December 10, 2015 [St. Petersburg, FL] — The Florida Holocaust Museum today revealed plans for Synagonistis: Greek Jews in the National Resistance, an exhibition about the Greek Jews who escaped Nazi forces and joined Greece’s resistance movements during the Holocaust. The exhibition opens December 12 and runs through February 3, 2016.
“During Hanukkah, when Jewish families throughout the world remember that Greek-Syrian King Antiochus outlawed Judaism and celebrate the Maccabee’s victorious battle to take back the Jewish Temple, it feels especially timely to have this exhibition honoring the Greek Jews who joined the National Resistance to fight so bravely against Nazi forces who also sought to create a world without Jews,” says Elizabeth Gelman, Executive Director of The Florida Holocaust Museum.
Following a 6-month war on the Albanian front, Nazi Germany invaded Greece on April 6, 1941. The country was occupied and divided by Germany, Italy and Bulgaria until they were fully liberated with the end of the war in Europe in May 1945. During the occupation, the Holocaust claimed the lives of approximately 62,000 Greek Jews – 82 percent of the prewar population. Of the few Greek Jews who escaped Axis forces, 650 men and women were able to join Greece’s resistance movements. Synagonistis shares their stories.
“We are very pleased to partner with the Embassy of Greece, the Consulate General of Greece in Tampa, and the Jewish Museum of Greece to bring this rarely told story to a larger audience,” continues Gelman. “Most people do not realize the extent of damage the Nazis did to Greece, particularly to its Jewish population.”
One of the resistance fighters included in the exhibition is Sara Yeshua, who was well regarded by her fellow resistance fighters as a passionate speaker advocating for armed struggle against the occupation forces, particularly among young women.
In the exhibition, an American journalist reporting from occupied Evia devoted a paragraph to Sara in an article about the Greek partisans: “She’s a short, stocky girl with dark hair and blue eyes. She runs like a man and can shoot a walnut from a tree at 200 yards. Whether she is calling out marching orders or pounding out a beat with her arm as her Company goes singing down a mountain path, she does it vibrantly and proudly.”
Sara formed an independent female resistance group that fought and gathered intelligence. By the end of the war, she was legendary among the partisans of Evia, Greece, as “Kapetanissa Sarika” (Partisan Leader Sara).
Synagonistis: Greek Jews in the National Resistance is a traveling exhibition of the Jewish Museum of Greece with the generous contribution of the Greek Secretariat General of Communication and the American Friends of the Jewish Museum of Greece. It is made possible by support from the Embassy of Greece and the Consulate General of Greece in Tampa.
The exhibition will be on display at The Florida Holocaust Museum from December 12, 2015 to February 3, 2016.
About The Florida Holocaust Museum
The Florida Holocaust Museum honors the memory of millions of innocent men, women and children who suffered or died in the Holocaust. The Museum is dedicated to teaching members of all races and cultures the inherent worth and dignity of human life in order to prevent future genocides.