Giuseppe Castruccio on the end of the Jewish community of Thessaloniki in 1943

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(1) R. Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Rome

(2) R. Representation of Italy for Greece, Athens

Thessaloniki, 11th August [1943]

1) End of the Jewish colony of Thessaloniki

2) Follow-up to the cable of this R. Office no. 4050/889 of 11th inst.

The last Jews still remaining in the “Baron Hirsch” Ghetto have left in the night from 10th to 11th August.

The special SS Police left yesterday. Their chief Vesleceny [sic] left this morning by aeroplane for Berlin.

The Jewish colony of Thessaloniki, which was founded before the discovery of America and which comprised approx. 60,000 people, is no more. Over the centuries the Jews had set up highly valuable factories, such as that of the Italian Torres, to name but one, which produced fabrics and jute and was the most important in the entire Balkans.

They had amassed enormous wealth, which was plundered and stolen by the Greeks and by the Germans.

The elimination of the Israelite colony took place and was completed among atrocities, horrors and crimes such as I had never heard described in the history of all times and of all peoples.

The Italian Israelite colony was able to reach safety by moving to Athens; the same can be said of the small Argentine and Portuguese colonies.

The Spanish colony, which for the past two months had lived in hope of being transferred to Spain, at the last moment received a Spanish refusal and was deported by the Germans, including the Spanish Vice-Consul, who had been accepted and acknowledged as such and had served Spain in Thessaloniki for a great many years.

For us Italians the elimination of our Jewish colony means an extremely serious loss that cannot be measured in millions. Suffice it to say that before the present war the Italian merchant marine was the second in Thessaloniki, immediately after the Greek. The maritime traffic was mostly originated by the trade and by the factories of the Italian Jews of Thessaloniki.

G. Castruccio

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