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The Agony of Greek Jews, 1940-1945$
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Steven B. Bowman

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780804755849

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804755849.001.0001

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How a Remnant Survived

How a Remnant Survived

(p.113) Seven How a Remnant Survived
The Agony of Greek Jews, 1940-1945
Stanford University Press

The Greek Jews who were sent to the Auschwitz and Birkenau concentration camps resorted to various forms of active resistance against the guards in order to survive. They relied on their skills, cultures, and languages to save themselves or others. The Sephardim, for example, had an ancestral Spanish language and culture that allowed them to interact with the Spanish prisoners they encountered. The Romaniots spoke Greek, while others spoke French, German, or Hebrew. The Greek Jews' experience differed from that of other Jewish nationalities in the camps. The prisoners with the best chance to survive were those whom the Nazis wanted to keep alive for their own purposes. Aside from camp location, two other primary factors in the potential survival of a prisoner were work assignment and length of internment. Survival strategies commonly employed by Greek Jews and other national groups who were sent to the camps were reliance on ethnic solidarity. mutual support, determination to survive, and luck, and are often mentioned in the memoirs of Greek survivors.

Keywords:   Jews, Auschwitz, Birkenau, concentration camps, survival, survivors, languages, culture, ethnic solidarity, Nazis

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