Calm Reigns in Saloniki but Jewish Leaders Unconvinced That Worst is Yet over

Although peace and order has been restored and the tension among the Jewish population lessened, the leaders of the Saloniki Jewish community declared that they are not convinced that the worst of the anti-Semitic agitation is over, and added that they stand in great need of moral and material support from their fellow Jews throughout the world.

That their fears are not unwarranted is evident from an editorial in the Venizelist organ, Nea Makedonia, which started the agitation, which says “the thing is not finished. We may have a few months of calm but it is certain that at the first opportunity the anti-Jewish movement will manifest itself in still more terrible form”.

Liberal Greeks, however, are quietly seeking a rapprochement between Greeks and Jews but everybody here is impressed with the presumed strength of the Nationalist Greek Union of which M. Gonatas, the governor of Saloniki, is rumored to be the honorary president. Former Prime Minister George Cafandaris, leader of the opposition to the Venizelist government, whole-heartedly condemned last week’s outrages when he visited the city today.

NO PROBE POSSIBLE

With parliament recessing for the summer there is no chance now of clearing up the question of the guilt of government officials such as M. Minardos, Saloniki press chief, who according to a report, is about to be transferred, nor of probing the conduct of Governor Gonatas himself as well as of making an impartial inquiry into the whole period leading up to the outbreak.

Meanwhile, owing to sufficient patrols, especially at night, calm continues and the tension has decreased but where a Jewish quarter abuts a Greek section, as all do, there is a feeling of two distinct camps with the fear of agression ever present on the Jewish side.

With the Jews of the Campbell section, the poorest Jewish quarter which was razed by fire during the June 29th outbreak, unanimously refusing to return to their former homes, the Jewish community is now faced with the additional problem of how to house and feed the refugees for about 1,500 Jewish families have been obliged to evacuate their miserable hovels and barracks with cave-like rooms, each weather-exposed hole in a corner accommodating two and more families, which means from 10 to 15 people.

Saloniki’s new city plan calls for razing the remains of the buildings left standing after the 1917 fire, and Jews as well as Christians must move. But whereas the municipality is adequately providing for the Christians, the Jews must shift for themselves. The situation is further aggravated by the fact that the owners of spacious homes who were rendered homeless 14 years ago, and have since been accustomed to indescribable congestion and unsanitary conditions as well to sharing all the intimacies of life with their neighbors must immediately find other quarters.

The Campbell refugees, for years the wards of the Jewish community, which built barracks and institutions and provided them rent free, merely emphasize the dire housing problem with which the most responsible leaders of the community-steadily impoverished since the exodus of the wealthier families in 1922-claim they are utterly unable to cope.

The quarter known as “151″, where the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee made possible the construction of decent houses, is half deserted since the hegira of last week, especially that part which borders on the space dividing the Jewish from the Greek quarter. Not a single Jewish quarter escaped anguish early last week and everywhere traces of attempted incendiarism, bullets and bullet-holes are to be found as well as frightened women and despairing men.

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