Memoirs of the Thessaloniki Jewish Community

I was so pleased to see the photograph of Heinz Kunio placing flowers on a train wagon in memory of those deported from Greece in 1943 (“Week in Pictures,” Hamodia, U.K. Edition, 13 Adar II). In 2006, Martin and I had the pleasure of meeting his daughter Regina in Athens.

Heinz was 15 and his sister Erica was 17 when they were deported with their parents on the first transport from Thessaloniki to Auschwitz. They survived in Auschwitz from March 1943 until January 1945, when they were taken to slave labor camps. These four family members survived and were able to return to Thessaloniki.

Both Heinz and Erica have written memoirs of their experiences. “A Liter of Soup and Sixty Grams of Bread” is the story of Heinz and his father; “From Thessaloniki to Auschwitz and Back” is the story of what happened to Erica and her mother. Sadly, Erica died a few years ago, but I had been corresponding with her for some time.

Both of these memoirs give an important story of the Thessaloniki Jewish community and its devastation during the Holocaust, and their memories of their experiences. The stories of each individual give us a perspective and bring to life again their families, their friends, and those they remember — as should we.

Kol Tuv, Esther Gilbert