The resistance movement in the village, the neighborhood, extended family, and individual fighter has been meticulously researched. The four-year Nazi occupation resulted in the destruction of the Greek Jewish population, not at the hands of Greek Christians or even the collaborationist government in Athens. Some Greeks sought to hide their Jewish friends and colleagues or help them escape to safety, but only several thousand Jews sought refuge in the mountainous areas controlled by resistance groups, and the decimation of Salonika was so rapid, they never had a chance. Sixty thousand perished in the extermination camps of Auschwitz and Treblinka; only 10,000 Greek Jews survived. Questions include: Did the resistance organizations actively encourage Jews to seek protection in guerrilla-controlled areas? Which groups were more forthcoming and why? Why did relatively few Jews take advantage of the opportunity to escape to the mountains and what were the characteristics of those who did? What were their contributions to the resistance movement? Most of the evidence had to be gleaned from memoirs, recollections, and interviews conducted years after the war. There are many fascinating stories about help from the retreating Italians, about the heroism of Greek Jews in rebellions of Sondercommandos in the Warsaw Ghetto, Auschwitz, and elsewhere, but also — a fascinating section about Greek Jewish women in the resistance. Attempts were made to save the Greek Jews by politicians in other countries, but were ineffective. In addition to copious notes after each chapter, there is an “Afterword” about Joseph Matsas and the Greek Resistance. Appendices include: abbreviations, 25 pages listing names of Greek Jews who fought against the Nazis in Warsaw and Auschwitz during August and October,1944; a list of Greek Jews who fought in the Sondercommando revolt in Birkenau (Auschwitz II) in October, 1944; a bibliography on Jewish sources on resistance, Greek sources on resistance, and Greek assistance to the Jews plus an Index.
Marcia W. Posner, Ph.D., of the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County, is the library and program director. An author and playwright herself, she loves reviewing for JBW and reading all the other reviews and articles in this marvelous periodical.