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History of the Jews of Thessaloniki and the Holocaust

West Chester, Pennsylvania


Tuesday, November 14th, 2006
Professor Madeleine Wing Adler
President of the University
Professor Jonathan Friedman
Director f Holocaust and Genocide Studies
Esteemed Members of the Faculty
Esteemed Students
Ladies and Gentlemen
Back in 1969, around 11 am during a sunny New York day, my cousin, Professor Guy Benrubi, and
I, both students at New York University at the time and Guy sporting a beard, were walking on the
vast Brooklyn Court PlazaBrooklyn Civic Center. The Plaza was almost deserted save for a
pretzel vendor who had strategically parked his cart in the middle of the square. To both of us it
was obvious that he was Greek even from far away. We approached him and Guy asked for a
pretzel, in Greek naturally. His spontaneous and exclamatory reply, with a slight hint of relief, was:
And I mistook you for Jews! This event was aired, by me, during a special documentary series
on Greek State Television (ET3) a couple of decades later. Today, as then, I stand before you as
both a Greek and a Jew.
My objective this evening is to offer a glimpse of Jewish Thessaloniki with special emphasis to the
Holocaust. This vast topic may be broadly divided into the following subtopics: 1) The history of
Jewish Thessaloniki up to the Holocaust, 2) The Holocaust of the Jews of Thessaloniki and 3) The
aftermath and the creation of the Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki. Therefore the most appropriate
title for this work is:

The History of the Jews of Thessaloniki and the Holocaust: An Expos


The goal to which I aspire this evening is to provide a sequence of historical events and, by doing
so, to attempt to stimulate your interest in further research. You will be surprised, doing a cursory
non-web or web based research, of how little we know, and, that most scholarly or non-scholarly
published work, in most instances, just repeats a bare minimum of facts and data. Thus one might
be tempted to believe that the subject, especially that of the annihilation, is taboo. Gaps in the
historiography of Greece do a disservice both to the remaining Jewish Greeks in particular and the
whole Hellenic Nation in general. It is encouraging that research has picked up lately, albeit at a
slow speed. Nevertheless, it is a welcome step in the right direction. The main reason that research
should accelerate at full speed is the inescapable reality of the biological attrition of the ranks of
eyewitnesses and holocaust survivors.
For completeness, the Abstract of the presentation follows:

Abstract
Jewish Thessaloniki is unique because the most cataclysmic and momentous event in its 2,000 year
history is its (near total) obliteration. Unfathomable events of human annihilation took place within
a space of a few months in 1943 CE. These events have been only superficially researched as to the
interplay of circumstances and powers that allowed them to take place, to the degree and speed they
occurred. Documentary evidence shows the bureaucratic efficiency of the perpetrators. The events
of the Holocaust of the Jews of Thessaloniki should be correlated with the history of the
Community before AND after the destruction. The question is twofold: if more human beings
November 14, 2006

West Chester University of Pennsylvania


Paul Isaac Hagouel, hagouel@eecs.berkeley.edu

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History of the Jews of Thessaloniki and the Holocaust

could have been saved and, irrespective of the outcome, what was the moral standing of the
surroundings of the Community? The latter, for objective purposes, can only be surmised and
deduced by the behavior, attitude, actions, reactions and / or omissions of the nonJewish
community, as a whole and as individuals, BEFORE and AFTER the Holocaust. Unfortunately the
general Holocaust mathematical equation has two parts: The first equality states that it only takes a
few evil persons to assassinate [too] many. The second equality states that many righteous humans
may save, at most, a finite number of fellow beings. Darfur waits our actions. . .

Introduction
The history of the Jewish presence in Thessaloniki may be partitioned in the following time periods:
A) From the Ancient times up to 1492 CE, B) From 1492 to the occupation of Thessaloniki by the
German Armed Forces in April 9, 1941, C) The period of the German Occupation [April 9, 1941 to
October 30, 1944] and, last, D) From the date of Liberation to the present. The History of Jewish
Thessaloniki up to the Holocaust is comprised by time periods A and B. The History of the
Holocaust of the Jews of Thessaloniki includes time period C but ends on May 8, 1945 with the
final liberation of all German Concentration and Death Camps.
The Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki came into existence in order to fulfill the need to preserve the
historical memory, to offer vivid glimpses of the past, to educate current and future generations and
serve as a depository of knowledge and tradition for the living Community. It aspires to be the
cradle of our heritage. The demanding task of building the future of the Community based on its
past legacy and wealth of particular traditions in all spheres of human activity is daunting, let alone
realizable. However, one might transubstantiate hope to miracle and believe that the future
generations will prove the wartime perpetrators wrong!

The History of Jewish Thessaloniki up to the Holocaust


A. From Ancient Times up to 1492 CE
Starting with the first period of history, and lacking any precise indications, we assume that the
Jewish presence was established with the arrival of Jews from Alexandria, Egypt around 140 BCE.
Those Jews that settled the geographic area of Modern Day Greece came to be known as
1
Romaniotes, a typical example of a Jewish community of the Hellenistic and Roman era . They
adopted the Greek language, retaining and incorporating elements of Hebrew and Aramaic, as well
as the Hebrew script. Their names were Hellenized and the oldest and most contiguous Romaniote
Community, up to the Holocaust [1944], was the one of Ioannina (or Janina) in the Epirus district.
We have the first written proof of a Jewish presence in Thessaloniki as a result of the visit by Saul
of Tarsus, better known as Apostle Paul. Apostle Paul preached at the Synagogue during his stay in
Thessaloniki. The Synagogue, according to tradition, was called Ets Ahaim, The Tree of Life.
For many centuries Thessaloniki was initially part of the Roman Empire and later part of the
Byzantine Empire. The city and its citizens were subject to the fortunes and misfortunes that befell
the Empire. A dividing date mark of the first period (i.e. till 1492) is March 26, 1430, the day when
Thessaloniki fell to the Ottoman Turks. Concerning its Jewish inhabitants, they shared the same
fate as their co-religionists all over the Empire: First, during the Roman era, they enjoyed wide
autonomy which was curtailed when Byzantium took hold, along with the establishment of
Christianity as the state Religion. It is to be noted that Thessaloniki is second only to
Constantinople [Istanbul] in the number and importance of Byzantine monuments, mostly
2
Churches .
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West Chester University of Pennsylvania


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History of the Jews of Thessaloniki and the Holocaust

It is during this period [1376] that the first settlement of Ashkenazi Jews is established. They
originate, persecuted, from Hungary and Germany, and they continue to arrive for the next couple
3
of centuries . Even though restrictive measures were instituted against the Jews by a succession of
Byzantine Emperors, overall, Jews were allowed to live in relative freedom and according to the
laws and traditions of their religion and continue to develop and enrich their unique heritage. They
also arrived from Provence, from the mainland Italian Peninsula, as well as Sicily. The multitude of
places of origin was reflected in the names of their respective houses of worship which betrayed
geographical origin.
The conquest of Byzantine Thessaloniki by the Ottoman Turks transformed, in part, the character of
the city to one, where, the new Muslim element of the population was, if not the most numerous
most of the time, the most privileged and dominant. Sultan Murat II will introduce administrative
rules for the city to function. These include the granting of certain privileges such as communal
autonomy and various tax exemptions, to both Jews and Christians alike.
This event prepares the local Jewish population for the most pivotal event in its almost two
millennia history, that of the settlement of the first contingent of perhaps 15000 to 20000 Jews from
Spain, the so called Sephardic Jews [Sepharad means Spain] in the year 1492, as a direct
consequence of the Spanish Catholics King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella who, in a Royal Edict on
March 13, forced all Jews to either convert to Christianity or leave the Country. That is why this
45
Edict is also known as the Expulsion Edict . Thus the settlement of those refugees in Thessaloniki
effectively concludes the first time period of the History of Jews in Thessaloniki.

B. From 1492 to April 9, 1941


The presence of Jews, refugees from Spain, marks the beginning of the second period in the history
of Jewish Thessaloniki. Spanish Jews will settle in all seaside urban centers of the Ottoman Empire
after they were extended a welcome by Sultan Vayazit II. One of the goals of the Sultan might have
been to repopulate and revitalize Thessaloniki which, by 1492, was in decline and depopulated.
The invigoration of the dormant city by the new arrivals changes again its character, injecting it
with the Sephardic tradition and Spanish language, which will uniquely define its Jewish population
to the day.
Again there is an influx of various Jewish groups during the 16th and 17th centuries, coming from all
over: from Portugal, after they have been expelled as in Spain, from Poland, Hungary, Italy and
North Africa. The dominant Sephardic element prevailed over all newcomers, Sephardic or
otherwise. Cultural growth along with economic growth will last until the beginning of the 17th
Century. New sea routes as well as the involvement of the Ottoman Empire in military campaigns
will bring economic malaise and cultural decline.
The 17th century is marked by the appearance of Sabbetai Sevy [or Sabathei Tzevi, or Cevy] of
Smyrna (modern day Izmir) declaring himself to be the long expected and awaited Messiah, self
appointed King of Israel and Savior of the Jewish people. His message will be heeded by Jews all
over Europe since yearning for deliverance from oppression facilitated the acceptance of his
6789
claim
. The result for Thessaloniki was the splitting of the Community to believers and nonbelievers. When the Ottoman authorities forced him to convert to Islam [ascertaining authority], a
few hundred families followed him into conversion and thus created the complex minority of
Judeo-Muslims, or Donme [Turncoats] or, as they prefer to be called, the Mamim i.e. the
Believers. Jumping ahead, this peculiarity of being outwardly identified as Muslims saved them
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West Chester University of Pennsylvania


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History of the Jews of Thessaloniki and the Holocaust

from the Germans wrath since they were exchanged [expelled] from Greece as Muslims in the
1923 population exchange with Turkey.
As was to be expected, this event split the Community with hundreds of families adhering to their
belief in Sevy. This turmoil coupled with an economic crisis forced, finally, the centralization of
the administration of the Community (circa 1680) under the leadership of a single council
comprised of three Rabbis and seven secular members.
The stagnation will last up to around the middle of the 19th century. The Community, and the city
as a whole, will emerge from this lethargy and hibernation to its Renaissance around that time. The
Industrial Revolution, European Enlightenment, as well as the new socio-political conditions
prevailing in the Ottoman territories are in part responsible for the reversing of the trend and the
10
ushering of the new modern environment . From 1871 onwards the railroad will connect
Thessaloniki with North West Europe and Constantinople to the East. Modern western industrial
products make their appearance, further invigorating, via commerce, the interaction of the local
distinct groups of the population. The main groups that give the city is multicultural and
multiethnic character may be distinguished either linguistically, or by religious origin, or by
geographic origin. We find Greek Orthodox Christian Greeks [by ethnicity and origin] speaking
Greek, Muslims speaking Turkish and mainly of Ottoman origin and, finally, Jews, overwhelmingly
11
Sephardic speaking Ladino with their unique customs . We even find the Donme. The Ottoman
Empire had granted some privileges to its subjects of non Ottoman origin not out of kindness, but as
a means to keep then subjugated and second class, and heavily dependent on an intermediate
stratum of Turkish civil servants for their dealings with the central administration. This was not a
melting pot, and, even though this arrangement served the needs of the High Porte, it foreboded bad
omens.
The city boasted a number of very wealthy Jewish families amidst a majority who were daily bread
earners, living a hand to mouth existence, albeit while retaining their centuries old customs, their
language and traditions.
Thus next to the dozens of new schools created by the Community, the prominent factories and
wholesale and retail shops named after their Jewish owners, the Community also maintained social
welfare institutions in order to assist and support deprived, destitute and / or sick members. There
existed orphanages, health care facilities, and old age home.
Many newspapers circulated in Judeo Espagnol {JewishJudeo Spanish or Ladino} and in French.
Due to the presence of the Alliance Isralite Universelle { http://www.aiu.org }, French teaching
and schooling became available. Even a Socialist Workers Federation was created in 1909,
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
La Federacin
.
The dawn of the year 1912 finds a Community, Sephardic to its core, with elements of
cosmopolitanism among its elite. It is also interesting to point out that during the previous year
1911, David Ben Gurion came to and resided in the city in order to attend the Ottoman Civil
Servant Preparatory School Idadi, because, at the time, Palestine was still under Ottoman rule.

