In Nazi‐occupied Thessaloniki, a city in northern Greece that has been home to Sephardic Jews for centuries, three Jewish mothers wrote letters to the sons who had escaped to Italian‐occupied Athens. The letters convey the terrible fear and uncertainty that gripped the Jewish community in Greece shortly before the first train left Thessaloniki carrying 2,400 people to Auschwitz‐Birkenau on March 15, 1943. In all, more than 45,000 Jewish people from Thessaloniki would make that terrible journey to Nazi extermination camps.
On Sunday, January 28, the CMHR in partnership with the Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada (JHCWC) will mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day (January 27).
The program will focus on the personal stories of three Jewish mothers – Sarina (Sara) Saltiel, Mathilde Barouh and Neama Cazes – whose haunting letters have survived. At a time when the world is rocked by violence, the moving words of these women resonate across the decades, reminding us all of our personal and collective responsibility to work for peace, human rights and dignity.
Some 53 of those letters have been compiled into a book – Do Not Forget Me – edited by Dr. Leon Saltiel, a historian specializing on the Holocaust of Greek Jewry.
Join us for this free, in‐person public event from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in the Manitoba Teachers’ Society Classrooms.
At the event, Dr. Saltiel will present (via Zoom) on the historical context and significance of the letters, some of which will be read aloud by Belle Jarniewski of the JHCWC, and excerpts from a film also called Do Not Forget Me will be shown. This will be followed by a Q&A in English and French with the audience.
About Dr. Leon Saltiel
Dr. Leon Saltiel is a historian specializing in the Holocaust of Greek Jewry. He also serves as Director of Diplomacy, Representative at UN Geneva and UNESCO, and Coordinator of Countering Antisemitism for the World Jewish Congress. He holds a Ph.D. in Contemporary Greek History from the University of Macedonia, in Thessaloniki, and has been a post‐doctoral researcher at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva and the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. His publications include The Holocaust in Thessaloniki: Reactions to the Anti‐Jewish Persecution, 1942–1943 (Routledge, 2020) and ‘Do Not Forget Me’: Three Jewish Mothers Write to their Sons from the Thessaloniki Ghetto, published in Greek (Alexandria, 2018), English (Berghahn, 2021) and French (Denoël, 2023).
Leon was a Fulbright Scholar at Georgetown University and has received numerous fellowships from other institutions. He is a member of the Central Board of Jewish Communities of Greece and of the Greek delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).
Please note that this program is subject to change or cancellation without notice.