, 150, 262n; Fascist Order of Expulsion, 37 Richter, Heinz, 263n Rindfleisch, Doctor, 107 Roman Empire, 109 Romaniot(e), 12-14, 16, 18, 114, 134, 236, 246n-47n, 286n Rome, 74, 269n Rommel, Erwin, 59, 143, 285n, 299n Roosevelt, Franklin Delano, 155, 159, 173-74, 292n Roosevelt Library, 155

Rose, Alma, 123 Rosenberg, Alfred (Riccardo), 61, 289n Rosenberg Kommando, 161, 290n Rothschild de, Charles, 12 Rothschild de, Max, 12 Routes of Hell, 130 Rozen, Zako (Yaakov, Zhako) (115264), 88, 130, 281n Rubi, Chaim Ben, 194 Rumania, 16, 211 Rupel Fort, 140, 163, 283n Russia, see Soviet Union Russian Army, see Soviet Army Sabas, Giosepos (182688), 272n Sabas, Pesos (182694), 272n Sabbetai, Moissis (182685), 272n Sabetai, Savas (182705), 272n Sackar, Josef (182739), 92, 272n Sachsenhausen, see Camps Saki, Chaim Jacob, 253n Sakis, Moissis, 163 Salem, Joseph (Iosef, Pepo) (124503), 134, 277n Salonika, 17-18, 20-21, 24-26, 28, 44, 54, 60-62, 65, 141, 231, 248n, 259n, 296n-97n; great fire of 1917, 14, 21-22, 203, 205, 224, 232, 260n, 297n; Hellenization, 23, 26, 2930, 32, 175, 204-05, 230 Salter, Simon (114095), 88 Saltiel, Edwin, 253n Saltiel, Sabbetai (Saby), 48-50, 62-63, 261n, 288n Saltzweder, see Camps Samuel, David, 54 Samuel, Moïse (Moses), 69, 133 Samuelides, Solomon (121104), 106, 276n Santas, Apostolos, 256n Saporta, Moris, 194, 200 Saporta, Raul, 127 Sarafis, Stefanos, 44, 144, 148, 165, 169, 255n, 263n, 292n-93n Sarfati, Buena, 200 Sarfati, Moise (117428), 89 Sasson, Daniel Elia, 253n



Index Sasson, Salomon, 161 Sauckel, Fritz, 254n SBS forces, 150 Schafhaus, see Camps Schferin, see Camps Schiff, Jacob, 203 Schneiderman, Harry, 205 Schoenberg, Josef, 194, 297n Schöttl, Vinzent, 276n Schumann, Horst, 88, 104-05, 126 Sciaki, Abraham, 167, 287n Sciaki, Lily, 72 Sciaki, Moïse, 69, 261n Scobee, General, 215 SD (Sicherheitsdienst), 36, 73, 254n, 260n Security Battalions, 139, 146, 211, 218 Sedlaric, Vukosava, 291n Seisas, Mordekhai, 132 Semach, Leon, 247n Semo, Kula, 123, 280n Senior, Isaac (137135), 91, 108, 277n, 281n, 304n Senior, Saul (Shaul), 109, 188, 295n Sephardi Jews, 14, 16, 22, 185, 236, 245n; in camps, 114, 134, 136; deportation, 64 136; post war immigration, 186, 209, 225-26, 234, 236; Salonika Sephardim, 16, 63 Serbia, 25-26 Serris, Moissis (182614), 272n Sevillias, Daniel, 253n Sevillias, Errikos (182699), 92, 103, 121, 253n Sharet, Moshe, see Shertok, Moshe Shelley, Lore, 126, 273n, 282n Shertok, Moshe, 196-97, 202 Shibi, Barukh, 48, 156, 160-61, 289n, 290n91n Shimshi, Into, see Kapetan Makkabaios Shmuel, Moshe, 88, 277n Shoel, Sammy, 127 Sidis, Samuel (182706), 272n Sion, Leon, 229 SIS (Strategic Information Service), 145, 149 Skopje, see Camps Skoufas, see Hadjis, Yohannas slavery, 116, 129, 132

