Anti-Semitism in Greece
Last updated Mary 14, 2022
Also see the page Jews in Greece
The heroism of Zante where no Jews were given up to the Nazis throughout WWII
May 14, 2022:Story at NWI Times
"At the time of the Axis occupation in 1941, nearly 72,000 Jews lived in Greece. Differing priorities of Germany, Italy, and Bulgaria with regard to the Jews impacted upon their fate."
Additional reading Anti-Semitism in Greece
From the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (though dated, this article contains an interesting overview):
- Anti-Semitism in Greece occurs not only among extreme rightists and leftists. It is embedded in Greek mainstream society and manifests itself in religious contexts, education, politics and the media. Jews are often not perceived as true Greeks, although many families have lived there since the 15th century.
- A Eurobarometer survey in the year 2000 showed Greece to have the highest degree of xenophobia in the European Union.
- Greek mainstream media regularly uses the terms "genocide," "Holocaust" and the names of concentration camps drawing a parallel between Nazi Germany and Israel today. In this, Greece is more similar to Syria and Iran than to the Western world.
- As the Greek Jewish community is small and not very vocal, the international condemnations of Greek anti-Semitism by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Anti-Defamation League and others are especially important.
"I celebrated my seventh birthday inside the camp of Bergen-Belsen with a piece of bread and sticks for candles," recalls 83-year-old Lola Angel, one of the few Greek Jews left to remember the horror of Nazi concentration camps.
"Greek-Jewish children of the Holocaust speak out at last" - Story at MSN News
2018 Sept 6 A Visit to the Oldest Surviving Jewish Synagogue Building in Greece - Times of Israel [English]
"...the long symbiosis of Greek Orthodox Christians and Jews and how they joined forces at times of national crisis. Most Greeks, for example, know that thousands of the country’s Jews fought on the Pindos mountains in World War I, but very few know how important their contribution was to the National Resistance in WWII, how hundreds of Greek Jews refused to pin the yellow star on their outer garments and instead took up arms against the Nazis.
The Jewish Museum is currently hosting an exhibition on this chapter of history. Titled “Synagonistis: Greek Jews in the National Resistance” and running through next April, the exhibition pays homage to the 650 men and women who decided to become outlaws not just in order to save their own lives but also in the service of freedom.
Jewish Museum of Greece, 39 Nikis, Syntagma, Athens, 210-322-5582. Open Monday-Friday 9 a.m. - 2.30 p.m. "
The Shame of Modern Greece - 2010
Wall Street Journal article by Andrew Apostolou, who is writing a history of collaboration in Greece during the Holocaust.
"...The genuine heroism of Greek Christians who saved Greek Jews from the Nazis in such places as Zakynthos and Athens is used to obscure the collaboration and indifference that helped condemn tens of thousands of Greek Jews to death in Salonika and northern Greece.
This ignorance has been reinforced by historians, Greek and foreign alike, who have largely skated over collaboration during the Holocaust. Like the Greek government, historians prefer to emphasize the rescue of Jews rather than prompt an examination of the often shameful and ambiguous stance that too many Greeks took during the Second World War. The leaders of Greece's barely 5,000 strong Jewish community take a similar historical approach for obvious political reasons. Over sixty years after the Holocaust, myths prevail over scholarship."
"The Full-Blown Return of Anti-Semitism in Europe"
Article by Guy Millière dated May 16, 2011, in the Hudson Institute online article archive:
"On April 19, the Corfu synagogue, in Greece, was burned. How many Jews live in Corfu today? One hundred and fifty. How many Jews live in Greece? Eight thousand, or about 0.8% of the population. For some, it seems these figures are still far too high. Two other synagogues were burned in Greece during the past year. Anti-Semitic graffiti on the walls are spreading all over the country.
What happened in Greece is happening everywhere across the European continent.
During the last decade, synagogues were vandalized or set on fire in Poland, Sweden, Hungary, France. Anti-Semitic inscriptions are being drawn on building walls in Paris, Madrid, Amsterdam, London, Berlin and Rome. Jewish cemeteries are being ransacked. Jews are being attacked on the streets of most major cities on the continent. In the Netherlands, the police use « decoy Jews » in order to try arrest the perpetrators red-handed.
Jewish schools are being placed under police protection everywhere, and are usually equipped with security gates. Jewish children in public high schools are bullied; when parents complain, they are encouraged to choose another place of learning for their children.
In some cities such as Malmo, Sweden, or Roubaix, France, the persecution suffered by the Jewish community has reached such a degree that people are selling their homes at any price and leaving. Those who stay have the constant feeling that they are risking their lives: they must be extremely streetwise and carry no sign showing who they are. In 1990, approximately 2000 Jewish people lived in Malmo; now there are fewer than 700, and the number is decreasing every year."
A good overview of the history of the Jewish community in Athens is in this 2019 article at eKathimerini
The lost Jewish community of Kastoria - story at Skai.gr
Also see the page Jews in Greece