Russia to Give Jewish Holocaust Archives Back to Greece

Russia to Give Jewish Holocaust Archives Back to Greece

The Holocaust of the Greek Jews was the darkest episode of the Nazi occupation of the country. Approximately 60,000 Greek Jews were victims of the Holocaust. Most were of Portuguese origin.

The Nazis plundered the documents and cultural treasures of Jewish organizations. When the Nazis were defeated by the Red Army, all the objects were transferred to Moscow.

In the next weeks, Russia will hand over to Greece the Jewish Holocaust archives. The largest part of the archives relates to the Jewish community in Thessaloniki. About 45,000 Thessaloniki Jews of Portuguese origin perished in the Nazi death camps.

On July 11, 1942, the Nazis surrounded the Jews of Thessaloniki in order to deport them to concentration camps. The local Jewish community paid 2.5 billion drachmas for the freedom that they had been told would be given to them, but they only managed to delay the deportation until March 1943.

The few Greek survivors who returned to the country in the early 1950s found most of their sixty synagogues and schools destroyed, their cemeteries looted and their own homes occupied by other people.