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Starvation Drives Hidden Jews in Athens to Surrender to Gestapo

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Jews in Athens who managed to escape deportations to “death camps” in Poland and had been hidden for many months by non-Jewish friends in the Greek capital under the very nose of the Gestapo, are now beginning to give themselves up to the German authorities because of despair and starvation, it was reported here today by the Greek Information Service.

The report estimated that about 10,000 Jews succeeded in eluding the Gestapo. Many of them took to the mountains as guerrillas, but others were hidden in Christian homes in the Greek capital, or live under false identity documents issued to them by the Greek police. As the food rationing becomes more and more meager, the hidden Jews prefer to surrender to the Gestapo rather than draw on the meager rations of their hosts. A pound of bread on the black market in Athens costs now 200,000 drachmas, the report states.

Chief Rabbi Koretz of Salonica is blamed by the authorities for the deportation by the Germans of about 45,000 Salonica Jews to Poland. While in Athens the Gestapo were frustrated, they succeeded in Salonica, owing to the appeasing attitude of Chief Rabbi Koretz who handed over the German authorities a list of members of the Jewish community in the belief that the Germans would keep their promise not to institute any deportations, the report says. The report further reveals that about 3,000 Salonica Jews nevertheless succeeded in escaping deportation and are now distinguishing themselves as guerrilla fighters in the mountainous Greek regions.

Three Greeks in Salonica, the brothers Recanatti, have been put on the list of war criminals by the Greek Government for denouncing Jews to the Gestapo, the report adds. Knowing practically every Jew in Salonica, they “told” on any Jew venturing out from hiding.

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