Siaky family photograph collection
Document | Accession Number: 2004.379.1
The collection consists of 17 photographs documenting the experiences of twin brothers Perez and Eliyahu Siaky and their family in pre-war Greece and while in hiding during the Holocaust.
- Document Creator
- Perez Siaky
Perez Siaky and his twin brother, Eliyahu, were born on December 27, 1930, in Athens, Greece. Their father, Heskiyah Siaky, was born in 1884 in Larisa, Greece, and was a judge in the Supreme Court of Appeals in Athens. Their mother, Yanna Patzanovsky, was born in 1903 in Lodz, Poland. She immigrated to Hamburg, Germany, with her family when she was 4 years old. She worked in Switzerland as a director of an orphanage before her marriage. She met Heskiyah when he was vacationing in Switzerland and moved with him to Athens. The twins have one younger sister, Hanna, who was born on August 10, 1941, in Athens.
The twins went to elementary school in Athens and then to the American
College High School in Athens from 1942 to 1943. When persecution against
Jews began in Greece in September 1943, the twins were able to obtain false identification cards through their father's contacts. During the week that they were waiting for the cards to be fabricated, members of the Siaky family were hidden separately in different places. Perez and Eliyahu used the false names Elias and Petros Papachristou. Heskiyah found a place for the family to hide together through a friend. The Siaky family met at the central bus station in Athens and were taken by truck 120 km from Athens to the town of Livadia,Greece.
They lived with a villager named Nikos Kotzikoros who worked in agriculture and grew olives and other vegetables. They were given a private, large room and shared a small kitchen and a toilet in an outside shack with the landlord's family. The family was supported by a salary from the lawyer's union and used the money to pay rent and to cover their daily expenses. Germans searched for Greek partisans who were hidden in the area around Livadia, and the boys were occasionally interrogated. Once their father was searched in the market by the Gestapo and asked if he was a Jew. Eliyahu would go out into the streets to listen to what the Germans were saying. By doing this, he was able to warn partisans about planned German attacks. Eliyahu would also collect bullets left by the Germans and give them to the partisans who came to their house.
When the Germans retreated from Greece in September 1944 and the British liberated the area, the Siaky family decided to return to their house in Athens which was still standing and in good shape. The twins returned to the American College from 1944 until the early summer of 1945. In August 1945 the twins received legal certificates to immigrate to Palestine. They left the port of Piraeus, Greece, on August 5, 1945, and arrived in Haifa, Palestine, on August 8 accompanied by British warships. They were transferred to the Atlit camp where they remained for a week. They were released on August 13 and went to live with an aunt on Kibbutz Givat Brenner. Their parents and sister remained in Athens until Heskiyah retired, and then they emigrated to Israel in 1950. Heskiyah died in 1958, and their mother and sister moved to Cambridge, England. Their mother died in 1996 at the age of 93.
- System of Arrangement
- The collection is arranged as a single series.
- Legal Status
- Permanent Collection
- The photographs were donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2004 by Perez Siaky.
- Conditions on Access
- No restrictions on access
- Conditions on Use
- No restrictions on use
Record last modified: 2020-10-02 09:53:12
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn515231