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Mico Alvo

There was a school on Aristotelous Square, the Alliance. Upon liberation this was the club of the gendarme officers, their association. Later, when they left, the arcade was built. [Editor's note: The interviewee is referring to the Hirsch arcade in which the offices of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki are located today.] When the Community got compensation from the Germans - because the Community did get some compensation - there were two claims.

One claim was by the Alliance for the landed property there. The other one was from the Jews of Thessaloniki that stayed in Israel and never came back. They considered that since they were also from Thessaloniki they had the same rights. Finally, they got part of the compensation.
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Rafael Genis

My Constantia is the best helper in all community activities. On Sabbath and on holidays she cooks a treat for the whole community and the Jews join us in celebration. We chat and recollect family stories. We celebrate holidays according to the tradition. I feel under the weather lately and I have to look for a successor as I understand that I have heart trouble and had an operation recently. I hope that my successor will be Petras, who will come back to Lithuania and help me.
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According to the law on restitution we were given back the former premises of the prewar Jewish community. I sold that house and used the money to help poor Jews. Actually, the community is based in my house. I am the bookkeeper. I distribute the sponsors' aid coming from the Joint [18]. We celebrate Sabbath and Jewish holidays. I fulfilled my task: I put the monuments to the perished Jews on the places of their execution. I mostly used my savings for that as well as the money from the sponsors, collected by the relatives of the perished.
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Even though I was almost blind, I worked for many years. I retired in the early 1990s. Though since 1945 I have been getting a pension for the disabled, it is miserable. All those years my wife and I had been going to the places where Jews were executed to commemorate them. I thought of how to mark those places and put the monuments there. Besides, I couldn't feel indifferent towards those Jews, who survived the war, and now are scraping through. I decided to found a Jewish community in Telsiai and went to Vilnius to see the chairman of the United Jewish community of Lithuania, Alperavichus. He supported me. The community was founded in 1993 with me as a chairman.
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tili solomon

I also received a compensation for the suffering endured during the Holocaust: there was a certain amount from Germany, Austria, Switzerland, from the Claims Conference.
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Teofila Silberring

A newspaper came out, the daily 'Kurze Zeitung', in Germany, in Freiburg, with that interview and my photographs. And from that time on a friendship developed. When Mrs. Erb was in Cracow, she always dropped in to see me. She invited me to see her. There was another man from that Kolbe-Werk, called Konradi, who came to Cracow once fine day and called me. He said he had read the interview with me and asked if he could meet me. He asked if I could even meet a German, if I didn't have a mental scar. We arranged to meet in Jama Michalika [a cafe]. I asked how I would recognize him. And he says, 'I have a photograph of you and I'll find you. Please sit in the front room.' He came, a very handsome, elegant man, in fact, and brought heaps of roses, a huge bouquet, about 20 or 30 roses. He came up to me. At once, without hesitating, evidently he recognized me from the photograph. He knelt down, literally with tears in his eyes gave me the roses. And asked if I could give him my hand. If he could greet me. So I say, 'Well, I've never done it before; I'm a Jew and you're a German, but this once...' and I greeted him. I had tears in my eyes too.

That was seven or eight years ago. And after that he always came, every year, like the best of friends. Later he invited me to Germany. He paid for a holiday in Fulda for me and asked if I could bear the German language, if I would be able to listen to the language. But somehow that barrier of hate has broken down in me, as far as he goes. I considered him my friend. He came, every year to Cracow, with his job. Kolbe-Werk is a foundation that helps the sick and the old. All those who were in the camps. He checked up on how the money is used. Whenever he came, he would bring me something, and if he didn't come he would send something. I told him I didn't need it. But he said that he wasn't in a position to make amends for even a thousandth of what I'd been through. He was a little younger than me, but he remembered the war. His father hadn't been in the army either.
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But they gave me the house back at once, through the courts, because there was no-one, I was the only heiress. They just ordered me to pay the charges for six years. A German had taken the money and run, not given it up to the local authority or wherever the service charges went during the war. And I got bills for the whole occupation. I had a hearing and I thought I would go through the roof. I didn't have enough for an attorney, and apparently I defended myself marvelously in that courtroom. I said, 'What for? Isn't it enough that I lost everything, I'm barefoot, naked, and now I have to pay for my stay in the camps?!' It was dismissed, but I had to pay something in installments.

I was given six houses back; I sold five. My uncle's house on Paulinska Street. In Podgorze, Grandma's. On Nowy Square, too, my uncle's. There was the one of ours, on Miodowa Street. After the war my husband took care of that house, and he just wrote off the debts that Father had run up. In crowns, in zloty. There were heaps of those debts, because Father had lived beyond his means. Evidently before the war that was what people did, take out mortgages for things. Luckily we managed to pay it all off at the prices that Father had taken it in, because they didn't revalue it. If they'd revalued it I wouldn't have recovered from that debt.
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danuta mniewska

I don't know when he left there, but after the war he received compensation and with that money they were able to buy a piece of land in Israel.
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Daniel Bertram

And that woman deceived me, offering me help with formal matters connected with compensation [financial compensation for being sent to the Soviet Union and for the forced work there during the war].
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Leon Glazer

