[Page 522, Volume 2, Hebrew]
[Page 43, Volume 2, Ladino]
Contrary to the general opinion that the Jews of Salonika and of Greece did not take part in any acts of resistance against the Germans, I will demonstrate that a great number of Jewish youth took an active part in many acts of resistance.
Before I do this, however, I will say a few words about what happened to me during that time: In the autumn of 1942 I was arrested by the Germans and underwent various interrogations. In this interval I was imprisoned in the Averoff prison in Athens, and afterwards I was taken to the detention camp Parapigmatia, and finally I was taken to a train station north of the city, where I rode on a wagon for transporting beasts together with 6 other Greeks. The destination of the train was Bavaria. When we arrived at the bridge called Gorgopotamos the train stopped and the Germans put us on busses over unpaved roads for the rest of the journey.
It was apparent that the bridge was occupied by guerillas whose ranks included Jews, just when it was approached by a train of German soldiers.
After a long trip we arrived at Graetz. From there we embarked on a train to Laufen, after which we were transferred to Titmoning. In this place I spent a year and a half. There I learned for the first time of the terrible fate of my brother Jews in the death camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Bergen-Belzen, etc. After the new year I arrived at the camp of Laufen, where I spent sixteen more months, ended by the arrival of the American army in 1944. There, I was registered by the office of UNRA along with other detainees, for repatriation to our homes. After a short time I was transferred to a center for repatriation which was found in a large military camp in Munich. There I encountered Jews from Greece and from Salonika, and among these was Dr. Menache, who told me about an act of sabotage in which some Jews from Greece attacked one of the ovens in that camp.
I will relate the facts concerning the acts of resistance against the Germans in which the Jews of Greece took part, to bring them to the knowledge of the public.
For three reasons the public has the impression that the Jews of Salonika and Greece in general did not participate in acts of resistance against the Germans, and these are:
1) Many Jewish youth who took part in these acts, were members of socialist and communist forces of resistance; 2) these youths took Greek surnames like Captain Andrea or Captain Melapoulos etc.; 3) those who lived did not divulge their semi-communist past, while others did not want to recall the terrible days they had lived through.
Since 11/7/1942, the day when the Jewish youth of Salonika were collected on Liberty Street and cruelly maltreated, Jewish youth began to find ways to flee to the mountains and save themselves from the hands of the Germans.
The center of the resistance group ELAS [Greek People's Liberation Army] was located in the mountains of Naoussa in a place called Vermion. Many Jewish youth fled Salonika with the help of agents of the resistance and came to their destination in Vermion. It was not easy to reach this place; many were met on the road by Germans and killed; despite all these difficulties about 200 Jewish youth arrived at this center of resistance. Many joined the ranks of ELAS and distinguished themselves in several actions. Among these were numbered Moise Bello who came from Tel-Aviv (in the ranks of the resistance he called himself Captain Malearopoulos); Yehuda Levy (who called himself Pavlos), Itzhac Imanuel, a certain Arditti (who had worked for some time in the garage of Moise Carasso in Tel-Aviv), the photography expert Bourla of Salonika and Dr. Arouh.
In the camps of the resistance force ELAS were found Jews: Itzhac Moche, who called himself Captain Ritzos and a famous officer from the Greek Army, the Jewish officer Captain Prezis (cousin of Colonel Prezis, who fell in a battle in Albania during the Greek-Italian war), etc.
Not only in Vermion and in Castoria were centers of ELAS which had Jews, but also in the center of resistance in Olympus and in other centers.
In Salonika groups of Jewish youth were organized, who executed acts of terror against the Germans and also succeeded in taking from the armies Greek deportees and Germans themselves. The leaders of these groups were Nahman Cohen (the musician) and Yaacov Mano (son of Avraam Mano who was at this time in Haifa). The majority of them were captured and killed; a few, with the help of Greeks, reached and joined the forces of the resistance in Vermion.
In Volos various resistance groups were organized, who included Jews. One of these groups was made up of women, the majority of whom were Jews. They came to the aid of resistance forces, some bringing food, some medical supplies secured with the help of doctors and infirmaries, etc., and some with clothing of every kind.
When the Germans entered Volos, they demanded of the Grand Rabbi of the city,
Rav Moche Pessah (may his memory be blessed), the head of the church and the
Mayor that they supply a list of Jews. At an
urgent meeting these three people decided:
All the Jews of Halkida also, fled to a place of refuge in a place called Sata in the island of Avia.
Many Jews of Athens, with the help of agents of the resistance, managed to obtain cards of Greek identity and so to continue their regular life. Other Jewish youth, mostly students, organized in groups to help Jews flee from Athens. It is thanks to these groups that many Jews were saved, including Rav Eliaou Barzilai – Grand Rabbi of Athens. He managed to flee Athens, to a place of refuge in a place called Guimno in the island of Avia.
Among those who were active in these actions were numbered Leon Azuvi and his brothers, Yomtov Chimchi (Captain Maccabi), David Broudo (son of Rav Mordechai Broudo), Daniel Alhatani, Leon Mordoh, Jules Mordoh, Pepo Ouziel, etc.
Other youths who arrived in Karia and participated in the battle of the forces of resistance were: David Broudo, the son of Dr. Mitrani and a student called Barouh of Salonika; these fell in a battle around Karia.
One of the groups who fled Athens managed to leave in a motorboat and arrive in
Tchechma (in Turkey); other groups departed by sea.
[Page 565, Volume 2, Hebrew]
[Page 45, Volume 2, Ladino]
David Mordehai Broudo begins by telling his memory of 17/5/1943, the day in which he and his friend Albert Mitrani decided to flee the train station of the city of Lamia. 600 Jewish youth of Salonika, from 16 to 35 years, were forced to labor in this place to build a new train station for the Germans. They succeeded in fleeing, and soon joined the Greek partisans. Mitrani was named a doctor, and Broudo a soldier; they participated in many attacks against the Germans, and succeeded in killing many of them. In one of these battles with the Germans around Kocovista, Mitrani was wounded; although he was gravely wounded, he continued to fight the Germans until his last breath. After some time Broudo was named officer and was responsible to obtain weapons and food. Every day he visited many places around Athens occupied by the Germans and had many encounters and managed to kill enemy soldiers. Four times he entered Athens with a group of 4-5 partisans and managed to obtain arms and food for the resistance forces.
During the civil war in Greece, after liberation, he was twice condemned to death by the Greek Authorities, but was freed together with 15 Jewish partisans, thanks to the intervention of the Foreign Minister of Israel. Since then he has lived free in Israel.
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