Athens


When Athens was occupied by the Germans in april 1941 there lived between 4000 – 7000 jews in the city. In the agreement with Italy, Athens came under Italian control. Italian judaism was considerably milder than German and the Jews could therefore feel relatively safe. Jews from parts of Greece under German control fled to Athens. In September 1943, Italy withdrew from the war and former areas controlled by Italy ended up under German control. The security and protection that the Jews of Athens had previously disappeared and they risked being imprisoned and deported north to eastern Europe. The Jews understood the danger and importance of staying away and with the good help of several Christian leaders were able to get help with both the protection and the issuance of false documents that did not reveal their Jewish affiliation. Even civilians helped Jews stay in hiding.

The Jews were also scattered throughout the city and did not gather in a certain area, which made the registration of the Jews more difficult. As a result, only about 800 Jews were arrested in the raid carried out by the germans on 24-25 March 1944. The majority of the Jews of Athens survived. In anticipation of deportation north to Auschwitz, the Jews were imprisoned in Beth Shalom synagogue. On April 2, 1944, the Jews were deported along with about 900 other Jews imprisoned in Chaidari to Auschwitz, where they arrived on April 11. Most of the Jews were murdered.

Current status: Monument (2019).

Address: Evvoulou, 105 53 Aten.

Get there: Metro to Thissio station.

My comment:

The monument is located in a well-kept little park and consists of a split David star. On every shattered point are Greek communities affected by the Holocaust. On the nearby street Melidoni lies the synagogue Beth Shalom which was used as a temporary prison for Jews imprisoned at the raids. There is also a monument dedicated to Christians who, at the risk of their own lives, protected and helped Jews in Athens. In western Athens at the third cemetery there is a monument dedicated to the Greek jews who were murdered by the nazis.

Follow up in books: Gilbert, Martin: The Holocaust: A History of the Jews of Europe During the Second World War (1987).