Greek Thessaloniki
Year 1912 is a demarcation point of the second period of Jewish Thessaloniki (1492 1941). The
outcome of the Balkan wars finds the Modern Greek State, Hellas, victorious against the Ottoman
19
Turks and Thessaloniki in its fold . The incorporation of Thessaloniki in the Greek State had the
following immediate consequences: First, the overwhelming [near total] majority of the inhabitants
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History of the Jews of Thessaloniki and the Holocaust

of Jewish religious origin became Greek citizens. Second, Thessaloniki became a border city of a
Nation State in lieu of its previous position up to then, that of a major urban center with a sea port
in the crossroads of a vast hinterland of a multinational Empire. This fact had long lasting
economic and, subsequently, social and demographic repercussions.
The impact and importance of Jewish inhabitants becoming instantly Greek citizens of the Greek
Hellenic State, requires more subtle analysis and is of paramount importance even today. I beg for
your forgiveness as, if only for a few moments, I will be instructional in my presentation: Before
1912, the population was comprised of Jews (religious and linguistic distinction), Muslims (Turks
and others), and Greeks identified as both a solid linguistic (Greek) and religious (Greek Eastern
Orthodox Christian) group augmented with the fact of the uninterrupted presence for millennia in
the Geographic region. All were nominally subjects of the Sultan, albeit the nonMuslim ones of
20
lower status . Now Greece is a modern state with a Constitution guaranteeing equality for all its
Citizens. Thus, in one instance, a Greek may be Christian, Muslim, Jewish or whatever. In Greek
Grammar, like in the English one, the adjective precedes the noun that it defines or characterizes.
Therefore, from 1912 onwards, the correct form to use when we refer to the Jewish inhabitants of
the State of Greece who are Greek Citizens is Jewish Greeks and not Greek Jews. If it is not a case
of political correctness, well it is a case of correct grammar {syntax} and, even, Constitutional
21 22 23 24
correctness (and mandated by both its spirit and letter!)
. Therefore, when we refer to
nonJews we should be using the terms of non Jewish Greeks and neither plain Greeks nor plain
Christians. We should keep in mind that although, during the interwar years, the post World War I
creation of many NationStates exacerbated the problems of the minorities inside their respective
25 26
national borders
, this did hold true for Greece.
Greece embarked, understandably and as expected, on a path of Hellenization of the newly acquired
27
territory and, especially of Thessaloniki with its large nonChristian Greek population . The
process accelerated right after the Asia Minor Catastrophe and the subsequent population exchange
on a religious basis between Greece and Turkey [ the defeat of Greece by Turkey in the Coastal
Region of Asia Minor that included SmyrnaIzmir in 1922. Greece was awarded jurisdiction of this
28
area, inhabited for millennia by Ethnic Greeks, following Turkeys defeat in the First World War]
29 30 31
. {Here we meet again the Donme who, even though they were neither bona fide Muslims
nor considered themselves to be so, for the Greek State they were considered as such (i.e. Muslims)
and thus were expelled or exchanged along with the rest of the Muslims [excluding those in
Thrace] for the ethnic, linguistically and religiously, Greeks or Ionians of Asia Minor [excluding
those in Constantinople [Istanbul] and the Islands of Imvros and Tenedos]}.
Hellenization, visvis the Jewish inhabitant, entailed compulsory education in the official
language, i.e. Greek, compulsory military service, closing of the stores on Sunday instead of
Saturday [Shabbat] and, in general, a gradual inroad of the Christian Greek element to
predominance in almost all spheres of activity, especially economic. This trend accelerated when
the population imbalance became even more pronounced in favor of nonJewish Greeks, after the
influx of Asia Minor refugees.
For a Nation State with a population that was, at the time circa late 1920s more than 96%
nominally composed of Christian Orthodox AND Greek speaking inhabitants, to manage to
incorporate and accommodate the Jewish minority in the fiber of the State web, without any
significant prejudice and xenophobia and with a total absence of discrimination or any outward
manifestation of discriminatory attitude, is in itself both remarkable and commendable. The
Modern Greek State had incorporated in its Constitution, from the beginning, all those principles
that guaranteed equal rights and equal treatment. Official State or Religious {Greek Orthodox
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32

Church} antiJudaism was both nonexistent and alien by contrast with, for example, Romania .
33 34
However, isolated individual manifestations of antiSemitism did occur and are still occurring
.
Hellenization of the Jewish population had the beneficial effect (intended or not intended) of
turning second class subjects of the Ottoman Empire into full-fledged and full-righted citizens of a
Modern State. If the German annihilation had not taken place, who knows what the vibrancy of this
populous Community would have been today for the benefit of both, itself and the whole nation.
Maybe with the use of mathematical tools and simulation algorithms we might come up with a hint
35
of what would have been if .
Unfortunately the Hellenization process could only be applied to the new generation(s) of the time.
At the eve of the Second World War the majority of the Community members had only a
rudimentary knowledge of Greek. Therefore their Constitutional Greekness was not matched with
36
the linguistic requisite, that of the fluent command of the official language . Thus they stood apart
from the rest of the population in two obvious ways, first by their linguistic and cultural difference
and, second, by their sheer number. This set of distinctive defining characteristics was unique to
this Community. No other Jewish Greek Community matched them.
The interwar years with the whole world in financial and political turmoil and Greece, with a
sudden population increase of almost 1500000 human beings, one fourth of the previous total,
struggling to absorb them and come to grips with the new social reality, were not conductive to the
welfare of the Community. The Jewish population was still reeling from the devastating effects of
the 1917 fire that destroyed many Jewish neighborhoods and burned synagogues. Many emigrated
37 38
for economic reasons, others due to isolated antiSemitic acts e.g. the Campbell incident
.
Furthermore, the mandate of the Constitution [i.e. all Greeks are equal] was incapable, and never
meant, to force the acceptance and consideration of the Jews by nonJews not as identical equals
but as equals. This is a fine distinction and the State did not help either with its misguided,
injudicious and shortsighted decision to segregate the Jewish voters from the Christians ones in
39
40
separate pollingstations, an act blatantly unconstitutional . This was a Community in transition .
The eve of the Second World War finds Thessaloniki with a Jewish population of around 55000
41
souls, a bit more than a fifth of the total population (See Figure 1). At its religious helm is a non
42
Greek and nonSephardic Chief Rabbi , the German born and educated Dr. Tzevi (Zwi, Cevy,
Zevi) Koretz. The Jewish Cemetery is a thorn in the plans of urban renewal and sprawl of this city
whose original centuries old character has changed irrevocably by the settlement of the refugees. If
we exclude the Jewish Greeks, the City is now totally homogenized in comparison with its previous
multiethnic and multicultural image.
Italy declares war on Greece on October 28, 1940 and fighting erupts on the Albanian front. Greece
is victorious and thousands of Jewish Greek conscripts and officers battle valiantly alongside their
43
nonJewish (Christian) fellow Greeks . However, on April 6, 1941 Germany invades Greece from
the North. After fierce battles, they occupy the whole country. These events effectively conclude
the fascinating narrative of the two millennia Jewish Thessaloniki, bode a taste of the upcoming
tumultuous upheaval of the Community, and mark the end of the second period in the History of
Jewish Thessaloniki. The declared aim of the Occupier, if only thinly veiled, was the eventual
annihilation of the Jews, an event in World History that will come to be known as the Holocaust,
the Genocide of the European Jews. In less than three years time Jewish Thessaloniki will cease to
exist as such.

The Holocaust of Jewish Thessaloniki


C. From April 9, 1941 to October 30, 1944 German Occupation
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Thus April 9, 1941 dawns and brings along the German occupier. This momentous event ushers the
Community, brusquely, to the third time period of its history the history of the Holocaust of the
Jews of Thessaloniki April 9, 1941 to May 8, 1945. A priori it should be noted here that the
period of German Occupation [more precisely of regions occupied by either the Germans, or
Italians, or Bulgarians] is characterized by extreme hardship and famine for the whole population,
Jewish and non-Jewish alike. Also the events that took place and the procedures applied for the
purpose of exterminating the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki were repeated at a later date, with
insignificant variations, for the annihilation of all other Jewish Communities in the rest of Greece.
What makes Thessaloniki stand apart is the fact of its sheer numerical strength and that it was the
first Community in Greece to experience the consequences of the implementation of the Endlsung
44
[Final Solution] . Events and ideas that shaped European Anti-Semitism and its subsequent
45 46
Genocidal strain in the 19th and the first half of the 20th centuries
may have been foreign to
mainstream Greece, but that fact did not impede the perpetrators to proceed with their murderous
plans.

Figure 1: Number of Jews in Thessaloniki as presented in the


Final Report on the Activity of the Rosenberg Special Assignment Detachment in Greece
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Upon their arrival, the Germans imprisoned many notables and arrested the Chief Rabbi Dr. Koretz
who was sent to and incarcerated in a Concentration Camp near Vienna. They appointed a new
Communal Council headed by Sabbetai Saby Saltiel as President of the Community, a man of
limited abilities but boundless ambition. For a span of almost 15 months nothing major
happened i.e. life threatening or total hardship and complete destitution like the one that was taking
place in the Warsaw Ghetto. Certainly the Jewish Press was silenced and Communal and private
book collections were plundered and confiscated by the Einsatzstab Reichsleiter Rosenberg
Kommando [Special Assignment Detachment] along with all religious items of great historical
47
value . In addition, the German occupiers proceeded in outright plundering and pilfering of all
merchandize in stores of Jewish ownership and expropriated the best houses for their use. Thus, all
these actions and measures created the conditions for penury and destitution for a large part of the
Jewish population.
This period of relative calm and normalcy is shattered by an announcement of the German
Authorities, published in the newspaper Apogevmatini {Afternoon} edited by a collaborator,
calling all adult male Jews in the age group 18 to 45 years old to appear (assemble) for registration
at Plateia Eleftherias {Liberty Square} on Saturday, July 11, 1942 [The goal was to register the pool
48
of available men for forcedlabor work]. The picture that follows says it all (Figure 2) . Nine
thousand [9000] adults gather in the square. The Germans did not allow them to cover their heads
or drink water in the sweltering heat, made them stand for hours under the blazing and scorching
sun, and some Germans even forced many to perform calisthenics! This was the first major omen
of worse things to come.

Sam Rouben

Plateia EleftheriasLiberty Square, Saturday, July 11, 1942


Figure 2. The first person from the right, the one wearing eye glasses and standing
in front of the German soldier, is the late Sam Rouben from Oakland, California.
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Figure 3: Check #2 of Drachmas 134,000,000 in part payment of the ransom.