Slaves (in camps), 99, 104, 106, 108, 110, 112, 123, 127, 131, 134-35, 165, 211-12, 216, 221, 223, 266, 269, 273, 279n Smuts, Ian, 156, 289n, 292n Sobibor, see Camps Sochnuth, see Jewish Agency SOE (Special Operations Executive), 14345, 149 Sonderkommando, 92, 94-95, 99, 116, 121-22, 124-25, 133, 260, 270n-71n, 273n, 280n Sonderkommando der Sicherheitspolizei für Judenangelegenheiten in Saloniki-Ägäis, see Eichmann Sonderkommando Sonderkommando revolt, in Auschwitz, 9699, 125, 130, 280n; in Birkenau, 212, 235 Soriano, Mois, 76, 265n Soulema, Moise, 276n Soures, David (112576), 268n Soussis, Isaac (182681), 272n Soussis, Jacques (182679), 272n Soviet Army, 97, 108, 110, 117, 128, 211, 221, 225, 259n Soviet Union, 140, 285n Sovtorgflott, 250n Speer, Albert, 53, 211, 254n SS (Schutzstaffel), 60, 73, 75-76, 88, 106, 146, 212; in Auschwitz, 97-98, 109, 119, 126, 133-34; in Greece, 36, 71, 134, 169, 17172, 189, 231-32 Stalin, Josef, 140, 213 Starina, Maestro, 128 Starvation in camps, 109, 112, 117, 136, 179, 221 Stasiak, Leon, 133 Stasis (civil unrest), 11, 31, 34, 144, 147 Stavroulakis, Nikos, 267n Steinberg, Jonathan, 234, 289n Stephanopoulos, Kadmos, 192 Sterilization experiments (at Auschwitz), see Medical experiments Stiffel, Frank (Franz), 106 Stroop, Jürgen, 68-69, 73, 160, 262n-63n Stroumsa, Zak (Isaac), 132 Student von, Kurt, 142 Stuthoff, see Camps

Index Suicide in concentration camps, 94, 102, 115; among Sonderkommando, 94-95 Sustiel, Hayyim, 277n Swedish Red Cross, see Red Cross Swiss Red Cross, see Red Cross Szmaglewska, Seweryna, 101, 273n Taraboulouz, Joseph, 276n Tarica, Haim, 76 Tarzan, see Bourla, Dora Tauber, Anton, 274n Tazartes, Izo, 287n Tchernowitz, Jacob, 220 Templar Colony, 135 Teosta, Signor, 191 Terezin, see Camps Terver, George, 250n Thadden von, Eberhardt, 53 Thebes, 11 Theodorakis, Mikis, 222 Theresienstadt, see Camps Thessaly, 80 Thomashausen, Edgar, 52, 250n-51n, 255n, 264n, 290n, 300n Thrace, 11, 18, 257n, 283n Tiano, David, 56, 257n Tiano, Jacob, 27 Tito, Josip, 283n, 291n Titus, 14, 278n Tivoli, Isaac, 121 To Phos, 250n Todt, Fritz, 254n Todt Organization, 43, 51, 120, 284n Todtzimmer, 127 Torah um-lakha (Religious Instruction and Work), 51, 260n Tragonis, Michael, 200 Transports, 60, 83, 88,148, 222, 263n, 266n,67n, 275n, 280n ; From: Alexandroupolis, 81; Athens, 80, 92-93, 270n; Bulgarian zone (Greece), 266n-67n; Corfu, 270n, 277n; Dhidhimotikhon, 82; Drama, 81; Greece, 122, 267n-68n, 278n; Holland, 135; Hungary, 122, 125; Italian zone (Greece), 92; Italy, 122; Kavalla, 81; Rome, 273n;

Rhodes, 77; Salonkia, 55, 80, 82-85, 87-92, 265-69n, 271n, 273n, 275n; Skopje, 82; Serras, 81; Thrace, 80, 81; Xanthi, 81; list of, 85-86; lost transport, 85-87; Of: Greek doctors, 275n; Spanish Jews, 268n; To: Auschwitz, 82-85, 87-93, 122, 135, 265n69n, 271n, 273n; Baron Hirsch Ghetto, 67, 158; Bergen Belsen, 282n; Buna-Monowitz, 275n; Dupnitsa, 81; Gorna Dzhumaya, 81; Neu Dachs, 268n; Paulos Melas prison, 172; Poland, 52; Treblinka, 80-82, 85, 87; Warsaw Ghetto, 92, 280n Treaty of Lausanne, 26 Treblinka, see Camps Treblinka revolt, 80, 85 Tripartite Commission, 214, 300n Tripolis, 11 Tröbitz, see Camps Trostberg, see Camps Tsaldaris, Constantine, 158-59, 214, 290n, 301n Tsirimakos, Elia, 191 Tsirulnitsky, Mordekhay (Mordekhai), 88, 266n Tsolakoglou, Georgios, 41, 158, 175 Turiel, Raffaele, 76 Turkey, 16, 174, 234, 254n, 258n; escape to 43, 68, 141, 153-54, 192-93, 199-200, 231, 254n, 264n-65n, 287n, 298n Turkheim, 120 Turkokratia, 11-12, 14, 245n Typhus epidemic, 100, 127, 282n; selections, 103, 107, 113, 126 Tzimas, Andreas, 147, 286n UCAJG (United Committee to Aid Jews of Greece), 188 Ulkumen, Salahattin, 76, 264n Ultra secret code, 140,142 Underground in camps, see Resistance Union of American Israelites, 21 Union of Immigrants from Greece, see ­Hitahduth olei yavan Union Kommando, 132, 272n, 282n United Nations, 221



