This level contains the area devoted to the Holocaust (Shoah). The subject is examined in four specially designed displays, which cover the events during the German Occupation, starting with the first anti-Semitic measures in Thessalonica in 1941, until the liberation of the few survivors of the concentration camps in 1945. The subject being so sensitive, an attempt has been made to convey the atmosphere of confusion, terror and agony of those days, to present the events as the participants experienced them. Biographical notes of the people, whose belongings are seen in the displays, underline to the visitor the fact that the Holocaust’s victims were real flesh-and-blood people, no different than any of us.
An issue that was further explored, after recent research, is that of the participation of Greek Jews in the Resistance. The area also presents the brave stance of some eponymous Greek Christians. It is the Museum’s aim to expand the presentation to include the simple anonymous people who risked their lives to save the persecuted Jews, with a display devoted to the Greek “Righteous of the Nations”, who have been honoured by the Yad Vashem Foundation in Israel.
Click here to see selected artefacts
Restrictive orders against the Jews of the German occupation zone, like the one issued by General Stroop, Commander of the SS and of the Greek Police, and anti-Semitic proclamations, such as the one on the right of Stroop’s order, to the inhabitants of Corfu, issued by the local authorities to announce the confiscation of property, and the deportation of the Jews on the island.
The Archbishop of Athens and Greece (1941-1949), Damaskinos. At his instigation false certificate of baptism were issued to the Greek Jews, thus avoiding their arrest and deportation. For defending in writing the Jewish Community he was threatened by General Stroop that he would be shot, answering that “The orthodox clergy of Greece, General Stroop do not get shot, they get hanged. Please, respect this tradition”.
Greek edition of the Nazi propaganda brochure “Der Untermensch” (The Subhuman) . In its pages is “documented” the “inferiority” of the Jews on the basis of anthropological comparisons.
Destroyed Torah scroll from the Synagogue in Rhodes. The Sephardic community of Rhodes was part of the Italian zone of occupation until autumn 1943, when Italy capitulated. The Dodecanese then fell into the hands of the Germans.
Τwo ID cards of the same individual: David Asser. The top, orange-coloured ID is his real one, dated 30 August 1943. The blue ID below, dated 29 March 1944 and depicting the same person, bears the Christian name “Dimitrios Stamatopoulos”, whose religion is “Orthodox”. These forged identity cards did not differ from real ones as they were all issued by the police on the orders of Athens police chief Angelos Evert, who was later awarded the Righteous Among the Nations title.
Handwritten note by Zak Soussi from the time of their imprisonment with other family members at Haidari military barracks in Athens. These notes were sent to Zak’s wife, Louiza. A few days later, on 2 April 1944, all the Jews held in Haidari were deported to Auschwitz. Zak died of dysentery in February 1945 at Mauthausen, where he had arrived after a death march.
Τhe little socks knitted by Eda de Botton-Siakki for her infant daughter Reina during her incarceration at Bergen-Belsen. Young Reina was hidden in the Catholic convent of Kalamari in Thessaloniki, where she was smuggled with the help of her mother’s childhood friend.
Τwo magnified photos which were contained in a pendant. The names of those pictured remain unidentified as the pendants are part of the items that were confiscated by Bulgarian authorities in the spring of 1943 from the Jewish inhabitants of Eastern Macedonia and Thrace.
Chiffon blouse with embroidered quotes by Sartre, Collete and Gide, made by Lisa Pinhas shortly after her return to Greece, in an effort to give herself courage and inspiration.
Photograph of Leon Batis, probably taken at Bucharest in 1945. He was the first survivor who returned from the death camps in Greece. His account of what had taken place in the camps was met with stunned disbelief and he was put in an asylum for two weeks.
Title ceremony of “The Righteous among the Nations”, of the Yad Vashem Institute at the Israel’s Ambassador residency in Greece, on November 7th, 1978 to: blessed Archbishop Chrysostomos of Zakynthos, Lucas Karrer, Mayor of Zakynthos during the Occipation, to the Skoulatou couple from Athens and to the Deceased Emmanuel Petrakis from Chania.