Advanced Search

Learn About The Holocaust

Special Collections

My Saved Research




Skip to main content

Oral history interview with Dimitris Eleftheroglou

Oral History | Accession Number: 2014.530.1 | RG Number: RG-50.855.0001

Dimitris Eleftheroglou, born in February 1931 in Didimoticho (Dhidhimotikhon), North Eastern Greece, describes his experience as a Greek Christian during the Italian/German occupation (1941-1944); living in the center of Didimoticho, on 41 Venizelou Street; his neighborhood having a number of Jewish homes and stores; his father, Thanasis, who originally worked for a Jewish shop owner and later opened his own grocery store with the help of Jewish friends; his father learning to speak Latino (the second language of the Jews, other than Greek); his family’s many Jewish friends around the neighborhood and in the schools; their next door neighbors Madame Pearla and Mister Iakovos (Jacob), who was a shoemaker; how Didimotichos was a multicultural town, with Greeks, Armenians, Muslims, and Jews, and everybody lived peacefully; the minor jealousies and arguments between the various nationalities (Mr. Eleftheroglou shares an example: during the Christian Easter, old women would scare kids by saying that if they went to Jewish neighborhoods, the Jews would take them, put them in barrels with nails, extract their blood, and drink it, but nobody paid attention to these tales); how the Jews controlled the commerce in the city, operating the majority of the retail and, especially, wholesale stores (groceries, dairy, fish, glass, textiles, etc); the area in north eastern Greece, which cultivated mulberry trees for silk worms and provided the raw material to a large silk factory owned by the Tzivre family, who were Jewish and lived in the neighboring town of Soufli; the arrival of the Germans in the spring of 1941, at which time the stores closed; the lack of products to sell because the Germans took everything for their troops; the very high inflation and citizens not being able to afford to purchase most things; the surrounding area which was farmed and helped people survive the war; his father’s discomfort over selling to Germans and sending them to another grocer, Stampoli Soulidis, who eventually became a collaborator and, after the war, went to prison for 7-8 years; Germans odering the Jews to mark their houses and stores with a black star of David; not knowing of many Jews who escaped the occupation, except for two young men and a girl, who escaped to Palestine and survived; how one day in school, they were told that all the Jewish students should not go home but report to the synagogue and, when they went there, they found the rest of the Jewish community; the detention of the Jews for 2-3 days before they were led in a convoy to the train station and deported; the Germans locking up the Jews’ houses and stores, and taking whatever they wanted; how at the end of the war the properties were given back to the Jewish community, who eventually sold them; the 200-300 Jews who were in Didimoticho before the war and how only 8-10 returned; the survivors he remembers, including Joseph Taraboulous, Solomon Behar, the son of doctor Nahoum, Tzivre, and Israel and his three daughters (Soultana, Kolomba, and Souzy [Susy]); and how eventually all the Jewish survivors left for Israel, Thessaloniki, or Athens.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Dimitris Eleftheroglou
interview:  2014 November 11
1 digital file : MPEG-4.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, courtesy of the Jeff and Toby Herr Foundation
Record last modified: 2023-11-16 09:33:32
This page: