The Jews of Chania, Crete #general


Celia Male <celiamale@...>
 

The story of the Jews of Crete and the terrible fate of the 265 remaining Jews
of Chania who were on their way to Auschwitz when their boat was mistakenly
torpedoed by the British is not as well known as it should be.

I first learnt about it when a school friend >from Alexandria, Egypt visited
Chania many years ago to research the origin of her ancestors and heard about
the last remaining Jew [by then converted] on the island. This young girl had
been left behind picking in the fields when the transport sailed away. She gave
me her manuscript on the subject. I mentioned it to another non-Jewish school
friend whose roots also lie in Chania but who now lives in Germany and her
daughter made a film for German TV about it. Many Cretans - Jewish and
non-Jewish - lived in Alexandria till 1956 and probably till the 1960s for the
non-Jews.

Yesterday thousands of listeners had a unique opportunity to hear this tragic
tale entitled the "Last Jew on Crete" - so I must assume that the young girl
left behind has now died. I urge as many of you as possible to listen to this
to the present-day story of Nicholas Stavroulakis of Cretan origin, who arrived
on the island in the 1950s, some ten or more years after the Jewish community
had been destroyed by the Nazis. He tells us how he restored the crumbling Etz
Hayyim Synagogue in Chania, and has acted as the city's rabbi, much of the time
for a community of one, namely himself. It is indeed an uplifting tale.

To help you find it, if you have difficulties go to: "Twenty Minutes" - 9th Dec
BBC Radio 3 - Listen again.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/twentyminutes/pip/m3on6/?focuswin
You have until next Saturday to "listen again".

Don't be surprised if you get about 5 mins of Mozart's Idomeneo [King of
Crete], before the talk starts. There is a book about Crete which has been
reviewed here: {I have no personal financial interest in this book - statement
issued according to Jewishgen policy}: Rory MacLean: Falling for Icarus - where
it disputes the title of the talk "The Last Jew on Crete". This review has some
background data on ethnic cleansing in Crete.
http://www.west-crete.com/book-review-icarus.htm

There are some associated articles on the subject which you should find of
interest: http://www.sefarad.org/publication/lm/035/14.html
http://www.etz-hayyim-hania.org/_resources/articles_pdf/article0002.pdf

There are 96 POTs on Yad Vashem to Cretan Jews - the others are as yet
nameless,
however Nicholas Stavroulakis' work is a living memorial. His synagogue has
open doors - the Cretan Jews, I am sure, would be gratified.

Celia Male [U.K.]

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