Το πάνελ του Εργαστηρίου στο διεθνές συνέδριο “Jews in the Balkans: History, Religion, Culture” (8-10 Μαΐου 2017, University of Split, Croatia)

Greek Jewry in the post-Shoah era

The panel is informed by the unmistakable interest shown by scholars in Europe and the US on the post-Shoah history of Diaspora Jews. It also draws on the work of a small number of colleagues engaged in the study of Greek Jewry, who in recent years have moved beyond the theme of the deportation and murder of more than 80% of the country’s pre-war Jewish element to examine various aspects of what has been conveniently coined as the “difficult return”: community reconstruction, the moral and material vindication of survivors, the formation of subjectivities, issues of remembrance, etc.

The “travails” of the historical subject, collectively and in some instances at an individual level, run through our four papers. Cognizant that we could not cover every single aspect of the “difficult return” and its aftermath, the decision to choose theme X and not Y or Z was predicated on one’s own research interests; on the constructive challenge of studying hitherto largely unchartered waters; and, crucially, on what the Greek Jews themselves considered of utmost importance in real time as well as subsequently.

Another thread that brings together the four papers is the evidentiary material on which they are based. We have made a conscious effort to eschew from studying Greek Jewry principally through the mediated discourses of international Jewish organisations, such as Joint, or those of Greek officials, be it at a national and local level, or those of non-Greek and non-Jewish agents. Useful and illuminating as such documentary evidence undoubtedly can be, it is obvious that even if one only wants to draw the contours of what it meant to be a Jew in post-Shoah Greece the thorough study of Greek-Jewish sources is a sine qua non. And, of course, we want to bring to the forefront the wide gamut of Greek-Jewish voices on Greek-Jewish matters. To this effect, we have made profitable use of the archives of the Jewish communities of Salonika and Athens; of the archive of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece; of the Greek-Jewish Press; and of oral testimonies.

Philip Carabott: Greek Jewry in dire straits