This is the second of seven checks and it is signed by President of the JCT (Oct 29, 1942)
Sabbetai Saltiel. It was countersigned by Max Merten as Head of the Administration &
Economic Section {Abteilung} of the Thessaloniki Aegean Command.
The check was transferred to the Reich Accounting Office on November 4, 1942 and
deposited and paid in full at the Bank of Greece the same day.
After the completion of registration many were conscripted for forced labor in various parts of the
Country. Hard labor, harsh conditions and insufficient food coupled with the fact that most were
already not in best of health or used to hard manual labor led to an accelerating attrition of the ranks
by death and many falling severely ill [it should be remembered that general famine was rampant
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among the general population and in particular the Jewish one]. This deplorable situation forced the
Community to seek negotiations with the German authority as represented at the time by Dr. Max
Merten, Civilian War Advisor to the ThessalonikiAegean Command. The negotiations lead to an
agreement where the Community agrees to pay a huge ransom [2,500,000,000 drachmasaround
60,000,000 in current US$] in order to extricate its members from further compulsory onerous
forced labor. The following figure shows the front side of a Cashiers check payable to the order of
the German Command [Befehlshaber] with a sum of 134,000,000 drachmas, from the Jewish
Community of Thessaloniki, signed by President Saltiel and dated October 29, 1942. The back side
shows the signature of Max Merten and the official seal as well as the Bank of Greece stamp as
49 50
(Figure 3). This check is the 2nd one out of a total of
PAID. The date is November 4, 1942
seven. This set of documents touches on another issue of the Holocaust of the Jews of Thessaloniki
specifically that of the financial audit of the money, fortunes etc that was involved. Forensic and
sleuth financial investigative methods most probably will have to be called upon for the research.
This topic is beyond the scope of this presentation.
In the meantime Rabbi Koretz was released from custody during January 1942 and returned to
Thessaloniki where he regained his post as Chief Rabbi. During this period Dr. Pohl of the
Rosenberg Special Assignment Detachment continues the plundering of archives, libraries and
collections of Judaica both in Thessaloniki and the in the nearby towns with sizable Jewish presence
51 52
and collections. He sends everything to Germany
. The Soviets will subsequently ship all the
archives to Moscow where they still remain. Dr. Pohls punishment after the war will be a year
and a half (May 1945 to October 1946) internment by the US forces . . . .
After the July 11, 1942 Platia Eleftherias event, the collaborationist local press {newspapers
APOGEVMATINI and NEA EVROPI [New Europe]} multiply in frequency of appearance and
augment in hate theirs editorials, articles and propaganda concerning the Jews. Along with the
ransom, during the end of the year 1942 and continuing in 1943, the German occupier accelerates
the expropriations, requisitions and seizures of all kinds of valuable merchandise form Jewish
owned stores. The usual stratagem is to simultaneously incarcerate the owner(s) for imaginary
infractions. As for paper and cardboard, both very precious and hard to find commodities and
useful for propaganda purposes {newspaper printing, flyers, journals etc.}, they created a new
corporation bearing the grandiose title of the GermanGreek Paper Industry [DeutschGriechisch
Papier Industrie] whose inventory was, simply, the sumtotal of all the paper collected [stolen]
from all Jewish print shops and warehouses. This Industry worked hand in hand with the
German Propaganda office in allocating paper to various individuals and entities, in whatever
quantity and price. That way they had full control on all printed matter and made life difficult for
resistance printing.
The yearend brings a calamity of another sort, that of the destruction of the centuries old Jewish
Cemetery with more than 500,000 tombs, most of them of priceless historical value. The Governor
General of Macedonia of the time with the assistance of the German Occupier succeeded in
completely obliterating anything that might remind someone what existed there for centuries. The
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki has been built on these holy grounds. This is both a very sad
53
and shameful chapter in the history of the City as a whole . December 1942 also brings a change
in the Community administration: The Germans demote Saltiel and put Dr. Koretz in the helm of
the Community. Thus Koretz assumes both posts, that of the President of the Community while
retaining the post of chief religious leader that of Chief Rabbi. His fluency [native tongue] in
German facilitates his deliberations with his German masters. He is their persona grata and, having
experienced firsthand the care of the SS and the Gestapo in Vienna, is eager to oblige.
The day of reckoning is near. On the military war front things are not going very well for Germany
and the other Axis powers. The New Year 1943 finds General Paulus 6th Army encircled in the
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Cauldron [Kessel] of Stalingrad. Field Marshal Paulus surrenders to the Soviet Armed Forces on
54 55
February 1st, 1943
. This marks a turning point on two fronts: A turn for the worse for the Axis
powers with defeat starting to loom very probable in the not so distant future and an intensification
of Germanys War against the Jews where each single day that the German Reich remains
56
undefeated has as outcome the addition of thousands of victims to the grand total .
Thessaloniki now has the dubious distinction of being the first Community destined for annihilation
right after the military defeat at Stalingrad. The machinery of Death is put into gear and high
action. The events follow one another in rapid succession, culminating, as we shall see, in the near
total extinction of Jewish presence in Thessaloniki and the extermination of more than 90% of its
members.
On Saturday, February 6, 1943, arrives the Special Assignment Detachment of the Reich Security
Service in charge of the Jewish Department. This is headed by Dieter Wisliceny,
SS Hauptsturmfhrer [rank equivalent to that of Captain in the US Army], and his subordinate
(seniority wise) Alois Brunner, also an SS Hauptsturmfhrer. (Initially in their careers Adolf
Eichmann was subordinate to Wisliceny. However, Eichmann was more zealous and hard working
and, at some point in the course of time, outranked Wisliceny. They were always close and
Wisliceny christened Eichmanns third son giving him the name Dieter). Thus Adolf Eichmann, the
technocratbureaucrat genocidist par excellence, honored Thessaloniki with two of his best and
most competent operatives.
It is a bitter irony to state that Eichmann during his interrogation by Israeli (Berlin Born) Police
Captain Avner Less (1960), and the infamous Dr. Max Merten in his testimonial affidavit for the
Eichmann trial (1961), both reproach and blame Wisliceny for taking the initiative and acting
outside orders! This a paradigm of a charade where the superiors blame the inferiors for performing
better that ordered to! The circle of recriminations among the former Kameraden started with
57 58 59
Wislicenys testimony, in 1946, during the Nurnberg Trials
. In that Wisliceny blames the
others, the same way as Eichmann attempts to persuade the Court and stands fast during his own
trial. The facts that emerge are that ALL of them worked diligently to bring their task to fruition.
A document that I will present for the FIRST time proves that the initiatives that Wisliceny took
had as sole purpose the expediting of the resettlement to the East process.
The chain of events starts with the callorder to Koretz to confer with the SD Detachment. This
takes place on Monday, February 8, 1943 and, immediately, he is handed the first order signed by
Max Merten that introduces the German Nurnberg Racial Laws effective almost immediately. The
60
mockery of it is that the order was antedated to February 6 . The order decreed that Jews should
be distinguished as such, i.e. marked with a distinctive sign, and that they should concentrate at and
live in specific areas [Ghettos].
Wisliceny is empowered to enforce these directives and issues his implementation orders. These
orders command that all Jewish shops should be marked as such, and, the distinctive mark for all
Jewish Greek (NOT nonGreeks) persons aged more than 5 years should be the Yellow Star of
David {the six pointed star}. It should be made out of cloth and sewn on garments and overcoats.
And here comes the damning document in living color (see Figure 4): Wislicenys order stipulated
that, along with the garment distinctive mark, all Jewish Greeks should be issued a Community
Identity Card numbered sequentially and identifying the holder as Jewish. The same number
appearing on the ID {Ausweis} should also be stamped on the cloth stars. Below is the
Authorization document for the release of cardboard {Karton = carton} for the printing production
of 55,000 Identity Cards printed on carton {Ausweise (Karton)} for the Jewish Community of
Thessaloniki with IndexIdentification number 2788 ab {Kennziffer Nr} and, the release was
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History of the Jews of Thessaloniki and the Holocaust

further authorized, on top of the regular Officer of the German Propaganda Office, by nonother
61
than Wisliceny! (Figure 4) . The print shop was the Imprimerie David Gattegno.
This document substantiates the fact that 55,000 Identity Cards were printed. Considering that at
most 1,000 would be misprinted and destroyed plus the fact that infants were exempt, we have a
near certain indication of the numerical strength of the Community on the eve of its obliteration.
This number is also corroborated by the population table in the Rosenberg Report as shown on
Figure 1. The tragedy is unfolding but, unlike Antiquity, we all know that no redemption no
Catharsis will follow.
The Propaganda Office directives stipulated that a surcharge [Pflichtgebhr] of 10% should be
levied for the services of the Propaganda Office. That 10% was arbitrarily augmented to 50% for
works printed for the Jewish Community (!) [Further figures are shown during the presentation].
However, Wisliceny pulls rank and takes the initiative to waive the obligatory surcharge. What a
bighearted gesture! In order to expedite the hideous process he waived part of the cost that his
victims had to assume in order to be murdered!
The IndexIdentification number had to appear on all printed matter. Since the ID cards were the
second ) item authorized, the following identification mark had to be clearly printed on the
IDs: Gatt. Gen. No. 2788 B. Figure 5 shows a Personal Identification Card issued by the Jewish
Community in compliance with Wislicenys order of February 12, 1943. The IndexIdentification
Number is easily discernible on the Card {the Card belongs to the Jewish Museum of
Thessaloniki}.
The SD authorities, along with the civilian advisor Max Merten continued to shower the bewildered
and, most of all, frightened and alarmed population with further requirements to meet in order to
keep them busy and disoriented. One of those was the wealth declaration, including filling up
special forms with minute details such as full description (and value) of kitchen utensils and cutlery.
Here is facsimile copy of such a declaration form [during presentation] and Figure 6 shows the
original instructions in JudeoSpanish of how to fill the declaration. The flyer forewarns those
obligated to fill the forms that they should be very diligent, otherwise they would risk severe
punishment by the German Authority!
Actually this document, composed in JudeoSpanish with Latin characters, constitutes also proof
that, for at least some official Community announcements to its members, Greek was not used.
Therefore, we can only deduce that, even at the beginning of 1943, the spoken and understood
language among the majority of the Jews of Thessaloniki was Ladino.
In conclusion, all this paperwork for nothing, besides its sole purpose in registering and identifying
the Jews as such and keeping them continuously on edge, proves that the German perpetrators
relished Bureaucracy along with Murder. It might have been that Bureaucracy served also as a
psychological shield for disguising their horrid task as a simple implementation of a predefined
plan of resettlement. Maybe a postmortem forensic psychoanalysis of the perpetrators souls
62
might reveal something !
These events, following one another in rapid succession, culminate in the announcement by the
German Authorities and subsequently by Chief Rabbi Koretz that an order has been issued that all
the members of the Community will be deported and resettled in the District of Krakow in Poland.
This is the beginning of the end for the great Sephardic Community, the Mother in IsraelMadre
en Israel as it was known. The destiny of all has been decided. The malevolent intentions and
deeds of the Reich to the day did not leave any niche for hope . . . .
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page 12 of 47

History of the Jews of Thessaloniki and the Holocaust

Figure 4: Authorization for the Carton release for the impression of 55,000 Identity Cards
The Document is dated February 17, 1943, over signed by Wisliceny
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History of the Jews of Thessaloniki and the Holocaust

Gatt is written in the lower left corner [Gatt stands for Gattegno] plus the Number

Figure 5: Personal Identification Card issued by the Jewish Community in compliance


with Wislicenys order of February 12, 1943. Rabbi Koretz signs the Card as President.
However agonizing and excruciating the evolving drama of the Jews of Thessaloniki, our
perspective would be incomplete if we did not acquire a general overview of the larger image and
happenings in the whole of occupied Greece during that period. The consequences of the
Occupation were especially severe for Greece, a net importer of foodstuffs. If the British hadnt
lifted the naval blockade for relief ships of the International Red Cross and other Aid Organizations,
especially after the severe famine of the first year and a half, there wouldnt have been any Greeks
63
left and no Hellenic Nation. Reprisals for acts of resistance were also harsh. .

Deportations Concentration Camps Rescuers Resistance


Jews of Spanish Nationality
Deportations
The first convoy of Jewish Greeks departs ostensibly for Krakow on March 15, 1943. The final
destination is the Concentration and Death Camp complex of Auschwitz Birkenau near the Polish
town of Oswiecim. All deportees are allowed to carry only a certain amount of Polish Zloty with
them, ostensibly for use in Krakow Poland. These Zloty they buy in exchange for drachmas.
They are strictly forbidden to carry with them precious stones, gold and/or foreign or Greek paper
money. They are required, under penalty of severe punishment, to deposit all these valuables at the
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History of the Jews of Thessaloniki and the Holocaust

Ghetto offices before they leave (What happened to all this wealth?). Witness accounts, among
them my fathers, describe in detail their ordeal in the cattle cars, hermetically sealed for many days
64 65 66 67 68
during their long journey to extinction
. Consecutive convoys follow and, in the space
of two months, the city becomes practically Judenrein. Desperate attempts to approach the German
authorities, by Metropolitan Genadios and the occupation Greek Prime Minister Rallis, and to
intervene on behalf of their persecuted fellow citizens had no effect whatsoever. This intervention
cost Chief Rabbi Koretz his job as President since it infuriated his German masters. He was
relieved from his duties and incarcerated in the Baron Hirsch ghetto, the springboard of the
69
deportations and the liquidation of the Community . Table 1 shows the arrival of the Convoys
according to the Auschwitz Camp records.
Very few Jews, especially those with a command of the Greek language, managed to escape and
hide. Unfortunately even quite a few of those, against the best advise of their nonJewish
acquaintances and friends and their own gut feeling, decided to follow their elders to the unknown
hopping for the best. Some Christian Greek families sheltered others at the penalty of death if
discovered. Unfortunately other bystanders saw an opportunity to share on the spoils and pilfering
70 71
.
of property and assets left behind
This page of History, the daily events of the tumultuous period before and during deportations, has
yet to be researched. The best approach is to state the facts and present archival material and
documents. The researcher has to try to resuscitate the minute details of events and daily
72
happenings of the era and, of paramount importance, to convey the intensity of it all . Very little
73
research has been done (to the best of my knowledge) on Comparative Holocaust and on the
effectiveness of the Bureaucracy of Genocide at the various countries where the Final Solution
74
was implemented and carried out to the end (what Hannah Arendt described very aptly as The
75
Banality of Evil ). The documented presentation of the Holocaust in the various European
76
77
Countries as found in Dawidowicz, in Raoul Hilberg and, pictorially, in Schoenberner and in
78
Milton , describe and depict, in a rather concise manner, how the annihilation process was carried
out in each country. Even from those we surmise that the implementation procedures, including the
bureaucratic ones, differed from country to country and that many were improvised in particular
localities (e.g. the process steps NOT the end goal were different in Athens as compared with
those in Thessaloniki). A fresh study of the deportations and subsequent annihilation of the Jews of
Greece and especially of the Jews of Thessaloniki is presented in the book by Margaritis
79
Undesirable fellowcountrymen, TsamidesJews .

