Lost Voices: Greek Jews and The Holocaust

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Lost Voices: Greek Jews and The Holocaust
Opening: Sunday , March 25, 2012
1:00 PM At the Kupferberg
Holocaust Resource Center

I have written you a letter to calm you a little in spite of the agony of the days and nights waiting, like the condemned, for the death sentence. For a moment there is an illusion of escaping this bad time. The fatal moment can arrive in days or hours for me too. Dear children, in spite of my trying not to upset you I see that the last hour is near… God, who sees my tears, should pity you and keep you alive… Even God could not endure the tragedy that is happening here. I leave with a sack on my back for the unknown, without a protector.

Your unfortunate mother,
Neama*

This is an excerpt of a letter written by an unknown Jewish woman in Salonika, Greece, to her sons in Athens, dated march 3, 1943. The German Nazi forces entered Salonika in April 1941. Following two years of punishing measures directed at the 56,000 Jews in the city, such as the wearing of the Yellow Star and the robbing of all their belongings, the Jewish population was finally restricted to specific areas. On March 15, 1943, the first deportation took place when 2,800 Jews were packed into 40 cattle cars. It was precisely during these harrowing weeks that Neama wrote her despairing letter. This exhibit will focus on how the Shoah affected the Jews of Greece, one of the oldest Jewish communities, going back to the middle of the first century. Given that most people, Jews included, associate the Shoah with Central European Jewry, these photos will illustrate that, sadly, Greek Jews, too, were not exempt from the same horrors.

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