Global, Identity

Jewish in Greece: An Update

Last week I posted here about my brush with antisemitism in Greece. Since then, my personal site has gotten some interesting comments from non-Jewish Greeks. I’m sharing part of the debate here:
From “Vasilios”
It is not anti semitism so much , it is maybe however that jews tried to undermind our government someway some years that maybe the reason..Greece is a country of history and tradition. these things are important to 90 % if not all of greek people.Not to mention our close relation to palestine and syria..there a number of factors that play a role(in relation i do not mean politicallly i mean bloodline..oh did i forgot to mention lebenon…..hmmmmm maybe that alone might make most people dislike you think that a jew can go anywhere in the world he chooses and be liked ..if i go somewhere and someone doesnt like me cause of my nationality must i go back to my country and cry about it make a fuss…..Greeks were massacared by the turks for 400 years nobody bringsd it up in the usa…in world war we beat the italians and held hitler for 30 days when the us and allied troops couldnt hold them for a relatives from the 1900’s died so that your people could be free and take a country that doesnt belong to them And cause more problems … if you are disliked a little deal with it like other people of different races deal for different reasons.
From “Tramountanas”
Fortunately, not all greek people or people of Greek or whatever descent have similar views to Vasilios and if that is the prevalent attitude then another Vasili I once met who changed his name to Lucky for another reason is lucky in deed to be away from it.
Vasili, I hardly think Lilit is making a fuss about it and sure there have been all sort of persecutions of different races and religions throughout history and the world would be a far better place if people were able to appraise oneanother for who they are as a person without bias.
It is unfortunate in deed Lilit that there can be problems for Jewish people in travelling, but no doubt you will remember well the good things about your travels.
I only recently found out of my own Greek/mixed heritage, an ancestor doing a name change along the way and also feel I might as well change my name to Lucky for not having an attitude passed along to me.
Travel well.

5 thoughts on “Jewish in Greece: An Update

  1. Perhaps Zakynthos would be the place to go. Quoting Wikipedia:
    The 275 Jews of the island of Zakynthos, however, survived the Holocaust. When the island’s mayor, Career, was presented with the German order to hand over a list of Jews, Bishop Chrysostomos returned to the Germans with a list of two names; his and the mayor’s. The island’s population hid every member of the Jewish community. When the island suffered from an earthquake in 1953, the first relief came from the state of Israel, with a message that read “The Jews of Zakynthos have never forgotten their Mayor or their beloved Bishop and what they did for us.”

  2. to Tramountanas,
    Can you explain to me exactly what a greek jew is,do you know greek history ,do you know anything about greece can you name which of the previos Greek prime ministers had jewish ties (without use the google).Do you know the connection between greeks and palestinians,Tell me what you know about ellada file mou?

  3. If you’re going to travel in Europe, chances are you meet antisemites (though they may not be open about it). Don’t be scared though. Just keep in well lighted areas and all that good travel safety stuff to reduce the chances of people doing anything to you, and other than that, don’t worry. Take precaution, trust in Hashem, but don’t worry.

  4. Just my two cents.
    The symbolic burning of Judas (not ‘the Jew’) on Easter Sunday is officially frowned on by the Greek Orthodox church. There have been several announcements from the Archbishop over the years instructing parishes to refrain from the practice. But of course it continues.
    I saw it once on the island of Hydra. There’s a crude scaffold erected on the school football pitch, a dummy hangs there dressed in a red robe, with a big black beard, big nose, his eyes are crossed, his tongue sticks out, he looks like a contemptible fool. All through the Easter holiday week, there are thousands of firecrackers going off, occasionally somebody detonates something bigger. In the moments leading up to the burning, they start blowing entire sticks of dynamite. At some point, a few village guys approach the scaffold with antique firearms (circa 1821 or so) and let off a few rounds at the Judas figure. Eventually it catches fire, and burns, and that’s basically all that happens.
    Yes, it made me sick to see all the village children laughing and cheering at a human figure burning on a scaffold. But it is unfair and inaccurate to call it a purely anti-semitic ritual – it is unmistakably pagan. Most customs of the Greek Orthodox church are pagan. On other holidays I’ve seen a parade of people prancing through Hydra’s streets in full transvestite outfits, huge phalluses, etc. Before Judas, the people burned other effigies symbolizing the cleansing of evil from the community. It’s important to see this ritual in a Greek/Balkan/Anatolian cultural context – not in the context of the Holocaust, or Northern/Eastern European pogroms and blood libels. It was an elementary step for the Christians to transform pagan rituals to fit another narrative, they’ve done it throughout the world, and it’s important to remember that the Catholic and Orthodox churches’ evolutions have been very different.
    It is undeniable that there are strong anti-semitic currents running through the Greek Orthodox church. However, if it makes anybody here feel better, the Greek Orthodox church doesn’t really like anybody – you should hear what’s said about Muslims, Catholics, Freemasons, Americans.
    The last thing I’ll say is the vast majority of Greeks could not care less if somebody’s Jewish or not. Zodiac signs – now that’s the real question.

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