| More

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

Henriette-Rika Benveniste (http://orcid.org/0000-0003-0071-5105)
Henriette-Rika Benveniste


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”.


Holocaust; Camp survivor; Postwar Jewish History

Full Text:



Aly, Götz. Into the Tunnel: The Brief Life of Marion Samuel, 1931–1943. New York: Metropolitan Books; Henry Holt, 2007.

Ampatzopoulou, Fragiski. Το ολοκαύτωμα στις μαρτυρίες των Ελλήνων Εβραίων [The Holocaust in the testimonies of Greek Jews]. Salonika: Paratiritis, 1993.

Appelfeld, Aharon. “Individualization of the Holocaust.” In Holocaust Chronicles: Individualizing the Holocaust through Diaries and other Contemporaneous Personal Accounts, edited byRobert Moses Shapiro (Hoboken: KTAV, 1999), 1–9.

Auslander, Leora. “Coming Home? Jews in Postwar Paris,” Journal of Contemporary History 40, no. 2 (2005): 237–59.

Azouvi, Philippe. Le mythe du grand silence: Auschwitz, les Français, la mémoire. Paris: Fayard, 2012.

Bankier, David, ed. The Jews are Coming Back: The Return of the Jews to their Countries of Origin after WWII. New York: Berghahn; Jerusalem: Yad Vashem, 2005.

Bea Lewkowicz, “‘After the War we were all Together: Jewish Memories of Postwar Thessaloniki.” In After the War was Over: Reconstructing the Family, Nation, and State in Greece, 1943–1960, edited by Mark Mazower, 247–72. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000.

Ben Mayor, Ya’akov. “Ha hayim be Saloniki aharei hashoah: mabat ishi” [Life in Salonica after the Holocaust: a personal view]. In Yavan: Kehilot Israel be Mizrah be Meot hatishaesre ve eserim [Greece: Jewish communities in the east in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries], edited by Eyal Ginio, 399–404. Jerusalem: Hebrew University, 2014.

Benveniste, Rika. Die Überlebenden: Widerstand, Deportation, Rückkehr. Juden aus Thessaloniki in den 1940er Jahren. Berlin: Romiosini, 2016.

Benveniste, Rika. Αυτοί που επέζησαν: Εκτόπιση, αντίσταση, επιστροφή. Θεσσαλονικείς Εβραίοι στη δεκαετία του 1940 [Those who survived: resistance, deportation, return; Thessaloniki Jews in the 1940s. Athens: Polis, 2014.

Benveniste, Rika.Λούνα: Δοκίμιο ιστορικής βιογραφίας [Luna: an essay of historical biography]. Athens: Polis, 2017.

Bessel, Richard, and Dirk Schumann, eds. Life after Death: Approaches to a Cultural and Social History During the 1940s and 1950. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Beze, Eleni. “Εβραίοι αριστεροί και σιωνιστές στη μεταπολεμική Ελλάδα” [Leftist and Zionist Jews in postwar Greece]. In Εβραϊκές Κοινότητες ανάμεσα σε Ανατολή και Δύση, 15ος–20ος αιώνας: Οικονομία, κοινωνία, πολιτική, πολιτισμός [Jewish communities between East and West, 15th–20th centuries: economy, society, politics, culture], edited by Anna Mahaira and Lida Papastefanaki, 345–57. Ioannina: Isnafi, 2015.

Biess, Frank, and Robert G. Moeller, eds. Histories of the Aftermath: The Legacies of the Second World War in Europe. New York: Berghahn, 2010.

Browning, Christopher R. “Survivor Testimonies from Starchowice: Writing the History of a Factory Slave Labour Camp,” Collected Memories: Holocaust History and Post War Testimony, 37–59. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2003.

Cesarani, David. Final Solution: The Fate of the Jews, 1933–49. London: Macmillan, 2016.

Chandrinos, Jason. “Για να μην πλουτίσουν άδικα σε βάρος των Εβραίων…: Η διαχείριση των εβραϊκών περιουσιών της Θεσσαλονίκης και οι γερμανο-ελληνικές εμπορικές συναλλαγές, 1943–1944” [“Don’t let them get rich at the expense of the Jews”: the management of Jewish properties of Salonika and the German-Greek commercial relationships, 1943–1944]. In Την επαύριον του Ολοκαυτώματος/The Day After the Holocaust, edited by Evanghelos Chekimoglou and Anna Maria Droumpouki, 166–74. Thessaloniki: Jewish Museum of Greece, 2017.

