Russia will return prewar archives of Jewish communities that were stolen by Nazi forces from Greece.
“It is an achievement of vital significance to our country’s history.”
“We express our thankfulness to the Greek prime minister and all those who have worked and continue working for the realisation of the return of the pre-war Jewish archives to our country.”
KISE said Nazi forces in July 1942 had looted archives, books, and religious artifacts from 30 synagogues, libraries and communal institutions in Thessaloniki.
They were transferred to Moscow after the Red Army took Berlin in May 1945.
“Their restitution would mean justice and would transmit knowledge about a part of the Greek people that contributed to the progress of the country and no longer exists, that of the 60,000 Greek Jews who were deported to and exterminated in the Nazi death camps,” the board said.
The arrangement was announced Wednesday following a meeting between Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
No date for the return was given.
The archives had until now been stored among Russian military files and Greece had sought their return for decades, the prime minister’s office said.
The Jewish community made up some 60 percent of the population in Thessaloniki in the 40s.
That number dwindled to some 55,000 by the eve of World War II.
By August 1943, 49,000 had been deported. Fewer than 2,000 survived.