Salonica, Greece (Dec. 8)
###he Government Decree making it compulsory for all shops in this ###ity to be closed on Yom Kippur has ###iven rise to a violent anti-Semitic campaign in the nationalist press of ###reece. The campaign, as usual, is ###d by the nationalist “Makedonia” ###nd took on such virulence that the Government was forced to issue a second proclamation, saying that the decree was meant to apply only to Jewish shops, which is of course meaningless.
But neither this explanation nor the pro-Jewish attitude of the Government, has sufficed to bring the anti-Jewish campaign to an end. On he contrary, it is gaining in violence, and the most unfounded ###harges are brought against the Jews. “The Jews”, the Makedonia declares in a recent article, “are all either Communists or Zionists. The former are opposed to the State, the latter are interested only in Palestine.” The paper goes on to accuse the Jews of having been in favor of placing Salonica under Jugo-Slavia, instead of Greece.
The most harmless incidents are taken up by the anti-Semitic press and made into “Jewish crimes against the State”. A flagrant example of this is the story published in the “Makedonia” of a Jewish soldier who is alleged to have struck a Greek comrade. The “Makedonia” devoted many columns to this affair and asserted that the Jew struck the Greek because the Jews are the enemies of the Greek people. The story has since been proved to be a complete fabrication. The Governor-General of Macedonia also declared publicly that all the incidents reported in the “Makedonia” were untrue, and that he strongly disapproved of this paper.
The Government has taken various steps to show its friendliness to the Jews. Mehmbers of the Army, both soldiers and officers, have been forbidden to remain or become members of the nationalist and anti-Semitic organization, the “E.E.E.”, and two Greek soldiers have been sentenced to 30 days’ imprisonment for singing the “E.E.E.” hymn and participating in anti-Jewish demonstrations.
Another phenomenon of present-day Greece is the enormous interest taken by all sections of the Jewish population in the development of Palestine. The news of the measures taken by the Palestine Government against Jewish immigration caused great excitement. A conference was convened in which all Jewish bodies in Greece, both Zionist and non-Zionist, were represented, and a resolution was unanimously passed stating that these measures were a breach of both the spirit and the letter of the Mandate, and a flagrant disregard of the principle that Jews return to Palestine of right, and not by tolerance, and demanding the immediate repeal of these measures “which endanger the whole work of Palestine reconstruction and development.”
Many Salonica Jews have been preparing to emigrate to Palestine, but have now had to change their plans owing to these restrictive measures. These measures have also resulted in a considerable emigration of Greek Jews to France. These emigrants would under normal circumstances have gone to Palestine, but are now prevented from doing so.