Chekimoglou, Evanghelos, and Anna Maria Droumpouki, eds. Την επαύριον του Ολοκαυτώματος/The Day After the Holocaust. Thessaloniki: Jewish Museum of Greece, 2017.

Chekimoglou, Evanghelos. “Concerning the Rebuilding of the Jewish Community in Thessaloniki (1944–1946).” In Την επαύριον του Ολοκαυτώματος/The Day After the Holocaust, edited by Evanghelos Chekimoglou and Anna Maria Droumpouki, 55–64. Thessaloniki: Jewish Museum of Greece, 2017.

Chekimoglou, Evanghelos. “Jewish Pauperism in Salonica, 1940–1941.” In The Last Ottoman Century and Beyond: The Jews in Turkey and the Balkans, 1808–1945, vol. 2, edited by Minna Rozen, 195–2005. Tel Aviv: Tel-Aviv University, 2002.

Dellopoulou, Hari. “1945: Οι πρώτες δίκες δοσιλόγων-καταδοτών Εβραίων στο Ειδικό Δικαστήριο Αθηνών: μια ιδιότυπη πηγή πληροφοριών” [The first Jewish collaborators-traitors trials in the Special Court of Athens: a particular source]. Ta Istorika 62 (2015): 189–200.

Dellopoulou, Hari. “Περιπτώσεις εφαρμογής του νόμου 1180/1944 «Περί τρόπου διαχειρίσεως των κατεχομένων ισραηλιτικών περιουσιών» στο Ειδικό Δικαστήριο Αθηνών (1945–1947)” [Some cases of the application of Law 1180/1944 “Regarding the management of occupied Jewish properties”]. In Την επαύριον του Ολοκαυτώματος/The Day After the Holocaust, edited by Evanghelos Chekimoglou and Anna Maria Droumpouki, 140–52. Thessaloniki: Jewish Museum of Greece, 2017.

Dordanas, Stratos. “Εξόντωση και λεηλασία: Η Υπηρεσία Διαχειρήσεως Ισραηλιτικών Περιουσιών (ΥΔΙΠ)” [Annihilation and plundering: the Jewish Properties Management Service (YDIP)]. In Το Ολοκαύτωμα στα Βαλκάνια [The Holocaust in the Balkans], edited by Giorgos Antoniou, Stratos Dordanas et al., 331–52. Thessaloniki: Epikentro, 2011.

Dordanas, Stratos. Η γερμανική στολή στη ναφθαλίνη: Επιβιώσεις του δοσιλογισμού στη Μακεδονία 1945–1974 [The German uniform in mothballs: collaborationism’s survival in Macedonia, 1945–1974]. Athens: Estia, 2011.

Droumpouki, Anna Maria. “Ο αγώνας για την αποκατάσταση των εβραϊκών ελληνικών κοινοτήτων μέσα από τα γερμανικά αρχεία” [The struggle for the rehabilitation of Jewish Greek Communities through the German archives]. In Την επαύριον του Ολοκαυτώματος/The Day After the Holocaust, edited by Evanghelos Chekimoglou and Anna Maria Droumpouki, 175–87. Thessaloniki: Jewish Museum of Greece, 2017.

Duchaine-Guillon, Laurence. La vie juive à Berlin après 1945. Paris: CNRS, 2012.

Etmektsoglou, Gabriella. “Το Ολοκαύτωμα των Ελλήνων Εβραίων” [The Holocaust of Greek Jews]. In Ιστορία της Ελλάδος του 20ου αιώνα: Β’ Παγκόσμιος Πόλεμος 1940–1945. Κατοχή–Αντίσταση [History of Greece in the 20th century: Second World War, 1940–1945; occupation–resistance], edited by Christos Hadziiossif and Prokopis Papastratis, vol. 3.1, . 189–94. Athens: Vivliorama, 2007.

Feinstein, Margarete Myers. “Jewish Observance in Amalek’s Shadow: Mourning, Marriage and Birth Rituals among Displaced Persons in Germany.” In “We are Here”: New Approaches to Jewish Displaced Persons in Post-war Germany, edited by Aviroam Patt and Michael Berkowitz, 257–88. Detroit: Wayne University Press, 2010.

