Greek Resistance to Measures Against Jews

(Prior to November 11, 1943)


OFFICE OF STRATEGIC SERVICES

Reports on Greece

CONFIDENTIAL

Report No. 11215
Prior to November 11, 1943

SUBJECT: Anti-Semitic Measures.

Source: Unstated

After publication by the Germans of the anti-Semitic decree in Athens, every Jew who had previously obtained an identity card with an Orthodox name was able to find a hiding place among Orthodox friends. The Athenian population has displayed far greater humanitarian qualities than the population of Salonica, which gives reason to hope that a large part of the Jews of Athens will be saved from German persecution. There have been cases where one and a half million to two million drachmas have been paid per month for hiding places, and in other cases, deposits of 50 or even 100 gold pounds have been asked for by those offering hide-outs as eventual damages for punishment at the hands of the Germans.

The EAM organization has recruited among the Jews a large number of those who could speak English and has sent them to its headquarters. Others have taken to the mountains, especially the younger ones, and have joined with the partisans, or are living in regions which are known as Free Greece, but the majority have taken shelter in the mountainous regions of Karpenisi and Euboea with the object of ultimately leaving Greece clandestinely by sea.

The EAM, which has organized several convoys, has asked the rich Jews to undertake to keep their less fortunate co-religionists. This organization has also distributed tracts to the Athenian population, asking them to aid and assist the Jews. On one occasion the partisans allowed only Jews to embark on a convoy.

After the publication of the German decree, only 50 to 60 Jews registered, and this was due to the fact that they were unable to find suitable hiding places. The Germans tacitly prolonged the delay for registration to October 17, but no action was taken against certain Jews who registered on the 18th of the month. Those who registered were given white identity cards without photographs, bearing the name, address and profession of the holder, and the dates (every two days) on which he must present himself to the German authorities.

As the population of Athens is showing itself hostile to these measures, it is thought that the Germans will be less severe in the beginning in order to influence those in hiding to register. Up to Wednesday, October 20, 1943,no Jewish shop had been pillaged, with the exception of Aldhadeff, and another belonging to a Jew named Eliazer Solomon. The houses, however, of well-known Jews, were stripped of their furniture. Jews who installed Greek friends in their houses and gave out that they had sold them to these friends have not had them touched by the Germans.

It is probable that Jews who are now in hiding will only risk exposure if the Germans offer large rewards for their denunciation, which rewards will tempt people who are starving as a result of famine.

The Greek Archbishop has urged priests to preach assistance to the Jews in their churches. He has also successfully intervened with the German authorities to exempt from racial measures children up to 14 years old and such Jews as are married to persons of Orthodox faith.


Source: "Documents: The Jews in Greece, 1941-1944: Eyewitness Accounts," by Alexandros Kitroeff, Journal of the Hellenic Diaspora, Vol. XII, No. #3, (Fall 1985)