Greece: A Jew­ish History

K. E. Fleming
  • Review
By – January 30, 2012

With this inno­v­a­tive, sound­ly researched work Pro­fes­sor K.E. Flem­ing has filled a long-stand­ing need for the sto­ry of Greek Jew­ry to be told fully.

Flem­ing begins her his­to­ry with Greek inde­pen­dence (1820’s). At that time Jews in the area felt a nation­al­is­tic devo­tion to their ances­tral reli­gious iden­ti­ty, whether it was Roman­iote, Sephardic, or Ashke­nazi. Flem­ing traces the process by which they began to feel Greek.” Then came the Ger­man inva­sion and the hor­rors of the Holo­caust, in which 85% of Greek Jew­ry perished.

With unspar­ing hon­esty Flem­ing describes the post-war years — the half-heart­ed wel­come home for sur­vivors; the scram­ble for Jew­ish prop­er­ty; and the final insult— hav­ing Greek Holo­caust suf­fer­ing ignored by West­ern co-religionists. 

There are only 5,000 Jews in Greece today. In an inter­est­ing depar­ture, the author vis­its Greek Jew­ish com­mu­ni­ties in the Unit­ed States and Israel. There, iron­i­cal­ly, many have devel­oped a firmer sense of Greek Jew­ish iden­ti­ty than their fore­bears ever had in their home­land. Bib­li­o­graph­i­cal notes, his­tor­i­cal map index, photographs.

Jane Waller­stein worked in pub­lic rela­tions for many years. She is the author of Voic­es from the Pater­son Silk Mills and co-author of a nation­al crim­i­nal jus­tice study of parole for Rut­gers University.

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