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40 years of active presence

Wednesday, October 4, 2023


    Danelos Alchanatis was born in Athens in 1922. After completing the historical 8th Boys’ Gymnasium (high school) on Koumoundourou Square, he enrolled to study architecture at Athens Polytechnic. When the Germans occupied Athens, he was finishing his first year.

    With the student lecture halls in turmoil, it was impossible to stay out of the resistance. In early 1942, he was recruited to EAM by a classmate, Neilos Mastrantonis, a top student and hero of the Greek–Italian War. Danelos enthusiastically undertook to set up an EAM branch for Jews and succeeded in getting several coreligionists involved, starting with his childhood friends Mois Yussuroum, Zakinos Koen, Robertos Zakar, Simos Valenstein and others. This was one of the few initiatives of organised Jewish resistance in occupied Greece. The team disobeyed the callsof the community, planned forms of resistance and participated in all major protests and demonstrations in the capital, as part of EAM Youth and, later, EPON.

    In October 1943, the German grip on the Jews of Athens began to tighten. Danelos used the fake name “Thanasis Stamatoukos” and hid in Pyritidopoieio (present day Egaleo). The neighbourhood concealed the fact that they were Jews. As the actions of the collaborationist Security Battalions expanded into the Athenian suburbs, he escaped with the help of EAM to Eretria, Evia, together with his brothers and the family of an uncle, Leon Azouvi. In December 1943, he signed up to the 7th ELAS Regiment in Evia, which was headquartered in Steni, joining Leon Amar, Samikos Fornis and others from Chalkida who had enlisted earlier. He took part in many battles under the command of local captains Yiorgos Douatzis (“Othris”) and Vangelis Karamichalis (“Vyronas”). On account of his beliefs, he was exiled for two years to the island of Ikaria (1947–1949) and served in the army as a “political undesirable”.

    He subsequently worked as an architect and devoted his entire life to Greek Jewish community organisations. After the liberation, he established the Association of Jewish Students and was actively involved in the rebuilding of the Jewish Community of Athens. He served on all the boards of the community from 1960 (he was president from 1980 to 1995) and served as president (1977–1978) of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KISE). He died in August 2012.

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