Index United States of America, 25, 32, 135, 168, 193, 202, 247n, 253n, 292n, 300n; State Department, 204, 250n, 299n, 300n University of Athens, 12, 32, 273n University of Strasboug, 108 University of Thessaloniki, 32, 148 University of Vienna, 62 UNRRA, 202, 215, 220, 223 Uris, Leon, 83, 162, 274n Uziel, Baruch, 189 Uziel, Dino, 129-30 Uziel, Salomon Mair, 305n Vaad meuchad le-ezrat yehudei yavan, see UCAJG Vafiades, Markos, 148, 164, 291n-92n Vanderbilt Committee, see The Administrative Committee of American Relief Vanderbilt, Henry, 255n Varkiza Agreement, 219 Varon, Max, 163 Varnatis, Kostas, 297n Varouh, Joseph (182722), 96, 130, 272n-73n Veissi, Samuel, 105 Velics, Laszlo, 191 Velouchiotis, Aris, 143-44, 263n Venice, 11, 18 Venizelos, Eleutherios 13, 19-22, 26, 28, 3031, 147, 157, 175, 206, 248n; Hellenization policies, 29-30 Venizelos party, 21 Ventura, Jacques, 156-57, 256n, 289n Venezia, Mois (182728), 272n Venezia, Solomone (182727), 272n Vespasian, 278n Via Egnatia, 13 Vichy France, 59, 278n Vidalis, Kostas, 161, 289n, 290n Viernik, Yankel, 85, 87 Vilenberg, Shmuel, 85, 87, 267n-68n Visliceny, Dieter, see Wisliceny, Dieter Vistula River, 95, 109-10 Vivanti, Esther, 123, 280n Vivas, Flor, see Bivas, Flor Vivas, Rena, see Bivas, Rena

Vivas, Shlomo, see Bivas, Shlomo Vlastaris, Dimitrios, 192 Volos, 19 Vrba, Rudolf, 268n Vukmanovic, Svetozar, 291n Wagner, General, 77 Waldlager, see Camps Waldheim Commission, 285n Waldheim, Kurt, 169, 264n, 303n Wallenburg, Raul, 182 Wannsee Conference, 58 War Refugee Board, 136, 155, 173, 193, 286n, 299n Warsaw Ghetto, 92, 102, 108, 124, 127-28, 131, 160, 188, 235, 269n, 277n, 280-81n Warsaw Ghetto Revolt (1943), 109, 160 Warsaw Revolt (1944), 109, 235, 277n Wehrmacht, 67, 71-73, 139, 142, 145-47, 169, 199, 211-12, 231, 262n Weinberg, Werner, 135-36, 283n, 304n Weitzmann, Chaim, 28 Welles, Georges, 270n Wilhelmina, Queen of Holland, 136 Willenberg, Samuel, see Vilenberg, Shmuel Willinstadt, see Camps Wilson, Francesca, 223, 304n Wilson, Henry Maitland, 41 Wind de, Eduard, 273n Wingate, Orde, 143 Wisliceny, Dieter, 53, 58, 64-66, 68, 73-74, 82, 158, 209, 260n-61n WIZO (Women’s International Zionist Organization), 200 WJC (World Jewish Congress), 181, 190, 195, 202, 214, 264n, 285n, 300n-301n Wolf, Lucien, 205-06 Wolken, Otto, 274n Woodhouse, Christopher, 143-46, 154, 161, 284n, 288n Workers Lager (at Auschwitz), see Lager DII World Jewish Archives, 213 World War I, 20-21, 61, 141, 247n, 283n World War II, 11, 39, 142, 162, 210, 231, 236; Greek resistance during, 138, 154; Jewish

Index involvement during, 41; Red Cross activity during, 178-180 Yachbets, Solomon, 253n Yacoel, Yomtov, 52, 63, 96, 157-159, 290n Yad VaShem, 169, 171, 177, 264n, 286n, 297n Yahbes, Albert, 163 Yahoun, Henri, 270n Yahoun, Raoul, 270n Yehoshua, Sarah (Kapetanissa Sarika), 164, 220 Yerushalmi, Aron, 162 Yeshua Ve-Rahamim (Redemption and Loving Kindness), 49 Yoel, Marcel, 287n, 298n Yoel, Suzy, 298n Yom Hashoah, 277n Yugoslavia, 40-41, 141, 210, 283n, 292n Zachariades, Nikos, 219

Zakar, Manahem (182736), 272n Zakar, Yosef (182739), 272n Zakynthos, see Zante Zakythinos, Professor, 156 Zannas, Konstantine (Kostas), 49-50, 67, 172 Zante, 19, 72 Zavitsanos, Kosta, 194 Zervas, Napoleon, 143-44, 165, 211, 263n, 284n, 292n Zion, Isaak, 103 Zion Mule Brigade, 41 Zionism (Jewish Nationalism), 12, 28, 185, 274n, 295n, 302n; Revisionist Zionism, 29, 55, 184-186, 188, 263n Zionist Executive (Jerusalem), 186 Zionist Federation of Greece, 185, 187, 287n Zugänge (newcomers), 100, 110, 119 Zvi, David, 92 Zylberberg, Michael, 110