Fogg, Shannon L. Stealing Home: Looting, Restitution, and Reconstructing Jewish Lives in France, 1942–1947. Oxford: Oxford University Press 2016.

Geller, Jay Howard. Jews in Post-Holocaust Germany, 1945–1953. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

Grossman, Atina. Jews, Germans, and Allies: Close Encounters in Occupied Germany (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2007.

Grynberg, Anne. “Des signes de résurgence de l’antisémitisme dans la France de l’après-guerre (1945–1953)?.” Les Cahiers de la Shoah 1, no. 5 (2001): 171–223.

Haidia, Eleni. “The Punishment of Collaborators in Northern Greece, 1945–1946.” In After the War was Over: Reconstructing the Family, Nation, and State in Greece, 1943–1960, edited by Mark Mazower, 42–61. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000.

Hand, Sean, and Steven Katz, eds. Post-Holocaust France and the Jews, 1945–1955. New York: New York University Press, 2015.

Hantzaroula, Pothiti. “Memory as a Form of Public Sociability of Jewish Child Survivors in Postwar Thessaloniki.” Oral History Forum d’Histoire Orale 34 (2014): 1–19.

Hantzaroula, Pothiti. “The Children’s Experiences of the Holocaust: Memory and Identity in Post-war Greece,” Holocaust: Studii şi Cercetări 7, no. 1 (2015): 217–39.

Hobson-Faure, Laura. Un “plan Marshall juif”: La présence juive américaine en France après la Shoah, 1944–1954. Paris: Armand Colin, 2013.

Hondius, Dienke. Return: Holocaust Survivors and Dutch Anti-Semitism. Westport: Praeger, 2003.

Jablonka, Ivan. Histoire des grands-parents que je n’ai pas eus. Paris: Seuil, 2012.

Judt, Tony. Postwar. A History of Europe since 1945. London: Penguin, 2005.

Kavala, Maria, and Kostis Kornetis, “Ο ελληνικός κρατικός μηχανισμός και η διαχείριση των εβραϊκών περιουσιών της Θεσσαλονίκης” [The Greek state machinery and the management of Jewish properties in Salonika]. In Την επαύριον του Ολοκαυτώματος/The Day After the Holocaust, edited by Evanghelos Chekimoglou and Anna Maria Droumpouki, 125–39. Thessaloniki: Jewish Museum of Greece, 2017.

Kavala, Maria. “Jewish Marriages in Thessaloniki after the Return (1945–1955).” Paper presented at the workshop “Jewish Life after the Return: Dutch and Greek Experiences after the Shoah,” Netherlands Institute at Athens, 10–11 December 2016.

Kounio-Amariglio, Erika, and Alberto Nar. Προφορικές μαρτυρίες Εβραίων της Θεσσαλονίκης για το Ολοκαύτωμα [Oral testimonies of Jews of Salonika on the Holocaust], edited by Fragiski Ampatzopoulou. Thessaloniki: Paratiritis, 1998.

Kousouris, Dimitris. Δίκες των Δοσίλογων (1944–1949): Δικαιοσύνη, συνέχεια του κράτους και εθνική μνήμη [Trials of the collaborators, 1944–1949: justice, state continuity and national memory]. Athens: Polis, 2014.

Králová, Kateřina. “In the Shadow of the Nazi Past: Post-war Reconstruction and the Claims of the Jewish Community in Salonika.” European History Quarterly 46, no. 2 (2016): 262–90.

Lagrou, Pieter. “Return to a Vanished World: European Societies and the Remnants of their Jewish Communities.” In The Jews are Coming Back: The Return of the Jews to their Countries of Origin after WWII, edited by David Bankier, 1–24. New York: Berghahn; Jerusalem: Yad Vashem, 2005

Lagrou, Pieter.The Legacy of Nazi Occupation: Patriotic Memory and National Recovery in Western Europe, 1945–1965. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

Lebow, Richard Ned, Wulf Kansteiner and Claudio Fogu, eds. The Politics of Memory in Postwar Europe. Durham: Duke University Press, 2006.

Lewkowicz, Bea. The Jewish Community of Salonika: History, Memory, Identity. London: Vallentine Mitchell 2006.

