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Germans at Corfu Synagogue to remember the holocaust

Corfu Synagogue
18 Oct 2017 / 10:59

CORFU.From 16 – 22 October Corfu is hosting a Greek-German workshop, «Nazi Germany’s Crimes in Greece in the Second World War».

Joint organizers are the Hellenic-German Cultural Society of Corfu, Wilde-Rose Intercultural Youth Network and the Department of Foreign Languages, Translation and Interpretation of the Ionian University.

On Tuesday 17 October, reporters from Enimerosi were present at the visit of the workshop participants to the Synagogue for a discussion on the persecution of Corfu Jews. Present at this meeting with the Israeli community of Corfu were Hans Schlumm, professor at the Ionian University, representatives of the Israeli community and the Wilde-Rose Network, the interpreter Alex Schaffner as well as local students and German citizens.
The central themes of the workshop are the heinous crimes of the Germans in Greece during the 2nd World War and the holocaust of the Corfu Jews.
It has been estimated that there were 2,000 Jews living in Corfu in 1940. A representative of the Israeli community at the meeting said that on 9 July 1944 all 2,000 were rounded up and taken to the large square in Corfu Town, where their names were recorded before being imprisoned in the British quarters at the Old Fortress. It took three journeys to transport them to the concentration camp at Auschwitz where 1,700 of them were executed! The others survived. This holocaust was perhaps the largest in Greece. It was stated at the meeting that the operation to exterminate the Corfu Jews took place just three months before the end of the war and blame was placed on the local authorities of the time for handing the 2,000 over to the Germans whereas in the Zakynthos Jewish community only 2 were taken.
It is estimated that there are approximately 60 Jews living in Corfu today who are descendants of the survivors and are completely integrated in society here. Over the last three years they have been participating in a programme of talks at schools under the auspices of the Ministry of Education.
Hans Schlumm, from the Ionian University, spoke to Enimerosi and expressed his thanks for the response to the workshop and went on to say that it will be held again next year. He gave a brief outline of the workshop programme, mentioning the talk by Giorgos Zoumbou, ‘The History of the Jews in Corfu’ on Tuesday 18.00-19.00 and that of Akis Pavloyiannis, ‘The Jewish Sports Bodies and their Social Role’ on Tuesday 19.00-20.00. These will be followed by the screening of the documentary film ‘A Song for Argyris’ 20.00-21.00. All of these are taking place in the Old Psychiatric Hospital. The talks and visits will continue on the other days and on Wednesday and Thursday will take place in Ionnina.

Shift to the far right
In answer to our question about the rise of the far right parties in the German and Austrian elections, Mr. Schlumm told us that it is a trend that exists in Europe at the moment because people are afraid of the existing political situation. So people want to return to old values and ideologies and this has led to the shift towards the far right that we are witnessing. He made it clear that it is not a neo-Nazi body, but an extremely conservative party. He didn’t hesitate, though, to express his concern about the future power of the German far right party (AfD), adding, however, that the main body of society continues to be democratic.
The same question was put to the German participants, who also referred to the trend to return to old traditions, which has come about because of the lack of trust in the other German parties. They declared that it was a surprise for the Germans that the far right had obtained such a large percentage of the vote (13%) as nobody publicly expresses their support for the nazi movements.
The meeting ended with the presentation of a book from the Wilde Rose representative to a representative from the Israeli community as a token of their gratitude for the hospitality and the meeting. 

For photos click here