ATHENS (Nov. 15)
A book published by the Greek government on the history of Greek Jews includes documents from postwar talks between the Allies and Switzerland on plundered Nazi gold.
The book, “Documents on the History of the Greek Jews,” published in English, is based on 159 of the ministry’s files relating to the rich cultural, economic and political activities of Greek Jews and to their suffering during the Holocaust.
The Foreign Ministry will ship 25 crates full of archival documents to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington for study. Both the book and the documents will be used at a December conference in Washington on Holocaust-era assets.
The documents include official dispatches from Greek diplomats who attended talks held after the war between the Allies and the Swiss government on Nazi funds held in its banks, which led to the 1946 Washington Agreement under which Switzerland agreed to return $58 million in looted gold.
“We come to the real problem that the appearance of this volume punctures like a lance in the boil of denial. Nazis expropriated, exploited then killed the Jews. But after the war, who got the loot?” asked Steven Bowman, a professor of Judaic studies at the University of Cincinnati, who helped compile the English- language volume.
Bowman said the book contains many previously unpublished official documents that languished in the Foreign Ministry archives until three years ago.
Greece is one of the only countries that gave back to the remaining Jewish community all the property that belonged to Jews before the war. Some 85 percent of the country’s prewar Jewish population of 80,000 perished in Nazi death camps.