Mariot, Nicolas, and Claire Zalc, Face à la persecution: 991 juifs dans la guerre. Paris: Odile Jacob, 2010.

Mazower, Mark. “The Cold War and the Appropriation of Memory: Greece after Liberation.” In The Politics of Retribution in Europe: World War II and its Aftermath, edited by Istvan Deak, Jan T. Gross and Tony Judt, 212–32. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000.

Mazower, Mark. “Οι συνέπειες του διωγμού των Εβραίων για την πόλη της Θεσσαλονίκης” [The consequences of the persecutions of Jews for the city of Salonika]. In Οι Εβραίοι της Ελλάδας στην Κατοχή [The Jews of Greece during the Occupation], edited by Rika Benveniste, 53–61. Thessaloniki: Vanias, 1998.

Mazower, Mark. Salonica, City of Ghosts: Christians, Muslims and Jews. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2005.

Michman, Dan. “La definition du concept de sheerit hapleita et son incidence sur les processus historiques consécutifs à la shoah.” Pour une historiographie de la Shoah: Conceptualisations, terminologie, définitions et problèmes fondamentaux, 395–99. Paris: In Press, 2001.

Molho, Michael, and Joseph Nehama. In memoriam: hommage aux victimes juives des Nazis en Grèce. Salonika: Communauté Juive de Salonique, 1948.

Molho, Rena. “Το πρόβλημα της ανασυγκρότησης της κοινότητας και το ζήτημα των λεηλατηθεισών εβραϊκών περιουσιών μετά την Απελευθέρωση” [The problem of the reconstruction of the community and the issue of the plundered Jewish properties after the liberation]. In Το Ολοκαύτωμα των Ελλήνων Εβραίων: Μελέτες ιστορίας και μνήμης [The Holocaust of Greek Jews: studies in history and memory], , 74–87. Athens: Patakis, 2015.

Molho, Rena. Οι Εβραίοι της Θεσσαλονίκης 1856–1919: Μια ιδιαίτερη κοινότητα [The Jews of Salonika, 1856–1919: A particular community]. Athens: Themelio, 2001.

Patrikiou, Alexandra. “Το ζήτημα των εβραϊκών περιουσιών στο Ισραηλιτικόν Βήμα της Θεσσαλονίκης (1945–1947) [The question of the Jewish properties in the Jewish Tribune in Salonika (1945–1947)]. In Την επαύριον του Ολοκαυτώματος/The Day After the Holocaust, edited by Evanghelos Chekimoglou and Anna Maria Droumpouki, 153–65. Thessaloniki: Jewish Museum of Greece, 2017.

Rousso, Henry. Le syndrome de Vichy (1944–198...). Paris: Seuil, 1987.

Rozen, Minna. “The Jewish Community of Salonika, 1912–1941: Organizational Patterns.” Archeion Analekta, 2nd ser. (2016): 307–67.

Schiby, Yakov, and Carina Lampsa. Η ζωή απ’ την αρχή: Η μετανάστευση των Ελλήνων Εβραίων στην Παλαιστίνη (1945–1948) [Life from the beginning: the emigration of Greek Jews to Palestine, 1945–1948. Αthens: Alexandria, 2010.

Stone, Dan. Goodbye to All that? The Story of Europe since 1945. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Stone, Dan. The Liberation of the Camps: The End of the Holocaust and its Aftermath. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2015.

Tzafleris, Nikos. “Rebuilding the Jewish communities after the Holocaust: the Relief Program of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee in Postwar Greece.” Historein 18, no. 2 (2018).

Varon-Vassard, Odette. Ανάδυση μιας δύσκολης μνήμης: Κείμενα για τη γενοκτονία των Εβραίων [The emergence of a difficult memory: texts on the Jewish genocide]. Athens: Estia, 2012.

Weinberg, David. Recovering a Voice: West European Jewry After the Holocaust. Liverpool: Littman Library of Jewish Civilization, 2015.

Wieviorka, Annette. Déportation et génocide: Entre mémoire et l’oubli. Paris: Plon, 1992.

Zalc, Claire, Tal Bruttman and Ivan Ermakoff, eds. Pour une Microhistoire de la Shoah. Paris: Seuil, 2012.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2019 Henriette-Rika Benveniste

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.