Concentration and Death Camps


Returning to the doomed souls who travel north in the trains of death, we should point out a few
facts: First, the Jewish Greeks had another dubious honor, that of being located the farthest away
from the Death Camps [map during presentation]. This had as a result a very long journey in
abhorring conditions that lasted for many days and claimed the lives of many even before arrival at
the camp. Second, unknown to all at the time, those selected for slave labor had to confront the
hardships for two full years in order to survive the War. Lastly, they knew no German, Yiddish,
Polish or other Camp languages, a fact that hindered communication. In addition, they were not
used to the extreme climate of the region, especially the bitter icecold winters so foreign in
Mediterranean Countries.

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History of the Jews of Thessaloniki and the Holocaust

Figure 6: Instructions on how to fill the wealth declaration forms, March 1, 1943
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History of the Jews of Thessaloniki and the Holocaust

Table 1

Official records of the total of Thessaloniki Jews sent [deported] to the


German Concentration & Extermination Camps Auschwitz Birkenau
Records from the Archives of the Concentration Camps Auschwitz Birkenau

Convoy
1st
2nd
3rd
4th
5th
6th
7th
8th
9th
10th
11th
12th
13th
14th
15th
16th
17th
18th
19th
Total

Date of Arrival
20/3/1943
23/3/1943
25/3/1943
30/3/1943
3/4/1943
9/4/1943
10/4/1943
13/4/1943
17/4/1943
18/4/1943
22/4/1943
26/4/1943
28/4/1943
4/5/1943
7/5/1943
8/5/1943
16/5/1943
8/6/1943
18/8/1943
Total
2/8/1943
of Displaced Persons:

Persons
2,800
2,800
1,901
2,501
2,800
2,500
2,750
2,800
3,000
2,501
2,800
2,400
3,070
2,930
1,000
2,500
4,500
880
1,800
48,233
441
48,674

Destination: BergenBelsen Concentration Camp


Date of Departure
In 1945 the Jews who returned numbered 1,950
Percentage of losses greater than 96%
Note: Some convoys may havepicked up more people after Thessaloniki

All the convoys that left Thessaloniki had AuschwitzBirkenau as their final destination except one
that left in August 2, 1943 with 367 Spanish Jews, permanent residents of Thessaloniki, and a few
notables (among them Rabbi Koretz) for the BergenBelsen Camp (This Camp is situated near
the cities of Hannover and Celle in Germany. We will present the saga and fate of those Jews
substantiated with documentary evidence below). Approximately 44000 Jews were deported from
the Hirsch Transit Camp in Thessaloniki. Two thousand five hundred more Jews from surrounding
Communities were also deported bringing the total to 46500 souls. The fate of the overwhelming
majority upon arrival is well known: After the selection process to separate the fit for slave labor
(and those destined for medical experiments) from the rest, the last ones, comprising the majority
80 81 82 83
of the transport, were immediately gassed and subsequently burned in the Crematoria
.
Sevillias, Menashe and Handali give vivid and detailed descriptions of the ordeal, all of them being
victims and eyewitnesses who survived to tell their story. Sevillias was arrested in Athens in March
1944 and deported to AuschwitzBirkenau. His testimony presents the sequence of events
pertaining to the entrapment and subsequent deportation of the Jews in Athens during Spring 1944.
The opus by Michael Molho describes in detail both the deportations from all parts of Greece as
well as the travails of Jewish Greek slave inmates at the Concentration Camps. It also describes the
horrible medical experiments performed by the German Camp Physicians using many Jews and
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page 17 of 47

History of the Jews of Thessaloniki and the Holocaust

Jewesses from Thessaloniki and the rest of Greece as guinea pigs. A Treatise from a researcher at
the (Polish) Auschwitz State Museum offers many details specifically about the Jewish Greeks at
84
Auschwitz . The Chronika 2006 commemorative issue on the Holocaust of the Jewish Greeks
85
includes an English supplement . There are quite a few other sources; however, each one only
86 87 88
adds a few more details to the main facts
. A commemorative volume on the Holocaust of all
Jewish Communities of Greece was presented at a moving event on Capitol Hill organized by the
89
Embassy of Greece on June 21, 2006 . Another general reference (of many) on the subject of the
90
World War II Holocaust of Roma, Jews & others is . As for myself, I was able to extricate
information from my father Leon, Konzentrationslager [KL]Auschwitz Nr. 118633 inmate,
liberated on January 27, 1945.
Note: The early liquidation of Polish Ghettos and the deportation of Jewish Poles to
Treblinka, Belzec and Sobibor Death Camps had as sole purpose the immediate
91
assassination extermination of ALL upon arrival . It was with the development,
growth and enlargement of the Auschwitz Birkenau Camp Complex plus the
attached satellite industrial establishments that the German Reich and the SS realized
the value of slave labor and selections were instituted to that effect. This is one
reason why so few Jewish Poles survived { all destined to extermination} by
contrast with Camp latecomers (Spring Summer 1944) Jewish Hungarians
{ combination selection for slave labor or immediate gassing and cremation}.
Those spared immediate death had to endure the hardship(s) of their incarceration for
a shorter duration (less than half) compared to the one the Thessaloniki Jews had to
92 93 94
.
(endure) in order to survive the war

It is interesting to note that both The Times (London) and The New York Times did publish
the news pertaining to the fate of the Jews of Thessaloniki during the War. First a Times article in
95
May 1943 described in detail how the Jews were deported from Thessaloniki . Then a February
96
1944 NYT article reports that Jews in Salonika Virtually Wiped Out . A followup article,
97
again in The NYT reports that 48,000 Greek Jews are sent to Poland . Finally, a November
98
1944 NYT article reports that Most Salonika Jews Killed . It is only logical to conclude from
the above information that there is NO excuse for anyone living in neutral countries such as
Sweden, Switzerland, Portugal, Spain, and Turkey to claim that he, she or they had no idea
whatsoever on what was going on. . . .

Rescuers
The History of the Holocaust of the Jews of Greece would be incomplete if no mention was made
about the gallant efforts of Christians to save their Jewish Brethren. After all I owe my existence to
the rescue of my mother (in Athens) by her women saviors Zoe MorouFolerou and Danae
KadoglouPavlidou, declared Righteous by Yad Vashem in 1999. Many Christian Greeks
sheltered whole Jewish families or helped them to escape to Athens or to the surrounding
countryside. However, the family bond and loyalty being strong, many young persons although
forewarned and offered either shelter or escape, chose to accompany their elders to . . . Krakow.
Archbishop Papandreou Damaskinos h, Archbishop of Athens and the whole of
Greece, is universally recognized for his representation to the German Authorities in March 1943
and for his Sermon cum Proclamation urging [Christian] Greeks to shelter Jews. Among other
things he stated that Our Holy Religion does not recognize any distinction of superiority or
inferiority based on race or religion. These are words with everlasting universal appeal.
Archbishop Damaskinos was recognized and honored for his efforts and deeds on behalf of his
fellow Jewish countrymen and of being instrumental in rescuing and saving many, especially in
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History of the Jews of Thessaloniki and the Holocaust


99 100

Athens
. While the War was still raging, especially the one against the Jews, the Palestine
101
Labor Federation thanked the Greek People for aid to Jews .
A bright light in this gloom is the miracle of the island of Zakinthos where ALL its Jewish
inhabitants were spared thanks to the efforts of the Metropolitan and the Mayor (see Michael
Molho). However, this was the exemption to the rule. Occupation coupled with the constant threat
of capital punishment in case someone aided Jews played a major role in ones decision to help or
not, spontaneously or after thought, fellow humans. It is an undisputed and document fact that
Athens with a Jewish population only a tiny fraction of that of Thessaloniki (one fiftieth 1/50!) had
a disproportionate number of Christian rescuers and Jewish rescued. One reason might be that the
Community, being tiny, was dispersed and fully integrated with the rest of the population of the big
city. Furthermore, Jews in Athens were almost totally Hellenized (remember that Thessaloniki
became Greek only in 1912. The Greek people declared a Revolution against the
Ottomans on March 25, 1821 [Greek National Holiday]. The first National Assembly at
Epidaurus {Epidavros } established the Hellenic State on January 1, 1822.
102 103
.) On the other
The first free areas included part of the Peloponnese and Athens

hand, the sheer number of Thessaloniki Jews, the older generation(s) inadequacy in fluent Greek,
and the natural tendency to congregate amongst themselves did not facilitate or promote the
integration with and dispersion in the rest of the population. This situation was not conductive to
forging friendships and acquaintances with the Christian fellowcountrymen or neighbors. The
nonJewish population considered them, by and large unwittingly, as plainly Jews and not Greeks
or, at least, Jewish Greeks. This is evident even from official Greek Documents which address
104
them as Jewish fellowcitizens and reserve the term Greek people for the rest . The point is that,
even though NO offence whatsoever was intended, this prevailing attitude did not help the
105
(Christian) Greeks to feelconsider the (Jewish) Greeks as Greeks (no play of words intended)
106
.

Resistance
Last, but not least, many ask if there was Jewish resistance. First of all thousands of Jewish Greeks,
as we have seen, fought valiantly against the Italians and Germans alongside and together with their
Christian Greek fellow countrymen. Quite a few joined the Resistance. And the Sonderkommando
revolt at Birkenau was organized and lead by a Jewish Greek inmate, an officer of the Greek Army
caught in Janina (Ioannina) in 1944, the year that the Germans swept the rest of Greece for Jews to
deport. This topic is still being researched and the interested reader should consult the
107 108 109 110 111
.
References
The near total annihilation of the Jewish population of Thessaloniki and, likewise, of the rest of
112
Greece brings this chapter of the Jewish History to a forced and abrupt termination . The
liberation of Thessaloniki, when the last German soldier leaves the city on October 30, 1944, marks
the beginning of the current phase of the Jewish presence, albeit drastically reduced. Time will
show that numeric inferiority might be offset by other characteristics. The evidence till now is
113
encouraging!
Before we leave this tumultuous (and catalytic?) era for the Jewry of Thessaloniki and the whole of
Europe, we will sidestep and follow the fate of Jewish Spanish nationals of the city during the
period 1943 1945. This chapter is a paradigm of uprooting and upheaval, albeit with a happy
ending [ survival] and full circle back home to Greece [ to the roots] via Spain [ where it all
originated centuries ago!].
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The Spanish Jews of Thessaloniki


