Abravanel, the Blog

Jewish life and not only in Greece / Εβραϊκή ζωή και όχι μόνο στην Ελλάδα

Archive for 2 Σεπτεμβρίου 2008

Saving the Jews of Katerini during the Shoah

Posted by Abravanel, the Blog στο 02/09/2008

Katerini is a small town on the foothills of Mt.Olympus (map). In 1940 it housed a population of around 17.000 people and in this number were included 30 to 40 Jews. The story of their fate during the Holocaust/ Shoah has never reached the surface despite the fact that it is one that renders honour to the part of Greece that denied collaborating with the Germans or gaining profit from the plight of their jewish compatriots.

At the eve of WW2 Katerini housed a population of 7 Jewish families that mainly came from Larissa’s important Jewish Community. Themselves did not constitute legally a Community and were dependent of Thessaloniki’s and Larissa’s synagogues and rabbis. Although of sephardic origin most, they spoke both djudeo-espanyol and greek fluently and were well integrated into the town. Some were small time peddlers who went around the villages to sell clothes, pots etc. A couple had small grocery shops in town. And a couple more were metal artisans. Despite the common rumors that circulated inside the town, like the blood libel where Jews used the blood of christian children to make matza for Pessach, there was virtually no strife.

On October 28th 1940 Italians invade Greece and the male Jews of Katerini leave the town to join the Greek Army – many of them get wounded, while we do not know of any dead. On April 1941 the German Wehrmacht crushes the greek resistance and Greece becomes occupied by Germany, Italy and Bulgaria. Like Thessaloniki 15 months of relative calm follow while Katerini suffers much less of the famine which becomes endemic in Athens. This period fisnishes when the first anti-jewish measures are adopted in Thessaloniki and serve as an alarm for the Jews in the rest of the country.

The arrest of the whole Jewish Community of Thessaloniki, the institution of the 3 ghettos inside Thessaloniki is followed by german orders to arrest all the Jews in german occupied territories. Katerini is just a small town and warrants only a tiny german presence, so for the order the civilian telegraph service is used. The telegrapher reads with disbelief the telegram which orders the arrests and decides… Διαβάστε τη συνέχεια του άρθρου »

Posted in greece, Katerini, Shoah | Με ετικέτα: , , , , , , | 60 Σχόλια »

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