Rena Molho, “Problems of Incorporating the Holocaust into the Greek Collective Memory”
Tolerance of antisemitism and neo-Nazism in Greece in recent years shows that the Holocaust has not yet been incorporated into the Greek national consciousness. This could be (partly) because Greece did not commemorate the Holocaust until it became a member of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance in 2005. By reviewing the reactions of the Greek authorities and citizens in Thessaloniki, the city with 56,000 Jews which was first to face the Nazi threat in 1941, Dr. Molho will try to explain the Greek state’s sixty years delay in commemorating the murder of 62,500 Jews, or 87% of the Greek Jewish population.
Rena Molho is a Greek historian who focuses on the different aspects of Ottoman and Greek Jewish history and culture and more specifically that of the Jews of Salonika. Molho studied European history at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and received a Doctor of Philosophy with distinctions from the University of Strasbourg. She has taken part in many symposiums, television and radio programs, in Greece and abroad, and has published her research in Greek and international scientific books, encyclopedias, and journals. Her research has been supported with grants by the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture in New York City and by the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation in Los Angeles. In 1996, she acted as senior interviewer and coordinator in Greece for the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation and has videotaped seventy Greek Holocaust survivors’ personal accounts. Molho has taught the history of the Jewish presence in Greece in seminars organized by the International Study Groups, and since 1991 with a group of other historians, she co-founded the Society for the Study of Greek Jewry. For eight years, as of 1999, she taught the history of Greek Jewry at Panteion University in Athens, the first and only Greek academic institution to include the course of Jewish history in its curriculum in Greece until today. Her book The Jews of Thessaloniki, 1856–1919: A Unique Community received the Athens Academy Award in December 2000 and in 2001 it was published in Greek by Themelion Publishing. After this, it became a university handbook distributed to Greek students of Jewish history. From 2005 to 2007, she was the Greek coordinator for Centropa, a Vienna, Austria-based Jewish historical institute which conducted a new series of audio interviews of Thessaloniki-born survivors who after 1945 returned and settled in Greece. She has published a great number of academic articles in all the major European languages as well as in Greek, Hebrew, and Turkish. In 2010, she was decorated with the medal of the order of Ordre des Palmes Académiques for her contribution to the French academia. Among her latest books, Salonica-Istanbul: Social, Political and Cultural Aspects of Jewish Life (2005) comprises a collection of eighteen studies in English and French and was published by Isis Press. Her book Jewish Sites in Thessaloniki: Brief History and Guide (2009), published by Lycabettus Press in Athens, became a best-seller, and was also published in Greek (2010) and in German (2011).
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