The ChronicleNarrative of the Spanish Jews of Thessaloniki
A special group of Jewish inhabitants of Thessaloniki were the nonGreek nationals. The major
group was the Spanish nationals and then came the Italians. These were Spanish citizens but they
were not allowed to enter Spain automatically. They had to renew their Certificate of Nationality
each year. The Certificate was issued by the Spanish Consulate of Thessaloniki. As a group they
were exempt from the racial laws that were applied to their Jewish Greek coreligionists, i.e. they did
not have to wear the Yellow Star or live in the Ghetto. Spain was a neutral country albeit favorably
predisposed towards the German Reich and the Axis Powers. Spain had only a few years back
achieve relative calm with the end of the Civil War. General Franco was the Leader of the State
and the Monarchy was abolished. This was immediately manifested with the change of the Coat of
Arms that was printed on the front of the Certificate of Nationality (see Figure 7).
As long as Spain was both neutral and friendly towards Germany, Spanish Jews were relatively
safe. However, with the tempo of the sequence persecutions deportations accelerating in 1943,
the German appetite for more Jews to destine for Special Treatment [Sonderbehandlung]
increased. Spains reluctance to accept large numbers of its undesirable nonresident citizens
risked to be construed by the Germans as a carte blanche to do as they please with the Jewish
Spanish nationals in its fold. Nevertheless, after much bureaucratic deliberation among the
pertinent German and Spanish Authorities, the Germans finally deported the Spanish nationals to
BergenBelsen [August 2, 1943] and housed them in separate barracks. After further deliberations
among the Spanish Government and the Germans they were finally freed and allowed to travel to
and enter Spain via France (all 367 of them). Their sojourn in Spain was brief, just a few months in
114
Barcelona, and then they were shipped to Casablanca on June 14, 1944 . With the assistance of
UNRRA they were sent to Palestine. They were finally able to return to Greece after August 9,
115 116
1945
.
We will attempt to visualize their Odyssey by retracing some instances of their lives these three
years (19431945). This is a virtual journey for us but a very real one for them fraught with rigor
and privation and, most of all, the threat of extermination hanging on top of their hands as long as
they were in the custody of the Reich. This we achieve by following the story David Jacob
Gattegno and Rachel Gattegno using as a temporal and location fixing compass a set of pertinent
archival documents:
The couple David Gattegno and Rachel Gattegno (born Frances) hails from a family that lived for
centuries in Thessaloniki. David Gattegno owns (owned) a Print Shop that specialized in quality
printing. They are both Spanish nationals, permanent residents of Thessaloniki. They renew their
Certificates of Nationality annually and the 1941 Certificate of David displays prominently the new
Franco era Coat of Arms (see Figure 7). The German Authorities stamp the Certificate with the
following word logo: BESCHEINIGUNG DER SPANISCHER ANGEHRIGKEIT i.e. Certificate of
Spanish Citizenship (see Figure 7a). Thus Spanish citizens are identified as such by the Occupation
Authorities and distinguished from the Jewish Greeks. They are exempt from the race
[Nuremberg] Laws which are being enforced upon their Greek national brethren starting mid
February 1943.

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Figure 7: Front of the 1941 Certificate of Nationality of David Gattegno


The Certificate was issued at Thessaloniki by the Spanish Consulate

Figure 7a: Magnification of the German Stamp that adds the German equivalent
of the Document Title of Certificate of Spanish Citizenship
We now follow the itinerary of the Spanish Jews by riding the Passport of the Gattegnos
some other pertinent documents of the era as a virtual vehicle.

117

and

The Germans draw a list of all Spanish nationals of Jewish origin who belong to the Jewish
Community of Thessaloniki. The following Figure 9 shows part of the 12 pages 1943 German
118
document listing the Spanish Jews of Thessaloniki . I have included only the names of the
Gattegnos without loss of generality. Note that in the last column is written when their Spanish
Nationality ID was issued (Compare it with the above Figure 8). Also note the address given
(Hr. Smyrni 9). This is my actual business & home address (!) if new numbering is taken into
account [current number is 11].
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History of the Jews of Thessaloniki and the Holocaust

Figure 8: Details of the 1941 Certificate of Nationality of David Gattegno [insideback]


The Certificate was issued on July 8, 1941. It identifies David Gattegno as a printer
(The Germans has entered Thessaloniki on April 9 of the same year)

The Gattegnos, like the rest of Spanish nationals, are making preparations for the journey to the . . .
unknown. They apply for a husbandwife common Passport at the Spanish Legation in Athens.
Their Passport is signed by Consul Sebastian de Romero (whose name appears in the historiography
of the Spanish Jews of Thessaloniki and who will remain for some years as Consul after Liberation)
119
(Figure 10). The Gattegnos write a letter to Paul Frances , Rachels son from an earlier marriage,
who had managed to leave Greece earlier, describing to him their situation and predicament,
mentioning among other things that they were allowed to take with them 5000 Swiss Francs. The
120
letter is dated Thursday, May 27, 1943 .

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Figure 9: German Legation Legal Advisor von Thaddens letter accompanied with the
full list all Spanish Nationals of the Jewish race (sic) who belong to the
Jewish Community of Thessaloniki as of April 30, 1943. Bear in mind that by that date,
out of the total 19 convoys to AuscwitzBirkenau, 13 had already left . . .
(Only the Gattegnos are included without loss of generality)

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Figure 8: Page 1

The Passport was issued by the General Consulate of Spain in Greece

Figure 9
Page 2 The Passport was issued on May 25, 1943
Page 3 Personal Data of the Passport Holders
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History of the Jews of Thessaloniki and the Holocaust

Page 4
Page 5a
Page 5b

Figure 10
Signature by the Consul General of Spain, Sebastian de Romero,
May 25, 1943
AuthorizationPermission by the Consulate General of Spain in Athens
for the Holders to enter Spain for one time only(!) from the border crossing
at Irun [opposite Hendaye France] (July 6, 1943)
Entrance Stamp in Spain (PortBou opposite Cerbre France and not
Irun), February 10, 1944 [note the 7 months period that has elapsed]

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Page 6
Page 6a
Page 7

Figure 11
AuthorizationPermission from the Bank of Greece to export foreign
currency (2000 Swiss Francs or the equivalent in other foreign banknotes
[currencies]), June 7, 1943. The export permit is valid for 15 days
Second Entrance Stamp in Spain (PortBou), February 10, 1944
AuthorizationPermission from the Bank of Greece to export foreign
currency (3000 Swiss Francs or the equivalent in other foreign banknotes
[currencies]), June 9, 1943. The export permit is valid for 15 days

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Figure 12: Count List [Devisenzhlung] of Foreign Currency, gold and jewelry belonging
to Jewish Spanish Nationals being deported to BergenBelsen seizedconfiscated by the
German Authorities one day before the departure of the 19th Convoy (destination Bergen
Belsen), July 31, 1943. The person responsible for collecting the valuables and completing
the List was Dieter Wisliceny. Note that according to the AuthorizationExport
Permissions by the Bank of Greece (Passport Pages 6 & 7) David Gattegno was allowed to
take out a total of 5000 Swiss Francs with him . . .
121
(Without loss of generality I include only David Gattegno)
Wisliceny claims that David Gattegno deposited only 30 Swiss Francs while (as we know) he had
permission to carry and export up to 5000 Francs (Figure 11). The options are the following:
1
David Gattegno took only 30 Francs with him.
2
David Gattegno was carrying a larger sum but was able to conceal it despite the
threat of severe punishment if found.
3
Wisliceny, along with the rest of his detachment, profited from the loot and
reported altered tallies to the Reich Finanz [Finance] Authorities.
The most obvious correct answer to this multiple choice question is 3. So Wisliceny and the rest of
the perpetrators were not only extraordinary murderers but they were also common thieves [as in
crooks, bandits & robbers]! So much for the High principles of National Socialism, the
122 123
Herrenvolk and, last but not least, the Elite of the Elite, the SS!

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Figure 13: A note, dated December 2, 1943, declares that the Judenaktion in
Thessaloniki resulted in the confiscation of 22300000 Drachmas, 40185 US Dollars and
55345 Swiss Francs, plus what they seized from the Jewish Spanish Nationals
There exists a gap in exit and entry Stamps: First of all they were hoarded on a train and
deported on August 2, 1944 so there were no niceties such as border stampings exiting Greece,
entering Yugoslavia, and then the Reich to BergenBelsen (remember Austria was the Reich
Province of Ostmark). Again there is no exit Stamps from the Reich or entry into a (fully)
Occupied France and dumped at the FrenchSpanish frontier at Cerbre (Figure 15) for
subsequent entry into Spain and final destination, there, Barcelona (Figures 10, 11, 14 & 15)

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Page 5 (stamp)
Page 6 (stamp)

Page 8

Page 8a
Page 8b
Page 9

Figure 14
Entrance Stamp in Spain (PortBou), February 10, 1944
Second Entrance Stamp in Spain (PortBou), February 10, 1944

Figure 15
Authorization by the Spanish Consulate General in Athens for the Pass Holders
to enter Spain without having to pay any custom duties or levies for the import
of their personal belongings due to the fact that they always resided abroad
[i.e. in Greece and not Spain] July 6, 1943
One orthogonal Spanish Stamp dated February 2, 1944 (?). A faint digit 3
after the digit 2 is discernible in magnification
A small round Stamp of the Customs of PortBou
French Exit Visa by the Vichy Police at the border town of Cerbre, Rgion de
Montpellier, opposite Spanish PortBou, February 10, 1944. Note the Vichy
Coat of Arms on the Stamp

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Page 10
Page 11

Figure 16
Spanish Stamp, April 4, 1944
Gratis Extension of the validity of the Passport at the Spanish Consulate
General in Palestine at Jerusalem, July 4, 1945
[Note the gap with no Exit or Entrance Stamps from Spain to Casablanca and
then on to Palestine, a time period of more than a year]
124

A New York Times article


The text follows:

dated February 17, 1944 reports that 365 Jews Reach Spain.

MADRID, Feb. 16 (2P)The Spanish Foreign Legion announced today that


365 Spanish-speaking Jews descended from those expelled from Spain by
Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand in 1492 had been brought to Spain after
negotiations with Berlin freed them from a German concentration camp at
Bergen Belsen. Thousands of these Spanish Jews lived in Salonika and
elsewhere in the eastern Mediterranean. They speak a type of Spanish little
different from that spoken in the time of Isabella and Ferdinand. A note by
the Foreign Ministry said those repatriated expressed their unanimous
thanks and satisfaction for the Spanish Government's help in getting them
out of the German concentration camp.

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History of the Jews of Thessaloniki and the Holocaust

Figure 17: Food Ration Card issued to the


Gattegnos in Barcelona

Figure 18b: The outside back cover of the


Passport was stamped with the note
UNION OF POLISH INMATES
(in Greek after the return)

Page 12
Inside Back Cover
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Figure 18
Entrance Stamp to Greece and Stamp [Timbre] Consular Fees
levied at the Port of Piraeus on August 26, 1945 due the lack of
Greek Consular attestation [in Jerusalem]
Various Stamps, February, March & April 1944 [Barcelona Spain]
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History of the Jews of Thessaloniki and the Holocaust

There exists another gap in exit and entry Stamps: No exit Stamp from Spain to Casablanca exists
and neither an entry Stamp to Palestine (at the time under the League of Nations British Mandate).
Figure 16 bears the extension of the validity of the Passport issued by the Consulate General of
Spain in Palestine and located in Jerusalem. Figure 17 shows a Food Ration Card issued to the
Gattegnos in Barcelona. Figure 18 bears the entry Stamp into Greece at the Port of Piraeus on
August 26, 1945. Thus this modern Odyssey differs from the Homeric one in the sense that the
wishgoal of its unsung heroes was to return to where they had started from. Their Troy and Ithaca
was one and the same: Thessaloniki!

D. From October 30, 1944 (Liberation) till today


Liberation
The last Germans left Thessaloniki on October 30, 1944. A few tens of Jews appeared again in
public. In a city that boasted the largest and most solid Sephardic Community of 55000 souls
before the War, its current Judenrein {Jew free} status was a bitter fact, hard to swallow. It would
be months before other escapees and camp survivors would start arriving. Many never returned,
preferring to emigrate to Palestine and mainly to the United States of America. Many of those who
returned later also chose to emigrate. Their birth city was suddenly both foreign and hostile to
125 126
them
. Greece would be in turmoil for the next four and a half years engaging in a fratricidal
Civil War. The central government in Athens, even though fully absorbed with the civil strife, did
find time to enact legislation to remedy the burden incurred by its Jewish citizens. These laws
forced the restitution of properties to their rightful owners or their living relatives even though the
measure vexed vested interests of those who had been either administering abandoned Jewish
property or of those who had usurped them for any reason whatsoever. The fact that the usurpers
had either strong connections or [?] is the fact that even though the (Greek) State had passed the
Law on Jewish Properties in January 1946 a full three years later (January 1949) the Law was still
127
not implemented . The tragiccomic [] fact was that those usurpers, adding
insult to injury, had even organized themselves into an association [guilt] in order to better
promote and protect their rights! As the Yiddish speaking Ashkenazim would say, that was the
epitome of chutzpah. Nevertheless the Greek State stood firm and the Law was implemented,
albeit with some delay, for the Relief of the surviving Jews.
The victims and the survivors demanded justice, it was their minimum right. How was justice
served for the Jews of Thessaloniki? What ever happened to the perpetrators? Well the following
chapter tackles briefly the subject of the fate of the perpetrators.

