The Consulate General of Greece in Sydney commemorates the 80th anniversary of the deportation of Thessaloniki Jews

The Holocaust in Thessaloniki and its blow to a 2000-years-old Community

Invitation to an event-lecture: The Holocaust in Thessaloniki and its blow to a 2000-years-old Community

By Dr. Leon Saltiel

Between 15 March and 10 August 1943, some forty-three thousand Jews of Thessaloniki were transported to the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau. Of those, less than one thousand returned back alive. This was a devastating blow to the Jewish population of Thessaloniki, a major and one of the oldest Jewish centres in Europe. The Jews had constituted the majority of the population —and at times even the absolute majority—thus marking the city’s character for centuries.

On the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the deportation of Greek Jews from Thessaloniki to the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, the Consulate General of Greece in Sydney proudly organizes an event-lecture commemorating the unspeakable tragedy that led to the near extinction of one of Europe’s most thriving Jewish communities.

The renowned historian Dr Leon Saltiel, having extensively written on the topic, will elaborate on “The Holocaust in Thessaloniki and its blow to a 2000-year-old Community.” He will unfold the history of the Thessaloniki Jews through valuable testimonies of Holocaust victims, as well as the aftermath of this calamity for the Greek Jewish community. His Eminence Archbishop Makarios, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in Australia will address a foreword.

The event is supported by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia and the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and is kindly hosted by the Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens, University of Sydney, at its premises.

Dr Saltiel’s presentation will narrate the long history until the last days of the once prominent Jewish community of Thessaloniki, the overwhelming majority of which was transported to the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz in 1943. Almost 95 per cent of the 50,000 Jews in Greece’s second-largest city did not survive the war, most of them deported and exterminated in German-occupied Poland. The Jews constituted a large percentage of Thessaloniki’s population, with a long presence in the city, who contributed to the social, economic, political and cultural life, and their loss has marked the development of the city –and the whole country—to this day.

About the presenter:

Leon Saltiel holds a Ph.D. in Contemporary Greek History from the University of Macedonia, in Thessaloniki, Greece, and has been a post-doctoral researcher at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland and the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. His publications include The Holocaust in Thessaloniki: Reactions to the Anti-

Jewish Persecution, 1942–1943 (Routledge 2020), which won the 2021 Yad Vashem International Book Prize for Holocaust Research, and ‘Do Not Forget Me’: Three Jewish Mothers Write to their Sons from the Thessaloniki Ghetto (Alexandria 2018) in Greek and (Berghahn 2021 in English). He is the Director of Diplomacy, a Representative at UN Geneva and UNESCO, and a Coordinator on Countering Anti-Semitism for the World Jewish Congress.

Free event – Register here

April 20, 18.00 for an 18.30 start

Venue: The Australian Archaeological Institute at Athens, University of Sydney

              CCANESA Boardroom, Madsen Building (map)

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