Greece remains under the impression of the painful events of last March when, as a result of the Venizelist insurrection, civil war raged for two weeks. Martial law is still in force and court martials have pronounced sentences upon hundreds who were implicated in the insurrection.
The government, invested with unlimited powers at a memorable session of the Chamber, has promulgated the drastic reforms to reestablish order and to avoid in the future new attempts, and also to rid the army of the troublesome elements which had brought it into the political turmoil.
The entire social and economic life of the country seems as though suspended. Everybody awaits the return of complete calm. It is hoped that peace and tranquility will reign anew after the June elections have taken place.
The opposition has lost its leaders. Venizelos has fled. His friends are in prison. Public opinion is violently against the Venizelists, whose folly brought about so much harm at a time when economic life was on an upward trend. The Veniezlos Party is now outside the law. Its newspapers, with minor exceptions, have not been permitted to reappear. The victory of the governing party at the election polls was taken for granted for weeks before the election. This victory is the expression of the popular will to give the country, at least for some years, tranquillity
AN EASY SLOGAN
The March revolution brought about a hard time for the Jews of Greece. It, as well as the following weeks, have caused them many days of anxiety.
It is to be remembered that the Venizelists, the instigators of the revolution, in recent years had identified themselves with the anti-Semitic movement of the country. They reproached the Jews with combatting Venizelos and favoring the government of Premier Tsaldaris. The Opposition found anti-Semitism an easy election slogan and incited their voters against the Jews of Salonica and the neighboring provinces. This campaign of hatred was kept alive by the newspapers of the Opposition, slanderous accusations were hurled against the Jews, and often the bitter effects of this propaganda could be seen quite clearly. It is only necessary to recall the memory of the incidents at the Salonica Campbell suburb in June, 1931, when bands of hooligans, incited by the writings of the main organ of the Opposition at Salonica, the newspaper Makedonia committed their outrages.
TACTICS OFTEN SUCCESSFUL
These manoevers often proved successful. Several elections took place, in which, under anti-Jewish suogans, the Venizelists carried the day at Salonica.
Of what avail were, in face of these successes, the weak protests of the great chiefs of the party, whose liberal opinions clashed with the anti-Semitic ideology? The stronger the position of the Tsaldaris government grew, the more stiff-necked the Opposition became, and any onslaught naturally was launched in the first place against the Jews, who were easy victims.
As soon as the cries of “revolution” were raised in Macedonia and Trace, the Jewish population of those parts of the country trembled. It had everything to fear from the insurgents, should they be drunk with victory. The apprehensions of the Jews were justified. It is quite well known that in order to enroll volunteers the revolutionaries promised them the liberty of plundering Jewish homes and Jewish shops. On various occasions during the subsequent court martials testimony by witnesses has been heard which leaves no doubt about the intentions of certain of the revolutionaries.
RELIEVED AT RESULT
It is easy to understand with what joy the Jews received the news of the end of this nightmare; the news of the victory by the Minister for War, General Kondylis, over the rebels. A wave of contentment engulfed the country and the Jews took their part therein, as friends of order and law. However, one shadow remained: the fear for the future.
This shadow hindered them from delivering themselves to unbounded joy, and to manifestations of happiness which have been exaggerated abroad. The Jews have not forgotten that the Venizelos Party counted among its adherents nearly half of the Greek nation and that for a long time it had been the arbiter of the destinies of the Hellenic people, and that finally it sooner or later can play this role again. Should this day come, the Jews would have to suffer disagreeable consequences and nobody of sound sense would make the Jewish position more difficult by celebrating the defeat of Venizelos.
THOUGHTS TURN TO PALESTINE
The memory of those terrible moments of anxiety linger in the minds of the Jews of Greece and cause them to think deeply about the future. Anew, they think of emigration. But, where shall they go? They look to Palestine, and fervent supplications are addressed to the bureau which distributes the immigration certificates.
Within a fortnight 800 families had registered at the Palestine office. Together with the great number of previous candidates for emigration, the proportion of the Jews of Greece desiring to go to the Holy Land has become the largest of any community in the Jewish world.
If it were possible, several small communities of Macedonia or Thrace would go en masse. But this is a dream only, and one must, willingly or unwillingly, think of future life in this country.