Adolph Eichmann, Dieter Wisliceny, Alois Brunner, Max Merten


Another chapter of the postLiberation History of the Holocaust of the Jews of Thessaloniki (and
the whole of Greece) is the fate of the principal perpetrators [and culprits] that we encountered in
the above narrative [account of events]. These were (are) Adolf Eichmann, Dieter
Wisliceny, Alois Brunner, and Max {Maximilian} Merten. The fate of Eichmann is
well known; he was tried in Israel, found guilty for crimes against humanity, condemned to death
128 129
and executed
. Dieter Wisliceny was tried in Nuremberg after the war and gave a
testimonial affidavit (See the References). Greece, to the best of my knowledge, never made a
formal application to demand his extradition and make him stand trial for his complicity in the mass
murder of more than 60000 Jewish Greeks. Wisliceny was tried again in Bratislava, capital of
Slovakia, of the united Czechoslovakia of the time. In his trial he was accused of complicity in the
mass murder of Jews from Slovakia, Greece and Hungary and of being a member of the SS and the
SD, organizations branded as criminal by the Nuremberg judgment. He was sentenced to death on
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February 27, 1948 and executed by hanging two hours later. It is interesting to note that one day
earlier the Communists had taken and assumed unlimited power. Maybe this is the reason why his
130
execution was not even mentioned in the press . Alois Brunner managed to evade
apprehension all these years. If he is still alive he is 94 years old. He was born in 1912. He is
(was) purported to reside in Damascus, Syria. He has been tried many times in absentia and has
been condemned to death in French Criminal Courts for his role in the Genocide of the Jewish
French and other Jews in France (He was for some time the Commander of the Drancy Transit [to
131
AuschwitzBirkenau] Camp outside Paris) . Not only was he never tried in absentia in Greece
for his sinister role in the annihilation of the Jews of Thessaloniki, but repeated appeals by the
Central Board of Jewish Communities of Greece to successive Greek Ministers of Justice
requesting the formal charging and criminal prosecution of Alois Brunner for his crimes and ask for
his extradition always receive the following template reply: . . . Greece can not request the
extradition of the German Criminal of War Alois Brunner because, due to the two Laws
that were passed in 1959 [by the Greek Parliament ], All
criminal prosecution against German War Criminals has been suspended
[discontinued] and all rights and jurisdiction of the Hellenic State to prosecute and
bring to trial and judge the German War Criminals who operated on her (Greek) soil
has been transferred to the German Court [Judicial] Authorities {since 1959 forthwith
132
. . . In simple words they let the wolf to guard the sheep.
and for eternity}!! (sic)

The most interesting case is the one concerning Max Merten: Echoing the political climate of
the year 1957 and being aware of the absence of any and the reluctance of the Greek State to charge
German War Criminals on its own initiative, he decides that he runs no danger to visit Athens (!) in
order to appear at the Greek Court as a defense witness for his former interpreter Meissner.
However, he is recognized by his former subjects, Jewish Greeks from Thessaloniki, and the
Police promptly arrest him. He is tried in 1959, found guilty, and condemned to 25 years
incarceration. However his home Country values a lot its prominent citizens: The Greek
Parliament passes Law 3933/1959 that, as we saw above, suspended immediately all criminal
prosecutions of German War Criminals and transferred forthwith all jurisdiction to the German
Criminal System. A few days later, the Greek Parliament passed the Legislative Decree {Law
Directive} 401/1959 extending the benefits of the Law to those already tried and serving their
sentence. This was a blatantly photographic Directive since it concerned only Merten! In a few
days, the Federal Republic of Germany sent a special airplane to pick up Merten. In Germany,
Merten was eventually acquitted from all charges due to lack of evidence in 1961. Justice had
133
been served . If all of this was not enough, an Academic Doctoral Dissertation, presented and
134
approved at the University of Mannheim in 2003, almost exonerates Merten from all guilt!

Modern Community Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki


The Jewish Community of Thessaloniki managed, out of the ashes, to rebuild the Jewish life, if not
of the City, at least for the benefit of its surviving members and the newer generations (See
Reference 1). Proof of that is that I stand among you today. The Greek State, on the occasion of
135
Thessaloniki becoming the Cultural Capital of Europe in 1997 , erected a State Memorial as a
tribute to the 55000 Jewish Greeks of Thessaloniki who perished in the German Work &
Extermination Camps. The unveiling of the Memorial was carried out by the then President of the
Hellenic Republic Constantinos Stephanopoulos in 1997. A few years later, more than 63 years
after the Plateia Eleftherias Square assembly and more than 60 years after the Liberation of Greece,
the Memorial was moved to its rightful place (and, I hope!, permanent) the southeastern corner of
the aforementioned square, facing the sea. And it was here that a President of the Hellenic
Republic, the current President Carolos Papoulias, came for a second time to lay a wreath on the
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History of the Jews of Thessaloniki and the Holocaust

occasion of the State visit to Greece by the President of the State of Israel Mr. Moshe Katsav in
February 2006.
The Community, after healing the wounds of its remaining members and having solidly
reestablished all those institutions that guaranteed a plethora of services for the needs of its
members such as schooling for the children, religious services, care for the sick and those in need,
as well as cultural activities, embarked in a bold path of making its unique culture known to the
whole world. Among its projects in order to achieve this goal we may count the establishment of
the Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki in 1998 by the Community, then headed by Mr. Andreas
136
Sefiha . Currently, President David Satliel has initiated an ambitious (but realizable) ongoing
project, that of the digitization of the Community Archives. This project would assist research
tremendously. During the last decade many Scientific Symposia and Conferences have been
organized by the Community and held at Thessaloniki having as themes the many aspects of the
Jewish life in Thessaloniki and of Jewish Thessaloniki. The Community and especially the
Museum is often host to visiting scholars, scientists and researchers from the world over. The
Museum has the ambitious goal of becoming a depository of knowledge besides its primary role,
that of the cradle of our heritage [ www.jmth.gr ].
Effectively, with these remarks our time framework is now set in parallel with the wake of the daily
life of the Community. Notwithstanding the optimistic tone of the 21st Century Thessaloniki, it is
and will always be impossible not to measure and compare all events in its Jewish History, past,
present & future, using as a yardstick the Enormity of the Catastrophe. We all have to learn from
this event, each hers or his lesson in hers or his framework. An ancient Greek adage says
There exists no evil without some good. I really want, very much so, to
believe that this adage is true.

Conclusions
I do not believe that during my lifetime I will reach the definite conclusions with regard to the
Holocaust. What I attempt to achieve is to formulate, after deep study and thought, tentative
conclusive Lessons from the Holocaust. Thus a lesson that I draw has to do with the following
Sephardic proverb that my father used to say: Si no yo para mi, quien para mi? Si no ahora,
cuando? {If I do not take care of myself who will (for me)? If not now, when?}. Well,
in plain English, if we fail to fend for ourselves no one (usually) will help us. There exist shining
exemptions that reaffirm our faith in Humanity, but they are just exemptions. And here lies the
Challenge and, in my humble opinion, the main Lesson: No one should ever again submit to
coercion. She or he should fight to the end if their lives are doomed. And everyone should strive to
become the kind of righteous person, like those who saved Jews, towards other humans in peril of
annihilation, wherever they may be (those in need). No effort should be spared and no little effort is
insignificant.
From all of the above I conclude that the Thessaloniki Jewish Holocaust is very particular and calls
for [necessitates] radical research methods. One might be the Mathematical Analysis limiting
process: The Holocaust of the Jews of Thessaloniki has to be approached with an undertaking of a
scrupulous study of events before and up to the Holocaust [Upper limit] and of events starting from
137
the present and going back to the Holocaust [Lower limit] , and all correlated with the genocidal
events of 19411945. Now the Upper limit is common in Historiography, but the Holocaust, being
a most Highly Uncommon event a unique event, demands an exceptional and singular approach
to research. The Lower limit will only be reached if we achieve to correlate all postHolocaust
events with Jewish content to the events of the era. For example, what factual conclusions may we
draw from the post Holocaust attitude(s) shown by the surrounding Community [individuals and
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History of the Jews of Thessaloniki and the Holocaust

whole] towards its Jewish fellow countrymen? How these might relate to events during the
Holocaust? Are we allowed to judge past events in the light of and against current ones or lack of
action(s)? Are we to use as a yardstick the ancient Greek adage
All previous events are judged
according to the last one? The quest for answers, unfortunately, leads to more queries that
warrant additional ones (answers).
It is bitterly ironic that even though the consequences of the implementation of the Holocaust are
known, all the facts surrounding IT are not. If we performed a Gedanken experiment and, as a
hypothesis, each one of us assumed the identity of a Camp inmate who survived but lost all his
family, what kind of conclusion, if any, do you believe we would reach? So, in my humble opinion,
it is impossible for us to reach The Conclusion. There exists an alternative and that is to channel
our energy and efforts to further Holocaust and Genocide research for the historic record and to
better equip and strengthen Humanity in order to be able to rein on its infrequent (?) manifestations
of its innate trait of inhumanity.
I thank you very much.

Acknowledgements
It has been a great honor for me to be among you today. I take this opportunity to thank the
University for making this trip possible and having provided me with a podium to dwell on such a
vast topic, that of the Jewish History of Thessaloniki and, foremost, on the Holocaust the
persecution, deportation, and, almost total, annihilation of its Jewish population by the Germans. I
also wish to thank from this stand Mr. David Saltiel, the President of the Jewish Community of
Thessaloniki, as well as the Communal Council and all the people of the Jewish Museum of
Thessaloniki, for their support and help. I also want to thank the Honorary President of the
Community Mr. Andreas Sefiha, President of the Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki Committee, for
his insightful advice. Last, but not least, I wan to thank my family for support and all my friends
who helped me with this project in one way or another.
Paul Isaac Hagouel
11, Chrysostomou Smyrnis Street
GR546 22 Thessalonikii
Greece
telephone: +30 2310270886
facsimile: +30 2310238449
mobilecell: +30 6974389086
hagouel@eecs.berkeley.edu

B.E. (in Electrical Engineering) summa cum laude New York University, 1972
M.S. (in Electrical Engineering) New York University, 1973
Ph.D. (in Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences)
University of California, Berkeley, 1976

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ibid

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17

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31

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Meaning: Thirty Years of Judaic Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst,
ed. L. Ehrlich, S. Bolozky, R. Rothstein, M. Schwartz, J. Berkovitz, J. Young,
Deptartment of Judaic and Near Eastern Studies, University of Massachusetts Amherst,
2004, (This is a revised and updated version of a paper delivered in Oxford in
January 1996 and published in Minorities in Greece: Aspects of a Plural
Society, edited by Richard Clogg (Oxford, 2002)) URL:
http://www.umass.edu/judaic/anniversaryvolume/articles/30-F3Bowman.pdf

39

Dimosthenis Dodos, The Jews of Thessaloniki in the elections of the Greek [Hellenic]
state, 19151936 (in Greek), Savalas Publications, 2005, Athens

40

See No 18 {Devin Naar}

41

Abschlussbericht ber die Ttigkeit des Sonderkommandos Rosenberg in Griechenland,


Sonderkommando Rosenberg, 15 November 1941, Athen, {Bundesarchiv} [Page 14]

42

See No 1

43

Personal note: My father Leon was mobilized with the rest of the reserves.
He fought on the Albanian front and he was lightly wounded by a grenade
shrapnel

44

Nicholas Stavroulakis, The Jews of Greece, An Essay, Talos Press, 1990, Athens

45

Abba Eban, Heritage: Civilization and the Jews, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1984,
London

46

Josef Bard, Why Europe Dislikes the Jew, Harper's Monthly Magazine, 154, pp.498
506, December 1926 May 1927

November 14, 2006

West Chester University of Pennsylvania


Paul Isaac Hagouel, hagouel@eecs.berkeley.edu

page 38 of 47

History of the Jews of Thessaloniki and the Holocaust


47

Michael Molho, In Memoriam: Hommage aux victimes Juives des Nazis en Grce
(in French), Seconde dition revue et augmente par Joseph Nehama, Communaut
Isralite de Thessalonique, 1973, Thessalonique

