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GREEK JEWRY
SALONICA – MOTHER OF LOVE AND PAIN Print E-mail
Wednesday, 04 January 2017 13:01

By Yvette Nahmia-Messinas, Jerusalem Post, January 2nd, 2017

Where should I start? I’ll start at the end. On Saturday we went to see the film “Ouzeri Tsitsanis” (Cloudy Sunday) by director Manousos Manousakis in the framework of the Jewish Film Festival at the Jerusalem Cinematheque. “Ouzeri” in Greek is the place where people drink ouzo and eat mezedes. Vassilis Tsitsanis was one of the most important figures in the formation of modern Greek music, a master bouzouki player and among the forces shaping the Rebetiko (urban Greek music) in Salonica before and during WWII. The screening hall was filled with known faces of Greek Jews, Greek music lovers, philhellenes and beyond.

The film was balanced, nuanced and rich, and succeeded in telling the story of the Greek Jews of Salonica, the “madre d’Israel,” from different perspectives. We saw the Sephardi Greek Jews, heard them speak in Greek and Ladino and sing songs in Judeo-Espagnol in their communal choir as well as get involved in the new socialist ideas. We were exposed to the foreign sounding names of the foods they ate, the synagogue they went to, the controversial rabbi they followed. We also saw the inner strife among them, of those who suggested not listening to the rabbi and his directives of going along with the Germans’ requests, and those who felt safer in complying with the Jewish community’s policy rather than straying away from it and going on their own.

We were shown Estrea, the young Sephardi Jewess (Christina Chila Fameli) who is active in the resistance by typewriting its messages in a well-hidden basement. Although she is issued false identity papers as a Greek Orthodox woman, and has the option to escape with her Greek Christian boyfriend Giorgos (Charis Fragkoulis) to Athens, Estrea opts to turn herself in as a Jew and get on the train to be with her family. Estrea knows that the train is headed for Poland, but doesn’t know its ultimate destination is Auschwitz, where 96% of Salonica’s Jews perished.

 

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MAYOR BOUTARIS' INTERVIEW ON THESSALONIKI’S JEWISH HERITAGE Print E-mail
Wednesday, 06 July 2016 08:34

Thessaloniki mayor Yiannis Boutaris visited the USA in June 2016. Mayor Boutaris was awarded by the American Friends of the Jewish Museum of Greece with the “Damaskinos Award” in a ceremony held in New York on June 1. Mayor Boutaris also addressed this year’s AJC Global Forum, held in Washington, as one of the 189 European mayors who have joined the 319 US mayors in AJC’s “Mayors United against Antisemitim” initiative. During his stay in the US, Yiannis Boutaris was interviewed by Ron Kampeas for the JTA (July 5, 201). We publish the interview here under:  

WASHINGTON (JTA) –  “I am proud to be a Vlach,” says Yiannis Boutaris, the mayor of Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city.
Ostensibly, we’re here at the Washington Hilton to discuss Boutaris’ bid to put the Jewish back in Thessaloniki, a city — perhaps best known as Salonika —once home to the largest numbers of Jews in Greece.
But I’m the one who brought up the Vlachs, a dwindling minority of speakers of an ancient Latin dialect, scattered throughout the Balkans. When he ambles over, I greet him with the “Ci fac?” I have learned from my wife’s family. Pronounced “Tzi fatz,” it more or less means “what’s up?”

His eyes widen a little. “Gini!” he says, he’s fine. He looks at his aide, Leonidas Makris, with a look that suggests, “I thought you told me this guy was Jewish?”

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INTERVIEW WITH JEWISH MEMBER OF ATHENS CITY COUNCIL Print E-mail
Monday, 23 November 2015 09:27

The Member of the Athens City Council, Mr. Alexandros Modiano, gave an interview to the Arutz Sheva Israeli TV channel about the Athens Jewish Community and anti-Semitism.

Watch HERE the interview

 Read HERE a related article  

 
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