Guelfo Zamboni on measures taken against the Jews of Thessaloniki in 1943



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Adressed to: R. Representation of Italy for Greece, Athens


R. Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Rome

Position: class.

Thessaloniki, 20th March 1943, XXI

Measures against the Jews of Thessaloniki.

On the 12th inst. the Jews’ departure for Poland has begun. Four trains are planned each week, and each train will hold approx. 2,500 people. At this rate, within 5 or 6 weeks all Jews will have left town.

The beginning of the transfer and the way in which it is carried out, i.e. more than 60 people in each freight car, with very few clothes and little food and with no money and valuables, has caused deep dismay among the Jews, who in their great majority deluded themselves that they would escape such a measure.

The Greek population, in general, disapproves of the severity with which the measures are carried out and is touched by what they see happening.

Among the Jews there is resentment against the Greeks, because a rumour has spread that the Germans have acted at the request of a Greek committee that is said to have travelled to Nurnberg for this purpose, some time ago.

During the departure operations, which have to be completed within a very short time, acts of violence have occurred that have left an unfavourable impression. There have been several demises

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on the way from the ghetto to the railway station.

As soon as the Jews left their neighbourhood, gangs of Greek criminals broke into their homes in order to plunder them. The Greek gendarmerie had to step in and resorted to firearms. Four thieves were killed, four more were fatally wounded, approx. 35 were wounded and about a hundred were arrested. German authorities have issued very harsh orders whereby anyone entering a deserted Jewish home will be shot on the spot.

The rebels have sent agents into the ghetto, to make propaganda and to recruit more easily people for their bands. They do this very prudently, for fear of being found out,

Some people have indeed fled, either to join the rebels or to reach our zone, but their number is as yet unknown.

Town life continues to be overshadowed by this event, which has engendered situations that will find their solution only in the course of time.

Guelfo Zamboni


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In March 1919, Benito Mussolini founded a movement called “Fasci di combattimento”, which became the Partito Nazionale Fascista (PNF) in November 1921. On 28 October 1922 he organised the “March on Rome”, following which King Vittorio Emanuele III of Savoy invited him to form a new government. Mussolini transformed the government into a dictatorship and then into a totalitarian state. After Italy left the League of Nations in 1937, the “Rome-Berlin Axis”, proclaimed in 1936, developed into a clo...

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