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Oral history interview with Anna Tsemani Galani

Oral History | Digitized | Accession Number: 2014.530.2 | RG Number: RG-50.855.0002

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    Oral history interview with Anna Tsemani Galani


    Interview Summary
    Anna Tsemani-Galani, born on May14, 1932 in Kastoria, North Western Greece, describes her experience as a Greek Christian during the Italian/German occupation (1941-1944); her family, which was comprised of her father, mother, two brothers, older sister, and her; living in an area with Jewish neighbors; her father, who was a doctor and had studied in France and spoke fluent French; her father’s numerous Jewish patients and friends, who spoke French to him; her first and closest friend, who was a Jewish girl named Lilika Konfinou; the friendship between her family and Lilika’s family; the Konfinou family, who were well-off and had a large house close to the Christian Cathedral, almost next to the Tsemani family; attending Synagogue on Saturdays and the church on Sundays with Lilika; the shared holidays between the Tsemani family and the Konfinou family; how the Jews were the nucleus of commerce in the city and they lived peacefully with no distinctions among their Christian neighbors; Jewish and Christians kids playing together in mixed neighborhoods; the beginning of the occupation when the Italians had administrative control of the area; her father’s friendship with Mr. Vegel, who was the president of the Swiss Red Cross and warned him about the coming German occupation; her father sharing this warning with the Konfinou family, who did not heed the warning; the Konfinou family’s belief that they would be relocated to Poland to make a new home; Lilika getting new warm clothes and shoes for the trip; the arrival of the Germans and the ordering of Jews to wear a yellow star; the deportation of the Jews a few months after the German occupation; her memories of how devastated she felt losing her friend; her father, who was not in favor of the partisans because he believed they were not patriots and really just wanted to separate northern Greece (Macedonia) away from Greece; how her father’s attitude towards the partisans placed him in precarious situation and they had to leave Kastoria to hide in Athens a few weeks after the Jews were deported; not remembering what happened to the Jewish homes and stores in Kastoria; her father’s return to Kastoria after liberation and eventually becoming the mayor of the city; staying in Athens with the rest of the family; learning later that very few Jews of Kastoria survived; finding out about the fates of the Eliaou and Kalefi families; learning that Rita (Lilika’s older sister) eventually went to Paris and then to Brazil, where she got married (she died recently); and the fate of Lilika and the rest of her family, who perished in the concentration camps.
    Anna Galani
    interview:  2014 November 11
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, courtesy of the Jeff and Toby Herr Foundation

    Physical Details

    1 digital file : MPEG-4.

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
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    Keywords & Subjects

    Administrative Notes

    This is a witness interview of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum's Perpetrators, Collaborators, and Witnesses: The Jeff and Toby Herr Testimony Initiative, a multi-year project to record the testimonies of non-Jewish witnesses to the Holocaust. The interview was directed and supervised by Nathan Beyrak.
    Funding Note
    The production of this interview was made possible by Jeff and Toby Herr.
    The cataloging of this oral history interview has been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
    Record last modified:
    2023-11-16 09:33:33
    This page:

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