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Allatini Dormitory, 3 Paraskevopoulou Street: Despair and Hope in Salonika after the Shoah


Published: Jun 19, 2019
Keywords:
Holocaust Camp survivor Postwar Jewish History
Henriette-Rika Benveniste
https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0071-5105
Abstract

The Jews who lived in Salonika in 1945 and who survived the extermination will of the Nazis form an exception. The article explores the life of camp survivors returning to their home city. Practical relief was mainly organised by the Jewish community. Besides mourning for the loss of entire families, economic hardship, scarcity of material resources and political insecurity were the main characteristics of those years. The article focuses on the life in a building belonging to the Jewish community, the former Allatini Orphanage, which became a “dormitory” to shelter about 60 homeless Jews, mostly camp survivors. It examines the extreme poverty, the demands, the sociability and the migration choices of men and women who depended on the community’s care. Their voices, their mourning and their thirst for a new life can be heard piercing the paperwork of the bureaucracy of a welfare system and will help us reconstruct a difficult return to “normality”.

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Author Biography
Henriette-Rika Benveniste, University of Thessaly
Henriette-Rika Benveniste is Professor of European Medieval History at the University of Thessaly. She has published several articles on the judicial archives, on the relations between Jews and Christians in the Middle Ages and on the historiography of the Holocaust. Her recent books are Από τους Βαρβάρους στους Μοντέρνους: Κοινωνική ιστορία και ιστοριογραφικά προβλήματα της μεσαιωνικής Δύσης [From the barbarians to the moderns: social history and historiography of the Middle Ages (Athens, 2007) and Αυτοί που επέζησαν: Αντίσταση, εκτόπιση, επιστροφή. Θεσσαλονικείς Εβραίοι στη δεκαετία του 1940 [Those who survived: resistance, deportation, return. Jews of Salonika in the 1940s] (2014) (in German as: Die Überlebenden. Widerstand, Deportation, Rückkehr. Juden aus Thessaloniki in den 1940er Jahren [Berlin, 2016]). Her research interests include historical anthropology of the Middle Ages, Jewish history and historiography, history of the Holocaust and postwar Jewish history.
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