Showing posts with label Greek Jews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Greek Jews. Show all posts

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Never Forget

A new website,, published by a Swedish Armenian organization, explains the deaths of millions of Christians in Ottoman Turkey, and, rather progressively, acknowledges Armenians, Syriac people, Assyrians and Greeks of Anatolia and Pontos. The FAQ in English explains why April 24 is a commemoration day for Armenians.

This Sunday, April 22, Kehila Kedosha Janina, the only Greek synagogue in Manhattan, hosts a memorial service to remember the Shoah - the Jewish Holocaust - at 2 p.m., followed by a special film on the Jewish community of Salonika (Thessaloniki), Greece.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thanksgiving Wishes

I'm so thankful for Marcia Haddad Ekonomopoulos, a loving community historian in Manhattan and someone we should all emulate. See this video about a totally unique Greek Synagogue bordered now by Chinatown and Lower East Side hipsters.

The City Concealed: Kehila Kedosha Janina from on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Free Theater

If you don't know about Greek Jews, here's a chance: Manhattan's only Greek synagogue informs of a gratis play, SALONIKA 1943, Feb. 18, 6:30 p.m. at the Center for Jewish History in Manhattan. It's an Italian production, in English with music, that "recounts the last years of the culturally unique, centuries-old Jewish community in Salonika (today Thessaloniki) through the eyes of an Italian diplomat who, in spite of Italy’s alliance to Germany ... struggles to save those he can. Stories of ordinary people are woven together with songs, legends and tales from the Jewish tradition, many containing prophetic premonitions of future horrors. The play moves from the gradual concentration of the 54,000 Jews of Salonika inside a ghetto, into the horrific era of their deportation by the Germans to the death camps ... The Italian Consul ... hurriedly drew up "lists of life" ... even as the first trains were leaving for Birkenau."
You must RSVP:
The Center for Jewish History is at 15 West 16th St.
More info here.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Asia Minor stories

If you descend from Asia Minor -- the region of Western Turkey that was once a more diverse place with Greeks, Armenians, Jews -- I would love to record your stories large and small. Write me or post family names, where and how they lived, what year they left and why, photos, links. It's like piecing together a puzzle, but the stories have many common threads. And not enough has been done to collect stories in English, in the United States. I review all material; please leave contact info if you want to talk offline. Αν κατεβείτε από τη Μικρά Ασία - θα ήθελα πάρα πολύ να ακούσω και να καταγράψει τις ιστορίες σας μεγάλες και μικρές. Γράψε μου με το όνομα της οικογένειάς σας, πού και πώς έζησαν, όσα χρόνια και αν μείνει και γιατί,  φωτογραφίες, καρτ-ποστάλ, σύνδεσμοι - θα ήμουν ευτυχής να σας καλέσει και συνέντευξη σας στο τηλέφωνο ή με το Skype. Εγώ αναθεώρηση όλου του υλικού, και δεν πρέπει να δημοσιεύονται στο blog. Παρακαλώ αφήστε τα στοιχεία επικοινωνίας σας.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Mr. Amon's Story

In Tel Aviv, I had the great pleasure to meet Alberto Amon, and his son Schmuel, when I stopped in their furniture shop. Alberto was born in Volos, Greece, where he avoided the fate of many Jews when the Germans invaded in the early 1940s. That's because he was serving as a Greek soldier and was able to hide out in the mountains about four hours "me to podi" (by foot) outside Volos. I had no luck attaching my video, where Mr. Amon recounts that there wasn't a lot of food, but he managed. His wife, from Thessaloniki, was not as fortunate. Most of Thessaloniki's Jewish community died in the camps -- Mr. Amon knows the exact number: 65,000 people. (In the Laladika neighborhood, they are honored at the Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki.) Alberto's wife was sent to the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp and most of her family was murdered; she and her sister survived, were liberated by the Russian army in 1945, and she returned to Thessaloniki, where she met a cold reception. She moved on to Athens, where she met Alberto on a New Year's Day -- the same day I met Mr. Amon. I got to hear their story by accident: I stopped in the shop to ask a question, and Schmuel put me on the phone with a friend who tried to help. When the Amons heard my name, they got all excited and started recounting stories in Greek. Mr. Amon was proud to show me a Volos history publication that shows him among a group of military men in the early 1940s. Just received the January newsletter from the Kehila Kedosha Greek-Jewish Synagogue and Museum in New York, which says some Thessaloniki community members are worried that a planned exhibition on Greek Jews at Auschwitz might not address the following: that the deportation of the city's Greek Jews was accomplished with speed, how the survivors were greeted after the war in their hometowns, and the refusal of Greece to prosecute Germans for crimes against Jewish Greeks.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Greek Jews

TEL AVIV, Israel - Many Israelis I met in Tel Aviv love Greece, and Arabs here at the Mount of Olives Hotel see Greeks as their friends – my apparently blessed heritage is better than a Swiss passport when it comes to making friends in Israel! Within hours of being in Israel for the first time, I met five people with Greek heritage – the most special among them being Albert Amon, 83, who avoided Auschwitz when living in Greece: he was a rebel fighter who escaped to the mountains about four hours outside Volos. His voice cracked when he first told me, but he was fundamentally chipper and happy share stories and speak Greek. His wife doesn’t speak about her ordeal: she was was among the 50,000-plus Greek Jews who were rounded up in Thessaloniki and sent to camps. She and her sister survived Auschwitz and came back to Greece with numbers tattooed on their arms, the rest of their families gone. I didn’t bring up the Greek thing with anyone; it was when people heard my name that they were eager to tell me how much Israelis love Greek music or about their own Greek heritage. One young woman attached to the wedding I attended said her mother was born in Izmir in the 1950s. The woman who sat next to me at the wedding has relatives in Athens. A shopkeeper with a turban and orange robe hawking clothes from India said her father was from Kerkyra (Corfu) and pulled out a Greek music CD to blast on the shop’s speakers. But the most intersting person was the mustachioed Mr. Amon, who sells furniture, and his son, Shmuel. I went into their store because Shmuel was on a laptop and I had Internet connectivity questions. He put me on the phone with a friend, and when they heard “Dimitra,” the conversation ensued.