The Jewish Museum of Greece opened a temporary exhibit on Tuesday titled “Synagonistis: Greek Jews in the National Resistance,” in an effort to publicize the role of Jews in the Greek resistance during the Second World War.
Former fighters have complained of “being forgotten by their homeland and not honored,” the museum announced on its website.
“During the research phase for our traveling exhibition ‘The Holocaust of the Greek Jews, 1941 – 1944’ (2001), which included the subject of Greek Jewish resistance fighters, the JMG came into contact with elderly partisans,” the museum’s website noted. “It was then that the foundation was laid for a deep commitment and a sincere wish to honor those who fought” and for efforts to dispel the notion that Jews “succumbed to the Holocaust ‘like lambs to the slaughter.’” After five years of research, the museum was able to compile personal histories of 24 men and women “who took up arms in the dark and harsh days of the Occupation” and “served the armed struggle in many ways, with courage and determination.”
“They were christened ‘comrades in arms,’ the supreme title of honor among the fighters of free Greece, and fought among their equals.”
The exhibit opens during an uncertain time for Greek Jewry, which is concerned with the rise of the Golden Dawn party, a farright movement accused of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial, whose logo is strongly reminiscent of a swastika.
Neither the museum nor Greek communal leader David Saltiel responded immediately to requests for comment, and it is unsure if the exhibit was meant as a response to Golden Dawn’s brand of Greek nationalism that local Jews believe seeks to exclude their community.
However, speaking with The Jerusalem Post at the 2013 International Forum of the newly established Israeli Jewish Congress Wednesday in Tel Aviv, Saltiel, president of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, did say that part of the Jewish community’s response to the rise of the far Right must be to “educate the young generation [about] Hitler, why [the Holocaust] happened.”
The exhibit will run until April 25, 2014.