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Oral history interview with Anna Tsemani Galani

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

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.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Galani, Anna
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: 2022-06-24 20:09:32
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