Greeks helped Jews fleeing from NazisI very much enjoyed...

The Forum

July 24, 1995

Greeks helped Jews fleeing from Nazis

I very much enjoyed Scott Ponemone's poignant article on the various Jewish communities throughout the world (July 9, "A Search for Jewish Culture").

However, I would like to take issue with his speculation that the destruction of the Jewish community in Salonika may have resulted from the indifference on the part of the Greek people, and that it was perhaps welcomed by the Greek Orthodox Church for political reasons.

My source for a different historical perspective is the guide of the small Jewish museum in Athens, which I visited a number of years ago on a trip sponsored by the American Jewish Congress.

According to our guide, when the Nazis arrived in Northern Greece there was not yet an awareness, among Jews or non-Jews, that deportation meant death.

When Jews were transported from the area, they believed the Nazi lie that they were being taken to labor camps. It was also very easy for members of this community to be identified, as their dress and accents were distinctive.

By the time the Germans arrived in Southern Greece, there was general understanding of the reality of the Holocaust, and a concerted rescue effort was made which saved many Jews.

Although the penalty for aiding Jewish rescue was death, Archbishop Papandreou Damaskinos ordered his clergy to shelter those in need.

Police provided Jews with false identification papers, and many Greek Orthodox families took in Jewish children and pretended that they were their own. Our guide was herself rescued in this way.

This history is referenced in Eva Fogelman's book, "Conscience and Courage: Rescues of Jews During the Holocaust," and undoubtedly can be researched in many other sources.

While there is no doubt that the history of Europe is filled with a tragic and shameful heritage of anti-Semitism, I think we must always be careful not to make assumptions about any particular community which might not be accurate.

Bonnie Rachel Hurwitz


Killer cars

If no one heeds your editorial warning (July 1) about raising the speed limit to 65 miles per hour, and more fatalities are the result, The Sun might want to consider rejecting all advertisements for the sale of automobiles.

We've got to get those killer cars out of the hands of citizens!

R. D. Bush


Unsung heroes

I had the heart-breaking experience recently of saying goodbye to my closest friend, a little stray dog I found on my lawn 14 years ago.

I had planned to adopt another dog that needed a home, so I visited four Baltimore County shelters and two Baltimore City shelters. I found Dolly at the Baltimore City Municipal Animal Shelter.

Baltimore City gets a lot of criticism, especially from Baltimore County residents (of whom I am one) who often never visit the city except to take in the tourist attractions. But the city can be proud of its animal care.

The staff who run the shelter should be commended by Mayor Kurt Schmoke for providing the cleanest, most efficient and most caring of all the places I visited.

The front office personnel, the custodial staff, the "vet-techs" and the caretakers who deal directly with the "tenants" were uniformly helpful and totally committed to finding homes where the adoptees would be loved and well cared for.

So hats off to the often unsung heroes who give their time and affection to potential animal friends.

Jean C. Sisk


The smell

Two newspaper items caught my attention. One, in The Baltimore Sun, described the preparations in Annapolis to impress America's corporate leaders who were attending the Forbes business conference.

The other, an editorial in the Wall Street Journal, deplored the last Maryland governor's election, which it described as being so "tainted by fraud" that it should be re-run.

You can be sure that most of the corporate executives coming to Annapolis read the Wall Street Journal editorial, leaving them with a sour taste for Maryland, despite the promotional gimmicks of state and local officials.

With the smell of the "tainted" election so strong that it even reaches the far-away editorial offices of the Wall Street Journal, why is it that not even a whiff can be detected in The Sun's offices, which are sitting right on top of the smell?

Peter J. Woytowitz


Listen to the radio

Opponents to a curfew law, such as Councilman Carl Stokes, have outdone themselves with the latest and lamest of reasons for their negative position.

Does the lack of air-conditioning really justify disruptive, delinquent and criminal behavior on the streets?

Perhaps Mr. Stokes and others who think along those lines could, and should, introduce the young to survival techniques of past generations that were "deprived" of air-conditioning during the sweltering summer nights.

We entertained and amused ourselves with a variety of non-violent, non-destructive activities such as the "now taken for granted" radio, television, books and games as well as the ever elusive, almost extinct, verbal interchanges with friends and family.

Sally Miller

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