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Oral history interview with Michael Naoum Matsas

Oral History | Accession Number: 1999.A.0288 | RG Number: RG-50.030.0403

Michael Naoum Matsas, born in 1930 in Iōannina, Greece, describes growing up in a family involved in the wine and cheese business; his father’s work in the banking system; attending a Jewish school and only occasionally experiencing antisemitism; moving to Agrinion, where there were few Jews; joining a youth organization that participated in Greek nationalist activities but leaving in October 1940 when the Italians invaded Greece; living in decent conditions under the Italians until April 1941, when the Germans invaded; returning to Iōannina because it was out of German control; leaving the city in September 1943 to go hide in a small village, where he faced starvation and thievery; his mother’s trip to Agrinion to retrieve food and to find out that all of the town’s Jews had been deported; the approach of German soldiers in August 1944 and their destruction of several villages; the work of the partisan movement in helping Jews; how the Jews of Greece had no idea about what was going on in Europe; how more Greek Jews than other European Jews were able to escape or hide from the Germans; writing down his memoirs immediately after the war; learning several songs sung by the partisans; moving to Athens and starting university at the age of 17; immigrating to the United States in his twenties and having to redo his undergraduate and graduate degrees; and settling in New York and starting a family.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Michael N. Matsas
Joan Ringelheim
interview:  1999 October 04
Oral histories.
3 videocasettes (Betacam SP) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 19:53:47
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