ATHENS (JTA) — A hall at the French Institute of Salonika was dedicated to the late historian and intellectual Joseph Nehama.
Nehama, a Salonika native who survived the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, was a prolific writer, focusing mostly on Jewish life in the Greek city of his birth. His most important work was the seven-volume "History of the Jews of Salonika." He also wrote a full dictionary of the Judeo-Spanish language Ladino that was published in 1968. Nehama died in 1971.
The hall, renovated with the support of the Jewish community of Salonika, will be used for lectures, seminars, screenings and other cultural events. The 104-year-old French Institute is an integral part of the cultural and intellectual life of the city.
“It is difficult to find a person whose work and personality reflects the contribution throughout the centuries of our community in Salonika and the bond that has been created between the Jews and the French culture," said David Saltiel, the president of the Salonika Jewish community.
Also on hand for the dedication ceremony were French Ambassador Christophe Farnaud; France’s consul general in Salonika, Christian Thimonier; and the director of the French Institute of Salonika, Julien Chiappone-Luchesi.
In 1926, Nehama and a former student founded the Bank Union, which went on to become one of the largest banks in Salonika.