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Testimony regarding the Jews of Salonika

The Deportation of the Jews from Salonika

Testimony of Itzchak Nechama – Selected Extracts

 Eichmann Trial Jerusalem 1961

(Selected Extracts)

 

 

Itzchak Nechama on the witness stand

State Attorney Bar-Or: Where were you born Mr. Nechama?

 

Witness Nechama: In Salonika, in 1910. I am 50 years old.

 

Question: When were you released from the Army?

 

Witness Nechama: When the Greeks left everything, when the Germans came.

 

Question: When was that approximately?

 

Witness Nechama: Approximately at the end of March 1941 

 

Question: Did you return home from the front?

 

Witness Nechama: I walked for 28 days. This is easily said, but hard to do. When I arrived at home I was exhausted. While I was on my way home we had trouble with the Greeks all the time – they wanted to take us for work, to help them and be forced to work for 24 hours. I had to work, I had no choice. So when I arrived at home my situation was very bad. 

 

Question: After the 28 day march, were the Germans already in Salonika ?

 

Witness Nechama: They were already there and when I came home I was told that our radio had already been handed over. I had a very good radio. 

 

Question: To whom?

 

Witness Nechama: There was an order that all Jews had to hand over their radios within twenty- four hours, otherwise they would be executed, and because they were afraid they did not even wait for me before handing over the radio. 

 

Question: Did other things also have to be handed over in those days?

 

Witness Nechama: Every day there was something new. Next one had to hand in the pianos; most Jews owned pianos and every Jew had to give up his piano. Then the telephones, Jews were forbidden to use the telephone. It had to be handed over to the Company.

 

One day three trucks arrived and took the complete library of holy books which we had in the Community, books from before the time the Jews left Spain. Our Rabbis cried so much when they took those books, I remember it to this day. I recall the tears of those learned men who said: Nothing matters to us, only these books. 

 

Question: Mr Nechama, you were in the army, are you familiar with uniforms. You were able to recognise uniforms. These people who took the books, or those who occupied themselves with the delivery of the pianos and all the things you mentioned – how were they dressed?

 

Witness Nechama: That was the Gestapo. The colour was brown, a kind of brown.

 

Question: Were there German Army personnel walking around in Salonika?

 

Witness Nechama: Of course. Salonika was the military centre and soldiers came there every day from all kinds of units. 

 

Question: When you returned did you continue to go about your business?

 

Witness Nechama: Of course, a stationery business. I had a partner who was a Yugoslav citizen and did not go to the front. 

 

Question: And he remained and ran your business?

 

Witness Nechama: Yes.   

 

Directive to the chairman of the Salonika Jewish community regarding the  wearing of the compulsory Star of David

Question: In which quarter was this? Was it a Jewish quarter?

 

Witness Nechama: Yes.   

No in a Greek quarter    

Question: Tell the Court what happened to the Jewish businesses in Salonika in those days?

 

Witness Nechama: Yes.   

 

I shall tell you there were troubles for the Jews every day. They would come and take merchandise without paying, without anything. In Salonika there were very rich Jewish businessmen, one can definitely call them rich , one can call them millionaires. There was a shop for glassware there – they took the very last glass.

 

Question: They took things and did not pay?

 

Witness Nechama: Yes.   

 

They did not pay. There were shops, iron warehouses – they took all the iron and did not pay anything. Perhaps they “bluffed,” giving out chits as they did for the radios. They gave us slips of paper which were not worth anything. 

 

Presiding Judge: Were you concentrated in a certain quarter in one neighbourhood?

 

Witness Nechama: Yes.   

This is just what I want to recall – on 11 July 1942 – there was an official newspaper they had, Das Neue Europa (The New Europe). 

Presiding Judge: A newspaper belonging to the Germans?

 

Read more here: www.holocaustresearchproject.org/trials/nechamasalonika.html

 

The Holocaust Education & Archive Research Team

www.HolocaustResearchProject.org

 

Copyright Carmelo Lisciotto H.E.A.R.T 2010



Copyright Carmelo Lisciotto H.E.A.R.T 2010

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