March 9, 1943 - Greek Jews of Salonika are transported to Nazi extermination camps.
Jewish women and children from Salonika transported to Auschwitz – Birkenau
Some 60,000-70,000 Greek Jews, or at least 81% of the country’s Jewish population, were murdered. Thousands of Jews were saved by the Greek Orthodox Church hierarchy due to a proclamation by Archbishop Damaskinos, instructing the church to issue false baptismal certificates to all Jews who requested them. Although the Germans deported a great number of Greek Jews, others were successfully hidden by their Greek neighbours.
On July 11, 1942, the Jews of Thessaloniki were rounded up in preparation for slave labour. The community paid a fee of 2 billion drachmas for their freedom.
Approximately 50,000 Jews were sent to Auschwitz.
The destruction of Jewish Life in Thessaloniki was almost complete, the old Jewish Cemetery in the centre of town was destroyed, as were most of the 60 synagogues and schools.
Only 1,950 of Thessaloniki’s Jews survived Auschwitz. Today the Jewish population of Thessaloniki numbers 1,000, the community maintains two synagogues.
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