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Oral history interview with Iason Doumbis

Oral History | Accession Number: 2014.530.34 | RG Number: RG-50.855.0034

Iason Doumbis, born on February 9, 1930 in Salonika (Thessaloniki), Greece, describes his experience as a Greek Christian in the period from 1940 to 1950; his father, Petros Doumbis, who had a business helping merchants clear imports and exports through Greek Customs; his father’s knowledge of Ladino since most of his clientele were Jews; how the commerce in Salonika was mostly controlled by Jews at that time; the relations between Christians and Jews before the war; not remembering any instances of violence other than a fire at the Maccabees building close to the church of Agios Dimitrios around 1935; his two younger sisters; living in a house close to the race track on Agiou Dimitriou Street; attending Ioanidou School, where he did not know any Jewish students; the numerous Jewish families living in his neighborhood; his family’s Jewish friends; the declaration of war and the heavy bombardment of the city; his family’s temporary escape to a village called Zagliveri; returning to Salonika and living in an apartment building (called Sidiropoulos) on Tsimiski Street, where there was a basement they could use as a bomb shelter; how there were no Jews in the building; witnessing a lot of events because he liked to roam around the city; life during the German occupation, including the misery, death, fear, and hunger; the Greek Nazi organization called EEE (Ethniki Enosis Ellados), which used to have military parades around the city headed by a Greek officer, Poulos; his memories of a morning in July 1942 when he observed the gathering of about 1,000 Jews (who were all older than 25 years) in Platia Eleftherias (Liberty Square), where they were forced to do calisthenics by the German police; the restrictions on the Jews; details on the Jewish ghetto; going to Mizrahi Street in the ghetto with his father to discuss business with his customer; seeing Jews trying to sell their household goods to Christians; watching one day as groups of Jews went to the train station at Baron Hirsh and were deported by train; and one incident when a Greek, Dimitris Zanas, pulled a friend out of the crowd and saved him.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Iason Doumbis
Renna Molho
interview:  2015 July 01
1 digital file : MPEG-4.
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, courtesy of the Jeff and Toby Herr Foundation
Record last modified: 2021-03-01 06:53:34
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