• Holocaust Monuments in Athens
Two monuments in Athens are dedicated to the Greek Jews who perished in the Holocaust. One was erected in the 1950s in the Jewish cemetery in the Nikaia suburb, the second was unveiled in the city centre in 2010.
Image: Athens, May 1941, Soldiers of the Wehrmacht hoist the swastika flag on the Acropolis, Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-165-0419-19A, Bauer
Athens, May 1941, Soldiers of the Wehrmacht hoist the swastika flag on the Acropolis, Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-165-0419-19A, Bauer

Image: Athens, 2010, Holocaust monument, Tilemahos Efthimiadis
Athens, 2010, Holocaust monument, Tilemahos Efthimiadis
Between April 1941 and September 1943, Athens was under Italian occupation. During that period, many Jews from territories occupied by the Germans in Greece sought refuge in the Greek capital. After Italy had changed surrendered to the Allies, the German Wehrmacht took control of Italy's occupation zone in September 1943. Soon, the National Socialists began registering the Jews in Athens, yet they stumbled upon unexpected difficulties: the Jewish population had always been scattered across the city, making it more difficult to compile a record. The leader of the Jewish community, whose help the occupation forces hoped to rely on in the process, fled to the mountains. In addition, non-Jews in Athens were very helpful towards their Jewish neighbours by, for example, hiding them or, as was the case with members of the police, supplying them with false papers. Archbishop Damaskinos Papandreou of Athens also played an active part in protecting Jews. Only a few hundred of the 4,000 to 7,000 Jews in Athens let themselves be registered in the following months. Under these circumstances the security police and security service decided to conduct mass arrests on March 24 and 25, 1944. Together with Wehrmacht units and collaborators from the Greek police they chased down about 800 Jews who had hidden in the city. On April 2, 1944, they were deported together with the previously registered Jews to Auschwitz-Birkenau via the Larissa camp. The transport reached the death camp on April 11, 1944.
Image: Athens, May 1941, Soldiers of the Wehrmacht hoist the swastika flag on the Acropolis, Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-165-0419-19A, Bauer
Athens, May 1941, Soldiers of the Wehrmacht hoist the swastika flag on the Acropolis, Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-165-0419-19A, Bauer

Image: Athens, 2010, Holocaust monument, Tilemahos Efthimiadis
Athens, 2010, Holocaust monument, Tilemahos Efthimiadis
In April 1944, about 1,900 Jews were deported from Athens to the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp. 1,300 of them came from Athens, the remaining 600 were from the regions of Preveza, Arta, Agrinio and Patras. They had previously been deported to the Chaidari transit camp north-west of Athens. In total, about 59,000 Jews from Greece were murdered during the Holocaust.
Image: Athens, 2004, Column on the Jewish cemetery listing victim numbers, Alexios Menexiadis
Athens, 2004, Column on the Jewish cemetery listing victim numbers, Alexios Menexiadis

Image: Athens, 2010, Town names on a memorial stone, Tilemahos Efthimiadis
Athens, 2010, Town names on a memorial stone, Tilemahos Efthimiadis
Today, Athens is home to a Jewish community comprising several thousand members. In the 1950s, the community erected a Holocaust monument on the new Jewish cemetery in Nikaia, a suburb of Athens. The marble monument, which is little known outside of the Jewish community, honours the Greek victims of the Holocaust. The central column is inscribed with the numbers of deportees and victims from the larger Jewish communities in Greece.
After many years of efforts the Jewish community, supported by the city of Athens, was able to unveil a further Holocaust memorial in the city centre in May 2010. The monument by Greek-American artist DeAnna Maganias is situated in a garden close to a synagogue, in which Jews from Athens were held captive during the occupation. The monument consists of stones laid down in the form of a Star of David. Engraved on the stones are the names of Greek towns and cities whose Jewish communities were annihilated during the Holocaust.
Image: Athens, 2004, 1950s monument on the Jewish cemetery, Alexios Menexiadis
Athens, 2004, 1950s monument on the Jewish cemetery, Alexios Menexiadis

Image: Athens, 2010, Holocaust monument, Tilemahos Efthimiadis
Athens, 2010, Holocaust monument, Tilemahos Efthimiadis
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