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40 years of active presence

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

    Nissim Levis and “Amele Zion”

    Nissim was actively involved in the Zionist movement and served as president of “Amele Zion”, the Zionist Federation of Epirus. Also involved were his brother Avramakis and his beloved niece Hiette (Avramakis’ daughter), who would marry the lawyer, Asher Moissis, a leading figure in Greek Jewry and the local Zionist movement.

    In 1918, under Nissim’s leadership, “Amele Zion” submitted an official request to the Greek government to support the effort to form a Jewish state in Palestine. For this purpose, Nissim contacted Spyridonas Simos, Ioannina MP and Minister for Welfare (1917–1920), who assured him that Eleftherios Venizelos’ government would support the Zionist programme.

    On 14 August 1922, “Amele Zion” and the Jewish Community of Ioannina held a thanksgiving ceremony at the synagogue on Max Nordau Street “on the occasion of the happy and historical event of the ratification by the League of Nations of the mandate on Palestine which is to be reconstituted as the National Jewish Home. The League of Nations had confirmed the mandate on 24 July 1922.

    The thanksgiving ceremony was attended by the general commander of Epirus, commander of the Fifth Army Corps, prefect, mayor and other authorities, to whom the organisers sent letters of thanks. These letters bear Nisim Levis’ signature.

    Nissim’s long-term engagement with Zionism is also evident from another unusual event: the Ioannis Metaxas regime of 1936 dissolved, among others, the” Keren Kayemet LeIsrael “ (Jewish National Fund) organisation. In 1939, the tax office imposed an “inheritance tax” on the disbanded organization, serving a seizure order on Nissim.