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Oral history interview with Luisa Salem

Oral History | Accession Number: 1996.171.4 | RG Number: RG-50.426.0004

Luisa Salem, born in Thessaloniki, Greece in 1926, discusses her family; her father, who was a businessman and her mother, who was originally from Monastir, Macedonia; her brother Isaac; her childhood and speaking Spanish, French, and Italian; attending an Italian school, where most of the children were Jewish; living in a residence, where the Spanish Vice-Consul (Solomon Ezratty) lived on the first floor; the arrival of the Germans in April 1941; experiencing little fear at the beginning of the occupation and the absence of general antisemitic laws; an increasing number of reprisals against individual Jewish families; the horror in July 1942 when all men were forced to perform physical exercise for the entire afternoon in the Plateia Eleftherias at gunpoint; the requirement for Jews to register and wear the Star of David; the roundup and enclosure of her family in Kalamaria at the end of February 1943; living in a house with two stories and two families on each floor; the first deportations of Jews from Thessaloniki in March 1943; the growing fears about the families’ fate; the departure of her cousin Luis Pardoe and his family for Brazil; her father securing forged papers, providing family members with Greek names; departing from the ghetto to the old house of the Spanish consulate; receiving help from Rachel Ezratty; traveling by bus to Katarini (Katerine) and going on to Leptokaria, where they waited for a train to go to Athens; receiving help from Greek resistance members, who led them to Mt. Olympus, over Kissavos Mountain (Mount Ossa) to Larissa; staying in Larissa for three weeks, protected by partisans; going across the Pineios River to reach Italian-occupied Greece, led by smugglers who remained on the German side of the river because they were forced to register with the Nazis; finding their family members in Athens in May-June 1943; being relatively safe, but being forced to change residences several times because of betrayals; the liberation in December 1944; their difficult living conditions; returning to Thessaloniki; and her marriage in 1946 to an Auschwitz survivor who lost most of his family.

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.
Salem, Luisa
Ryan, Peter
interview:  1996 June 18
creation: Thessalonike (Greece)
2 videocasettes (Betacam SP) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..
Credit Line
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, courtesy of the Jeff and Toby Herr Foundation
Record last modified: 2022-06-24 20:10:40
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