Sir, There are numerous aspects of the Holocaust to which attention should be drawn to appreciate its disastrous consequences. One such is the extermination of Sephardi Jews mainly from Greece and other places in the Balkans.
The six million Jewish martyrs include over 60,000 Jews of Sephardi origin, mainly in the Balkans, though many were from Holland. Most of the former were transported from Greece to Auschwitz in 1943.
Out of 70,000 Jews in Greece before the Second World War only 10,000 survived. These numbers are small but still significant compared to those from elsewhere in Europe.
The courageous Greek Orthodox Archbishop, Damaskinos of Athens, wrote a public letter to the Greek Prime Minister at the time signed by many other public figures stating: "The Greek People were rightly surprised and grieved to learn that the German Occupation authorities have already started to deport the Greek Jewish community of Salonika to Poland.
"Greek Jews have proven to be valuable contributors to Greek economy and have had their full share in the common sacrifice of Greece to defend its inalienable historical rights... all the children of common mother Greece are an inseparable unity and we demand that the government protest against the deportation of Greek Jews which insults our nation's honour and unity."
The notorious ex-Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, in a book by Zvi Elpeleg was quoted as saying, "Kill the Jews wherever you find them - this pleases Allah, history and religion." He recruited Muslim Nazi troops in Bosnia to help Rommel rid the Holy Land of Jews. In November 1941 he was photographed with Hitler urging him to carry out the extermination of the Jews - before the Wansee "Final Solution" conference of January 1942. On December 15 1942 Winston Churchill said in the House of Commons special session: We will pursue the Nazi criminals to the ends of the earth." As not enough was done, other mass murderers did their evil work after the war.
Sephardi member, Yad Vashem
Committee of Board of Deputies
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