The Central Council of Jewish Communities of Greece (KISE) thanked Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Russian President Vladimir Putin in two separate letters for returning pre-WWII community archives from Moscow.
Putin announced the return of books and religious artifacts that had been stolen from 30 synagogues, libraries and public institutions in Thessaloniki by the Nazis in July 1942, during Mitsotakis’s visit to Russia in December 2021. After the capture of Berlin by the Red Army in May 1945, the archives were transported to Moscow. Greece has been seeking their return for several decades. Until now, they were kept among the Russian military dossiers.
Most of the archives concern the once flourishing Jewish community in the city of Thessaloniki in northern Greece. KISE said their return would shed light on “the fate of a portion of the Greek people, 60,000 Greek Jews who no longer exist as they were taken out and exterminated in Nazi death camps.”
“Our story is finally returning home,” it added, expressing “warm wishes” to Mitsotakis and Putin, as well as expressing gratitude “for this important achievement, which completes the long-term struggle of Greek diplomacy.”