Did you know that….

Did you know that….

1. Jewish presence in Greece spans more than 2,300 years?

2. In the 2nd century BCE, the Athenians had erected a statue of the Jewish leader Hyrcanus on the Agora, honoring him for his expressed feelings towards the Athenian Republic?

3. Until the arrival of the Sepharadim from Spain, in 1492, the Jewish communities of Greece used the Greek language, and assumed Greek names?

4. Around 50 CE, Apostle Paul preached in Thessaloniki's synagogue on three consecutive Saturdays?

5. The 20.000 Sepharadim who came to Thessaloniki in 1492 gave new life to the city that was almost deserted after the Turkish conquest of 1430? The historian Apostolos Vacalopoulos writes "... The commercial activity of those Jews was a special incentive for the economic growth of the Greek inhabitants of the city, which, combined with other factors, led to their national awakening in the 19th century...".

6. During the Greek national uprising of 1821:
a. Reporter Lafitte, a French Jew, with his moving articles in "France Libre", roused French public opinion in support of struggling Greece?
b. The Chief Rabbi of Westphalia in Germany collected donations in the Synagogues for the Greek liberation fighters?
c. Moses Gaster, a Jew, diplomatic agent of Holland in Bucharest, helped Alexandras Ypsylantis escape from the Turks after the lost battle of Dragatsani?

7. Jews of international renown, such as Max Nordau and Salomon Reinach, supported in every possible way Greek national aspirations in Crete and Macedonia?

8. David Sciacky, a Jewish physician, took an active part in the fighting during the Macedonian struggle, helping sick and wounded Greek fighters around the Yannitsa lake area?

9. Greece with Eleftherios Venizelos as Prime Minister and Nicolaos Politis as Foreign Minister, was one of the first countries that accepted the Balfour Declaration on the creation of a Jewish National Home in the Palestine?

10. Henry Morgenthau, an American Jew, led an international movement of solidarity to Greece, during the suffering that followed the Asia Minor defeat, and settled in Thessaloniki as President of the International Committee for the Rehabilitation of Refugees?
That in his honor a street in Thessaloniki bears his name?

11. 12.898 Jews served during World War It in the Greek Army, defending their country? That 343 were officers? That 513 died and 3.743 were wounded? That among the first casualties was Colonel Mordechai Frezi from Chalkis?

12. In 1943, the leaders of the Jewish Communities of Serres, Drama, and Cavala, refused to denounce their Greek nationality, although pressured to do so by the Bulgarian authorities? That a few months later alt the Jews of those cities were turned over to the Germans who killed them?

13. That Christian Greeks sheltered to the persecuted Greeks, risking their own lives? That the Church and Clergy. the National Resistance Movement, the Gendarmerie, and the Metropolitan Police were the first to help? That the Chief of Metropolitan Police, Angelos Evert, issued thousands of false Identity cards to Jews, helping them to evade the Nazis?

14. The Archbishop of Athens, Damaskinos, sent a letter of protest to the German occupation authorities, demanding that they cease persecuting the Jews? That this letter, unique in the whole of occupied Europe, was co-signed by 27 Presidents of various Organizations and institutions, such as the Athens' academy, the Chamber of Commerce etc?

15. Jews were assisted by the Bishops of Thessaloniki, Gennadios, of Dimitrias, Christodoulos, of Chalkis, Gregorios, and of Zante, Chrysostomos? That the Bishop of Zante helped by the Mayor of the city Loukas Carrer, prevented the arrest and deportation of the local Jews? That the same was done in Katerini by Mayor Athanasios Vassiliadis and Chief of Police Papageorgiou?

16. That the Greek State, having by law inheritance rights on the property of Greeks who die leaving no inheritors, refused to benefit from the plight of the Greek Jews, and waived its rights by law?