Monday, June 4, 2018
Greece: A Jewish History K. E. Fleming Princeton University Press 2008 271 Pages $35.00 ISBN: 978-0-691-10272-6
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.