(Times of Israel) The remnants of Greek Jewry has just marked the seventieth anniversary of the 1943 deportation to Auschwitz-Birkenau from Thessaloniki – Greece’s “Little Jerusalem” – of all except those Jews who escaped to the mountains to fight the German occupiers.
In his memoirs, Henry Levy – then a young Greek Jew who later survived the death camps – recalled how, jailed temporarily in Thessaloniki’s Eptapyrgio prison, he met an “andarte” (Partisan fighter), “a young priest from a small village near Polygyros.” Levy wrote, “[He] admitted to and apologized for his misconceptions regarding the Jewish people. It was hard for him to believe that we were Jews because his religious teachings portrayed us as criminals and manipulators and ‘where were our long noses?”
In 2011, the Holocaust Memorial of Thessaloniki – where 46,000 Jews were rounded up and deported by the Nazis in 1943 – was desecrated. Tragically, seven decades later, too many young Greeks have unlearned the lesson not to demonize Jews.