People march from the old train station in the Greek northern town of Thessaloniki, during a Holocaust anniversary in 2015

Russia to return pre-war Jewish archives to Greece

Local Jewish council says among plundered items by Nazis are books and religious artifacts from 30 synagogues, libraries and communal institutions in Thessaloniki alone, which was home to one of the largest Jewish populations in Europe

AFP |
Published: 12.09.21, 16:34
Russia will return to Greece the pre-World War II archives of Jewish communities that were stolen by Nazi forces, the country's Jewish council said Thursday.
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  • "Our history returns home," the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KISE) said in a statement.
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    People march from the old train station in the Greek northern town of Thessaloniki, during a Holocaust anniversary
    People march from the old train station in the Greek northern town of Thessaloniki, during a Holocaust anniversary
    People march from the old train station in the Greek northern town of Thessaloniki, during a Holocaust anniversary in 2015
    (Photo: AP)
    KISE said Nazi forces in July 1942 had plundered archives, books and religious artifacts from 30 Synagogues, libraries and communal institutions in Thessaloniki alone, which at the time was home to one of the largest Jewish populations in Europe.
    They were transferred to Moscow after the Red Army took Berlin in May 1945.
    "Their restitution would mean justice and would transmit knowledge about a part of the Greek people that contributed to the progress of the country and no longer exists, that of the 60,000 Greek Jews who were deported to and exterminated in the Nazi death camps," the board said.
    The northern port town's Jewish community traces its lineage back to 200 BCE when the region was under the control of the Roman Republic.
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    Thessaloniki's main synagogue
    Thessaloniki's main synagogue
    Thessaloniki's main synagogue
    (Photo: Tali Farkash)
    The arrangement was announced Wednesday during a visit to Moscow by Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.
    No date for the return was given.
    The archives had until now been stored among Russian military files and Greece had sought their return for decades, Mitsotakis' office said.
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