Greeks who survived Holocaust as children speak out after decades of silence

Some 83% of Jews in Greece, about 59,000 people, were murdered by Nazis but their story is little known

“I celebrated my seventh birthday inside the camp of Bergen-Belsen with a piece of bread and sticks for candles,” recalls 83-year-old Lola Angel, one of the few Greek Jews left to remember the horror of the Nazi concentration camps.

“I was just three when I had to hide,” says Nina Camhi, who is 80. “But I still remember the fear.”

Approximately 83 percent of Greek Jews, nearly 59,000 people, were exterminated when the country was occupied by Nazi Germany in 1941-1944.

Most of them came from Thessaloniki, which until then had a prosperous Jewish community dating back to the 15th century, and was known as the Jerusalem of the Balkans.

Nina and Lola are among survivors who have not spoken until now. Because they were so young at the time, they felt it was not their place to speak. But 75 years after the end of World War II, they finally feel ready to pass on their stories to the next generation.

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Read more: Times of Israel