48

SAM ROUBEN, private communication, 1974, Oakland, California

49

Evangelos Hekimoglou, The Lost Checks of Merten: The ransom paid for the buy out
of the obligatory labor of the Jews of Thessaloniki (1942-1943) and its fate (in Greek),
THE CITY OF THE THESSALONICIANS [Evangelos
Hekimoglou EditorDirector], vol. 18, pp. 4059, September 2005, Thessaloniki and
EVANGELOS HEKIMOGLOU, private communication and acknowledgment, 2006,
Thessaloniki

50

Seven checks prove that a ransom of 1.5 billion drachmas that was paid by the Jewish
Community of Thessaloniki, during the period 1942 1943, ended at the Treasury of the
German State [Reich] (in Greek), Newspaper TA NEA On Line, Saturday, October 8,
2005, Article Code A18360N241, Lambrakis Press, 2005, Athens
Article URL: http://ta-nea.dolnet.gr/print_article.php?e=A&f=18360&m=N24&aa=1

51

Barbara SpenglerAxiopoulou, DAS KLEINE JERUSALEM AN DER GIS eine


Erinnerung an das jdische Saloniki, Griechische Gemeinde Gttingen
Ellnvikn Koivotnta Gttingen, 1998,
URL: http://www.giannaris.net/Teyxos5/Sprengler-Axiopoulou.Salonikh.htm

52

Maria KhnLudewig, JOHANNES POHL (19041960), Judaist und Bibliothekar in


Dienste Rosenbergs: Eine biographische Dokumentation, 334 pages, Laurentius, 2000,
Hannover

53

MICHAEL MOLHO, El Cementerio Judo de Salnica[The Jewish Cemetery of


Thessaloniki, (in Ladino), Sefarad, 9:1, pp. 107-130 with figures, 1949

54

The Road to Stalingrad, By the Editors of TimeLife Books, THE THIRD REICH,
TimeLife Books, 1991, Alexandria, Virginia

55

Antony Beevor, Stalingrad, The Fateful Siege: 1942 1943, Penguin Books, 1999,
New York

56

Lucy S. Dawidowicz, The War Against the Jews, 1933 1945, 10th Edition, Bantam,
1986, New York

57

Eichmann Trial (including Max Mertens Testimonial Affidavit), URLs:


http://www.vex.net/~nizkor/hweb/people/e/eichmannadolf/transcripts/Sessions/Session-047-04.html and
http://www.nizkor.org/ftp.cgi/people/e/eichmann.adolf/transcripts/ftp.py?people/e/eich
mann.adolf/transcripts//Testimony-Abroad/Max_Merten-03

58

Jochen von Lang, Eichmann L' Interrogatoire, Belfond, 1984, Paris

59

Dieter Wislicenys Testimonial Affidavit


URL: http://www.ess.uwe.ac.uk/genocide/Wisliceny.htm

60

See No 47 {Michael Molho}

61

Ledger of Paper and Cardboard Approval Release Forms 19421943,

Propaganda Abteilung Saloniki, Private Archives, (unpublished and unreleased)

November 14, 2006

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History of the Jews of Thessaloniki and the Holocaust


62

Thomas Blass, Psychological Perspectives on the Perpetrators of the Holocaust: The


Role of Situational Pressures, Personal Dispositions, and Their Interactions, Holocaust
and Genocide Studies, V7 N l, pp. 3050, Spring 1993

63

Mark Mazower, Inside Hitler's Greece, The Experience of Occupation, 1941-44, Yale
University Press, 462 pages, 1995, New Haven

64

Iakobos Handali, From the White Tower to the Gates of Auschwitz, foreword by Eli
Wiesel, Translated from Hebrew by Elia Shabbetai (in Greek), Ets Ahaim Foundation,
1995, Thessaloniki

65

Errikos Sevillias, Athens Auschwitz, Translated and introduced by Nikos


Stavroulakis, (in English), Lycabettus Press, 1983, Athens

66

Albert Menashe Medical Physician KL Auschwitz Nr 124454, Birkenau


(Auschwitz II) (in Greek), Reminiscences of an eyewitness of how 72000 Greek Jews
perished, 1974, Jewish Community of Thessaloniki, 1974

67

Albert Nar & Erika KounioAmarilio, Oral Testimonies of Jews of Thessaloniki about
the Holocaust (in Greek), Paratiritis Publications, 1998, Thessaloniki (In particular
Leon Hagouel's testimony, KL Auschwitz Nr. 118633)

68

Albert Nar, IN ENCLOSED TRAINS [WAGONS]: Recitations of Jews of Thessaloniki


(in Greek), in the Periodical THE TREE, Special Issue The Train, Issues 7374,
pp. 109117, Kostas Mavroudis, Winter Holiday 1992, Thessaloniki

69

Minna Rozen, Jews and Greeks Remember Their Past: The Political Career of
Tzevi Koretz (193343), Jewish Social Studies: History, Culture, Society, n.s. 12,
no.1, pp. 111166, Fall 2005

70

Andrew Apostolou, The Exception of Salonika: Bystanders and Collaborators in


Northern Greece, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, V14 N2, pp. 165196, Fall 2000

71

Weekly Political Intelligence Summary No. 218 of 8th December 1943,


Political Intelligence Summaries, The National ArchivesLondon, 27 pages,
TNA No. FO 371/36617-0013, December 8, 1943, London
[Citation Notepage 17 (18):
Greece The liquidation of the eight Italian divisions in Greece left the Axis
forces there much weaker numerically but freer to take action against the
guerrillas. Internecine fighting between the Communist ELAS and General
Zervas's EDES bands subsequently enabled the Germans to clear the
guerrillas away from their lines of communication. They seem to have given
up, at least for the present, attacking General Zervas, who has been hard
pressed in Epirus, and to be counting on scorched earth and the winter to
starve out the guerrillas. Nevertheless, the guerrillas still oblige the
Germans to maintain considerable garrisons and to move only in large
convoys.

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page 40 of 47

History of the Jews of Thessaloniki and the Holocaust

It is obvious that when the long-desired withdrawal of the Germans takes


place the Communists may try to create a fait accompli by staging a coup at
Athens. In such circumstances of transition a moderating part might be
played by Archbishop Damaskinos of Athens, a man of ability whose
prestige has been enhanced by the stand which he and his clergy have
made against the occupation authorities on behalf of the victims of Axis
persecution. In the application of anti-Jewish measures, for example, the
Archbishop is reported to have obtained certain mitigation from the
Germans. This is in accord with the sympathies of the public of Athens
though perhaps not of Salonicawhich has sheltered Jews in spite of the
penalties involved and has refrained from pillaging closed Jewish shops.]
(emphasis is mine)
72

Alexandros Kitroeff, Documents: The Jews in Greece, 19411944: Eyewitness


Accounts, Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora, Vol. XII, No. #3, Fall 1985 and URL:
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Holocaust/greece1083.html

73

WOLFGANG SEIBEL, The Strength of PerpetratorsThe Holocaust in Western


Europe, 19401944, Governance: An International Journal of Policy, Administration,
and Institutions, Vol. 15, No. 2, pp. 211240, Blackwell Publishing, 2002, Oxford

74

Franklin G. Mixon Jr, W. Charles Sawyer and Len J. Trevio, The bureaucracy of
murder: empirical evidence, International Journal of Social Economics, Vol. 31, No 9,
pp. 855867, Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2004

75

Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem - A report on the Banality of Evil,


Penguin Books, 1992, New York

76

Raoul Hilberg, La Destruction des Juifs dEurope, Fayard, 1988, Paris

77

Gerhard Schoenberner, Der Gelbe Stern Die Judenverfolgung in Europa


1933 bis 1945, Rtten & Lning Verlag GmbH, 1961, Hamburg

78

SYBIL MILTON, IMAGES OF THE HOLOCAUST PART I, Holocaust and


Genocide Studies, Vol. 1, No 1, pp. 2761, 1986
and
SYBIL MILTON, IMAGES OF THE HOLOCAUST PART II, Holocaust and
Genocide Studies, Vol. 1, No 2, pp. 193216, 1986

79

George Margaritis [ ], ,
[Undesirable fellowcountrymen, TsamidesJews] (in Greek),
224 pages, Bibliorama Publications [], 2005, Athens

80

DANIEL BENNAHMIAS, private communication, 1974, Oakland, California

81

Rebecca Camhi Fromer, The Holocaust Odyssey of DANIEL BENNAHMIAS,


Sonderkommando, Introduction by Steven B. Bowman, The University of Alabama
Press, 1993, Tuscaloosa

82

Rebecca Camhi Fromer, The House by the Sea A Portrait of the Holocaust in
Greece, Mercury House, 1998, San Francisco

83

Albert Nar, Folk Songs about the Holocaust of the Jews of Thessaloniki (in Greek),
in the Periodical The Streetcar A Vehicle, 4th Course [Ride], Issue 1 (36),
pp. 189198, Dimitrelis Group, Autumn 1996, Thessaloniki

November 14, 2006

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History of the Jews of Thessaloniki and the Holocaust


84

mgr. Danuta Czech, Studio Griechische Juden in KL Auschwitz 46 Seite {46 pages
in Germanoriginal}, Archivmaterial (kserokopiecopies) 246 Seite {246 pages of
facsimile copies of original German Camp records} (Siehe : Prot.Nr.: 746 am 23. Juni
1993 und 1271 am 10 November 1993). This was sent to the Jewish Community
of Thessaloniki and translated into Greek. The bound book is unpublished
and the languages are Greek and German. Address: mgr. Danuta Czech,
Pautwowe Muzeum w Owieimiu, ul. Wieniw w Owieimo 20, 32603
Owiecim, POLEN. {Treatise on the Greek Jews at the Auschwitz Concentration

Camp, Auschwitz State Museum, 1993, Oswiecim}


The book is to be found at the premises of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki
85

Central Board of Jewish Communities of Greece KIS, Chronika,


URL: http://www.kis.gr/chr_olokautoma_english.pdf , 2006, Athens

86

Gail Holst-Warhaft, The Tragedy of the Greek Jews: Three Survivors Accounts,
Review Essay, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, V13 N l, pp. 98108, Spring 1999

87

Mark Mazower, Greece's slaughtered Jews, Times Higher Education Supplement,


16 August 1996, London

88

Rena Molho, GERMANY'S POLICY AGAINST THE JEWS OF GREECE: THE


ANNIHILATION OF THE JEWISH COMMUNITY OF THESSALONIKI, 19411944,
Centropa Quarterly, Volume 10, Summer 2006,
URL: http://www.centropa.org/reports.asp?rep=HR&ID=7189&TypeID=0

89

To holokautma tn Hellnn Evrain: mnmeia kai mnmes = The Holocaust of the


Greek Jewry: monuments and memories / [keimena Evrak Neolaia Hellados, Alexs
Menexiads], Publisher Athna : Kentriko Isralitiko Symvoulio Hellados, [published
by the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece with the support of
Greece's Education Ministry and the General Secretariat for Youth] , 2006,

Athens
90

The Apparatus of Death, By the Editors of TimeLife Books, THE THIRD REICH,
TimeLife Books, 1981, Alexandria, Virginia

91

The Mass Extermination of Jews in German occupied Poland published on behalf of the
Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (English & French), The National ArchivesLondon,
TNA No. FO 371/34361-0005, 22 pages, 07 January 1943, London

92

Imre Kertsz, Sorstanlasg


Fateless, (in Greek), Kastanioti Publications, 2003, Athens

93

Imre Kertsz, Sorstanlasg Fateless, DVD, 2005, Budapest

94

Copies of the annexes to memorandum on anti-Jewish atrocities in Hungary (Situation


of Jews in countries under Nazi rule and in German occupied Hungary) (English &
German), The National ArchivesLondon, TNA No. FO 371/42811, 44 pages, 19 July
1944, London
[Notepage 26: registrationmatriculation sequential numbering of the
Thessaloniki Jews destined for slave labor {Numbers from 109000 to
119000} and description of their situation and how many still survive]

95

JEWS DEPORTED FROM SALONIKA CRUSH IN CATTLE WAGONS, The Times,


FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT, ISTANBUL, Wednesday, May 26, 1943,
page 3, Issue 49555, col E

