January 14, 2008

Today in Jewish History - Shvat 7

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In 1943, plans were finalized to deport the Jews of Athens, Greece. From 1941-1943, Greece was under control of the Italians, who by and large protected the Jews against the Germans. But in 1943, things changed for the worse; as punishment for Greece's fighting against the Axis, freedom of movement was restricted for all Jews. Some Jews fled and hid in the countryside, but most were deported to Auschwitz. Jews had lived in Athens since the 3rd century BCE -- the longest continuous Jewish presence in Europe; the remains of an ancient synagogue were found at the foot of the Acropolis. In the Holocaust, 77 percent of Greek Jewry were murdered -- 60,000 Jews.