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Oral history interview with Sam Ackos

Oral History | Accession Number: 1992.A.0126.3 | RG Number: RG-50.156.0003

Sam Ackos (Semanto Menachem Ackos), born November 10, 1931 in Breveza (possibly Preveza), Greece to Menachem Semanto and Rebecca (Chaim Vitalis), discusses his family’s move to Athens circa 1936; his father, who was a merchant buying and selling anything and everything, and later became a taxi driver; his mother, who worked as a seamstress; having four sisters; his family only speaking Greek; having limited education; attending synagogue on holidays, but not on Shabbat; the good relations with non-Jewish Greeks, except during Pesach/Easter when Greek children were told that Jews put them over barrels on pins and needles and used the blood to make matzah; his father’s care for various aunts and uncles who later died in Auschwitz; the Italian invasion of Greece; the German occupation of Greece; the food scarcity during the occupation; hiding with his family in various basements around Athens; the dismantling and hiding of his father’s taxi (it was reassembled and driven after the war); living on beans and bread and other food bought on black market in villages outside of Athens using gold his father had accumulated; his father’s activities as a partisan; the roundup of Jews on March 25, 1944 and detainment in camp Chaidari; the deportation of Jews to Auschwitz; not being taken during the roundup; participating in acts of sabotage with other teens; being unsure of the fate of his father, but hearing a rumor that he was involved in a plot to destroy a crematoria in a camp; life after the war; his family’s desire to immigrate to Israel, and their decision to go to the United States; arriving in New York in January 1951 with the help of the United Jewish Appeal; settling in St. Paul MN where they lived in a Jewish neighborhood; living near two other Greek families, Nathan Asher and Ira Rosenbaum; getting married, but not having children; and not being active in the Jewish community.


Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Interviewee
Sam Ackos
Interviewer
Rhoda G. Lewin
Date
interview:  1987 January 31
Language
English
Extent
1 sound cassette (90 min.).
 
Record last modified: 2020-03-26 09:34:11
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn510654