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40 years of active presence

Friday, December 1, 2023

    The Oral History Archive of the Jewish Museum of Greece (OHA)

    The OHA today contains a total of 125 interviews, 69 by men and 55 by women, 14 in audio and the rest in audio-visual format. The interviews constitute a record of the lives of members of the Jewish communities of Greece. There is more than 200 hours of material. About 30% of the interviews concern individuals from Thessaloniki, which had the country’s largest Jewish community before the war. There are also testimonies from Ioannina, Athens, Trikala, Volos, Larisa, Chalkida and Zakynthos. Important testimonies were also given by a tiny number of Jews that survived the Bulgarian occupation of northern Greece. Moreover, there are interviews with Christian friends and neighbours, along with other non-Jews who helped save their persecuted Jewish fellow citizens, and also with others who witnessed the deportations first hand.

    As a whole, the testimonies allow us to see a variety of experiences at the time of the deportations, such as concentration camps and death camps, life in hiding, participation in the Resistance and flight to the Middle East, as well as forced labour.

    Although the majority of Greek Jews were sent to death camps, most of the interviews do not reflect this fact, as they come principally from people who were hidden or from resistance fighters – the two much smaller groups of survivors. This variety of interviews reveals not only many and different aspects of the experience of persecution, but they are also contextualized by testimonies of contemporary witnesses.