November 14, 2006

West Chester University of Pennsylvania


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History of the Jews of Thessaloniki and the Holocaust


96

GREEK GUERRILLAS CEASE CIVIL STRIFE, By A. C. SEDGWICK, By Wireless to


THE NEW YORK TIMES, The New York Times, February 11, 1944, GREEK
GUERRILLAS CEASE CIVIL STRIFE, Rival Bands Stop Fratricidal War
Jews in Salonika Virtually Wiped Out

97

48,000 GREEK JEWS ARE SENT TO POLAND, The New York Times,
May 1, 1944, pg. 5

98

Most Salonika Jews Killed, The New York Times, November 6, 1944, pg. 9

99

Eric Silver, The Book of the Just The Silent Heroes who Saved Jews from Hitler,
Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1991, London,
and
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington D.C., URL:
http://www.ushmm.org/greece/eng/archbish.htm

100

Martin Gilbert, The Righteous: The Unsung Heroes of the Holocaust, Henry Holt and
Company, 2004, New York

101

Details from Jewish Telegraphic Agency bulletin noting items about German concentration
camps, deportation of Hungarian and Dutch Jews and refuge camp in Tripolitania,
The National ArchivesLondon, TNA No. FO 371/42809-0015, 5 pages, July 13, 1944,
London
[Citation Notepage 2(1):
Jewish Telegraphic Agency, London
Daily News Bulletin
th
Volume XXV, No. 163, 4 pages, Thursday, 13 July, 1944
RIGHTFUL PLACE FOR JEWS IN POSTWAR MESSAGE FROM GREEK PRIME
MINISTER.
Cairo, July 12th (Jewish Telegraphic Agency)
The hope that the Jews will find their rightful place in the post-war world
was expressed by M. George Papandreou Greek Prime Minister and Minister
for Foreign Affairs, in a message to the Political Bureau of the New Zionist
Organisation here.
"The ancient links uniting Israel with the Hellenes, both heirs of a
complementary spiritual heritage, have once more triumphed over, the ordeals
of this war," M. Papandreou writes in his message. "I earnestly hope that Jewry,
so cruelly struck in these years of misery, will at last find in a liberated world the
just place due to them on account of their noble past and their traditional
virtues."
PALESTINE LABOUR FEDERATION THANKS GREEK PEOPLE FOR AID TO
JEWS.
Washington, July. 12th. (Jewish Telegraphic Agency)
The Greek Office of Information here has made public the text of a letter
addressed to the Hellenic Government by Mr. David Remez, Secretary General of
the Histadruth Haovdim, (General Federation of Jewish Labour in Palestine),
expressing thanks to the Greek people for the aid they have given to Jews in
Greece.
"We have had occasion to hear during the last session of our Executive
Committee the report made by an eye witness about the nobility shown by
the Greek people towards their Jewish fellowcountrymen when the curse of

November 14, 2006

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Paul Isaac Hagouel, hagouel@eecs.berkeley.edu

page 43 of 47

History of the Jews of Thessaloniki and the Holocaust

Nazi deportation fell on them," the letter reads. "We are aware of the facts in
but a general way; but the description we heard aroused in our hearts the
strongest feelings of esteem and admiration. We consider it a duty and honour
to express through your channels these feelings to the Government of Free
Greece as well as to the Hellenic people of Greece. We shall always treasure the
memory of these great humanitarian deeds, performed in the midst of the
darkness of these days."
page 5 (4):
Among these still in the BergenBelsen camp is Dr. Koretz, former Chief
Rabbi of Salonika] (emphasis is mine)
102

The Greek Revolution 1821 1832: The fight for Independence and the establishment
[creation] of the GreekHellenic State (in Greek), Volume 3 of 10 Volumes, History
of Modern Hellenism 1770 2000, Ellinika Grammata [Greek Letters], 2003, Athens

103

THE GREEK REVOLUTION, Art V.An Historical Sketch of the Greek Revolution,
By Samuel G. Howe, M.D., late Surgeon in Chief to the Greek Fleet, 8vo, 452 pages,
North American Review, 29:1, pp. 138199, 1829

104

Copy of letter of the GREEK GOVERNMENT, Office of Information, 30 Rockefeller


Plaza, New York 20 New York, dated April 27th, 1948, addressed to the World Jewish
Congress in New York. Archives of the Holocaust, Volume 9, American Jewish
Archives, Cincinnati, Edited by Abraham J. Peck, Garland Publishing, Inc., 1990,
New York. [I acknowledge the kind help of Steve Bowman for bringing these
to my attention]

105

Adamantia Pollis, The State, the Law, and Human Rights in Modern Greece,
Human Rights Quarterly, The Johns Hopkins University Press, 9:4, pp. 587614,
November 1987
[Citation: Page 609 Eastern Orthodoxy is an essential element of Greek
nationality and thus, a component of the integral Greek nation. Other
historic communities, such as the Muslims and the Jews, have legal standing
as communal minorities but are psychologically external to the Greek
nation] (emphasis is mine)

106

Stephanos Stavros, The Legal Status of Minorities in Greece Today: The Adequacy of
their Protection in the Light of Current Human Rights Perceptions, Journal of Modern
Greek Studies, Johns Hopkins University Press, 13:1, pp. 132, May 1995

107

The Movement of Resistance of the Jews of Greece Against the German Oppression
(Translation of Ladino chapter summary) by Avraam Benaroya, Translated by Lynn
GazisSax, URL: http://www.jewishgen.org/yizkor/Thessalonika/thev2_552.html

108

Bowman, Steven, Jews in Wartime Greece, Jewish Social Studies, 48:1, pp. 4562,
Indiana University Press, Winter 1986

109

Steven Bowman, Jewish Resistance In Wartime Greece, VallentineMitchell


Publishers, 2005

110

Rene Levine Melammed, The Memoirs of a Partisan from Salonika, Nashim:


A Journal of Jewish Women's Studies & Gender, Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies
and The Hadassah-Brandeis Institute, 7, pp. 151173, 2004

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History of the Jews of Thessaloniki and the Holocaust


111

Personal Note: My father in law, Sam Yeshoua [Issoua] 19262005, was


conscripted for forced slave labor at the Lianokladi Railroad junction works
near the city of Lamia. He managed to escape and he joined and fought
with the guerillas for some time. He was the only survivor of both branches
of his extensive family [both maternal and paternal]

112

Cecil Roth, The Last Days of Jewish Salonica: What Happened to a 450 Year-Old
Civilization, by Dr. ZT'L, Originally published in Commentary, 1950
URL: http://www.sephardiccouncil.org/salonica.html

113

Richard Ayoun (Text by), THE JUDEOSPANISH PEOPLE, Itineraries of a


Community, Translated from French to English by Albert Garih (English Judeo
Spanish), UNESCO World .Heritage / Republique Franaise Ministre de La Defense
/ Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki / Fondation pour la Mmoire de la Shoah, 2003, Paris

114

See No 47 {Michael Molho}, pp. 111114

115

Haim Avni, Spanish Nationals in Greece and their fate during the Holocaust,
Yad Vashem Studies on the European Jewish Catastrophe and Resistance, VIII,
Livia Rothkirchen, Editor, Yad Vashem, 1970, Jerusalem

116

Bernd Rother, Spanish Attempts to Rescue Jews from the Holocaust: Lost Opportunities,
Mediterranean Historical Review, Vol. 17, Issue 2, pp. 4768, Frank Cass, December
2002, London

117

Gattegno 19431945 Spanish Passport, Private Archives,

(unpublished and unreleased)


118

YadVashem ArchivesYVA, JM.2218, List of Spanish nationals in Salonika,


30/04/1943, 12 frames (K213082-K213093), Jerusalem

119

Personal Note: I am named after Paul Frances. My other name Isaac


belongs to one of my fathers brothers who, after having suffered during the
aforementioned forced slave labor in various localities in Greece, was gassed
almost immediately upon arrival at AuschwitzBirkenau since he was
already in pitiful condition

120

Private Archives, (unpublished and unreleased)

121

YadVashem ArchivesYVA, TR3/345, List of currencies held by Spanish nationals in


Salonika, 31/07/1943, 5 pages, Jerusalem {From Police d Isral, Quartier General, 8me
Bureau, Fiche 345}, Jerusalem

122

Peter Padfield, Himmler, MJF Books Fine Communications, 1990, New York

123

The SS, By the Editors of TimeLife Books, THE THIRD REICH, TimeLife
Books, 1988, Alexandria, Virginia

124

365 Jews Reach Spain, The New York Times, February 17, 1944

125

Hal Lehrman, Greece: Unused Cakes of Soap, The Pattern of Jewish Fate Repeats Itself,
Commentary, 1, pp.4852, American Jewish Committee, 1945/1946

November 14, 2006

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page 45 of 47

History of the Jews of Thessaloniki and the Holocaust


126

Salonique Ville du silence, Film documentaire de 52 min, Ralisation Maurice


Amaraggi, DVD, NEMO (& Fondation pour la Mmoire de la Shoah), 2006, Bruxelles
[ nemo@belgi.net ]
and in English:
Salonika City of silence, Documentary of 52 min, Directed by Maurice Amaraggi,
DVD, NEMO (& Fondation pour la Mmoire de la Shoah), 2006, Brussels
[ nemo@belgi.net ]

127

Greece is Accused on Jewish Holdings, The New York Times, January 14, 1949,
pg. 9

128

Avner W. Less, Interrogating Eichmann, Commentary, 75:5, pp.4551, May 1983

129

Eichmann Accused of Shipping Salonika Jews to Death Camps, By HOMER BIGART


Special to The New York Times, pg. 18, The New York Times, May 23, 1961

130

The Fate of Wisliceny, Executed in Bratislava on February 27, 1948, The Wiener
Library Bulletin, Wiener Library, No. 2, Volume XVII, page 27, April 1963,
London

131

MARY FELSTINER, COMMANDANT OF DRANCY: ALOIS BRUNNER AND THE


JEWS OF FRANCE, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Vol. 2, No 1, pp. 2147, 1987

132

The Holocaust Memory, The annihilation of the Jews of Thessaloniki and historical
objections, by Jacob Shiby (in response to the Book by Spyros Kouzinopoulos,
The Alois Brunner Affair. The executioner of the 50000 Jews of Thessaloniki,
Ianos Publications, 146 pages, 2005, Thessaloniki), Newspaper TO BHMA
[To VIMA], Lambrakis Press, Books Section, Dialogue, Issue No. 14469,
Article Code B14469S041, Sunday, May 22, 2005, Athens
URL: http://tovima.dolnet.gr/print_article.php?e=B&f=14469&m=S04&aa=1

133

Samuel Hassid, The Trial of Max Merten in the Changing Mirrors of Time and Place,
2001, Haifa and URL:
http://hcc.haifa.ac.il/Departments/historyschool/conferences/holocaust_greece/Samuel_Hassid.pdf

134

Wolfgang Breyer, Dr. Max Merten ein Militrbeamter der deutschen Wehrmacht im
Spannungsfeld zwischen Legende und Wahrheit, 148 pages, Universitt Mannheim,
2003, Mannheim and URLs:
http://bibserv7.bib.uni-mannheim.de/madoc/volltexte/2003/77/
http://bibserv7.bib.uni-mannheim.de/madoc/volltexte/2003/77/pdf/Dissertation.pdf

135

Tony Molho, Celebrating Salonika, The Times Literary Supplement, April 12, 1996,
London

136

Nicholas Stavroulakis, The Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki--Museo Djidio di


Salonik.(Jewish Museums In Europe), European Judaism, Vol. 36, No. 2, pp. 3440,
Autumn 2003

137

Richard Courant & Fritz John, Introduction to Calculus and Analysis Volume I, Springer,
Originally published by Interscience Publishers, Inc., 1965, Reprint of the 1st edition, 661
pages, 1989, 1999, XXIII, Berlin, Heidelberg, New York

November 14, 2006

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page 46 of 47

History of the Jews of Thessaloniki and the Holocaust

Definition of Limit:
The limit of f(x) as x approaches is L

lim f ( x) = L

xa

if and only if, given e > 0, there exists d > 0 such that
0 < |x - | < d implies that |f(x) - L| < e
Left and Right Study and Research Approach of the Thessaloniki Jewish Holocaust

1941 1945
past

present

______________________

November 14, 2006

________________________ future

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