Greek-Jews Unveil Monument to Thank Village that Hid Them from Nazis in WWII

FILE - A man talks to his children in front of a train wagon at the old train station in Thessaloniki, Greece, on Sunday, March 19, 2017. Residents of this northern Greek city on Sunday visited the train station to mark the 74th anniversary of the roundup and deportation of its Jews to Nazi extermination camps during World War II. (AP Photo/Giannis Papanikos)

KARDITSA, Greece (ANA) – Greek-Jews thanked the residents of the village of Amarantos in Karditsa on Sunday who protected them or their relatives from the Nazis during World War II, during the unveiling of a monument of “eternal gratitude and recognition” to commemorate the event.

“Those residents who are still living and those of you who have passed, have a special place in our hearts, of eternal gratitude. I see around me my family, children, grandchildren, relatives and on behalf of all, I have to thank you with all my heart because we exist thanks to you,” the president of the Jewish Community of Karditsa, Maki Kapeta, told the 500 attendees.

The residents of Amarantos, called Mastroyianni in the ‘40s, offered a safe haven and hospitality to the 62 Greek-Jews of Karditsa and another 20 from Thessaloniki, Volos and Trikala from the autumn of 1943 until the summer of 1944, sharing their scarce food supplies they had in their homes.

Victor Venouziou, a retired civil engineer from Karditsa who lives in Thessaloniki, and a life-long honourary member of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki, is one of the ten living survivors who were hidden by locals in a house in Amarantos and the one who paid for the creation of the monument.

He thanked the residents of Amarantos and the municipality of Karditsa. “I would like to say it loud, a big ‘well done’ to the Mastroyiannites [and] to the organizations EAM-ELAS a ‘thank you’; they were the ones who saved us. The support of EAM was crucial,” he said.

Visibly moved, the representative of the Central Jewish Board, Solomon Parente, said one of the local families saved the parents and the siblings of his mother. “My uncle, Danny Ezra, is here today with us. He came from Israel where he lives to walk again in the alleys of this beautiful mountain village which back then, amid the uncertainty of the Occupation, offered him the most valuable and elusive gift: safety,” he said.

1 Comment

  1. You know, The Jewish community tries to forge ties with Greece and Greek Americans and I do not believe that Greek Americans particularly have reciprocated proportionally. Events like this Show more than any others the deep humanity and courage of the Greek people. We are taught as my mother taught me to look out for the scapegoat, the weak and vulnerable, those among who are persecuted, even at our own risk.

    WHY events like this are not FULLY publicized by the Greek Government, the Greek Press and Information Office the Greek American community, its vaunted organizations and media and why these outlets do not clamor for the major media to carry stories like this is a mystery and moreover a tragedy.

    WHERE is the popularization, advertisement and pushing of the award winning new film “4.1 Miles” which shows the heroic efforts of common Greek Coastguardsmen to find and rescue thousands of refugees fleeing smugglers in Turkey?

    WHY is this film NOT shown in major film outlets? WHY is it that all we hear about is Greece’s economic and moral malaise occasioned by the EU bureaucrats in Brussels and the failures of the Greek Government?

    SOMEONE is FAILING to do their job and far worse, failing to counter the constant wave of defamation and distortion Greece and the Greek people have to constantly labor against.

    DO YOUR JOBS and let’s see the image of the Greek People begin to shine again as it so richly deserves.

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