My daughter told me where in Warsaw it is, and there, in that Institute, I found the book that was in Bielsko in 1945, and my name. Why did I go to the Institute? Because I wanted to have some extra documents made out, because all I had were those about that Ruff guy, the SS-man, and I wanted them to count me a longer period for the compensation, because there I only had that period from the camps. That time, in the Institute, my daughter found out that they issue certificates for that compensation for the Polish- German Reconciliation Fund. And I got compensation. The highest that you could get. I split it all between the children.
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I had a problem with them including that camp period towards my pension in another respect too. They told me that forced labor was not a concentration camp. They had a list of all the concentration camps and they had it written down that Pustkow was not counted as a concentration camp. I appealed against that decision and later an explanation came that it had been included. That meant a higher pension, because otherwise I would have had a shorter period of work and less compensation.
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Mieczyslaw Weinryb

I don’t take advantage of any re-compensation funds because I was never in any of the ghettos. I’m a member of the Association of Jewish Combatants, too. Three years ago I and some other combatants went to Germany. We were invited there by the Kolbe Foundation [Maxmilian Kolbe Werk: operates in Germany; its mission is offering aid to victims of concentration camps]. I feel a bit awkward about it. Kolbe was in a camp and he gave his life for another – that’s true, but before the war he was an anti-Semite. He even published these Jew-baiting newssheets. And they don’t know about Kolbe at all – about his pre-war activities. Life brings all sorts of surprises and people change their views, too, but to name a foundation after them just like that? Anyway, so they sent us an invitation in German and we went to meet them. We visited schools there. There were about 1,000 pupils and teachers there. One time they asked me to read something in Yiddish to them, so that they could compare if the language really is similar to German. So I read something by Sutzkever [31] .
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Aron Neuman

Einmal in der Woche gehe ich ins jüdische Alters-und Tagesheim, dem Maimonides-Zentrum. Dort sind viele alte Leute. Wir erzählen uns Witze, wir sprechen über Politik, über die Vergangenheit und werden dort gut betreut, haben Unterhaltung, Gesang, Tanz oder Gymnastik.

Zweimal im Jahr gehe ich in den Tempel, zu Rosch Haschana und zu Jom Kippur.
Einmal hat mich ein Bekannter zu ESRA [14] mitgenommen. Sie haben dort ein Interview mit mir gemacht und mich davon überzeugt, dass ich einen Antrag an die Claims Conference [15] stelle, weil ich einen Anspruch auf 250 Euro monatlich als Überlebender des Holocaust habe. Zuerst wollte ich diesen Antrag nicht stellen, ich brauche das Geld nicht unbedingt, und ich will nicht betteln. Im Dezember kam ein Brief aus New York, in dem sie mir mitteilten, dass mein Antrag einer von Tausende Anträgen ist und alle bearbeiten werden, ich muss Geduld haben. Aber eigentlich warte ich nur noch auf den Tod, so ist das, was kann man machen? Der Tod gehört zum Leben, und das Leben gehört zum Tod.
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sterreich ist eigentlich meine Heimat geworden. Ich habe in Österreich persönlich nie Antisemitismus erlebt. Ich benehme mich gut, und mich hat noch nie jemand angepöbelt, ich bin hier beliebt bei vielen Leuten, auch in dem Haus, in dem ich wohne.

Nach dem Tod meiner Frau war ich in Kattowitz. Ich traf einen Staatsanwalt, mit dem ich befreundet war, der hat mich bei sich aufgenommen und hat mich herumgeführt. Ich habe gesehen, wie verwahrlost es dort ist, und ich weiß, wie es einmal ausgesehen hat.

Einmal in der Woche gehe ich ins jüdische Alters-und Tagesheim, dem Maimonides-Zentrum. Dort sind viele alte Leute. Wir erzählen uns Witze, wir sprechen über Politik, über die Vergangenheit und werden dort gut betreut, haben Unterhaltung, Gesang, Tanz oder Gymnastik.

Zweimal im Jahr gehe ich in den Tempel, zu Rosch Haschana und zu Jom Kippur.
Einmal hat mich ein Bekannter zu ESRA [14] mitgenommen. Sie haben dort ein Interview mit mir gemacht und mich davon überzeugt, dass ich einen Antrag an die Claims Conference [15] stelle, weil ich einen Anspruch auf 250 Euro monatlich als Überlebender des Holocaust habe. Zuerst wollte ich diesen Antrag nicht stellen, ich brauche das Geld nicht unbedingt, und ich will nicht betteln. Im Dezember kam ein Brief aus New York, in dem sie mir mitteilten, dass mein Antrag einer von Tausende Anträgen ist und alle bearbeiten werden, ich muss Geduld haben. Aber eigentlich warte ich nur noch auf den Tod, so ist das, was kann man machen? Der Tod gehört zum Leben, und das Leben gehört zum Tod.
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Maurice Leon

I was never involved in Athens Jewish Community affairs, or in any other Jewish organization. On the contrary, my wife Yvette was fanatically involved in WIZO [39] and she still continues to be. I believe she is doing very well and I am supporting her with whatever she is involved with. [Editor's note: Mrs. Yvette Leon served for many years as president of the Greek Branch of WIZO.]

We never asked any compensation from any organization. We just once gave an interview to Spielberg's Foundation [40] on our life during the war, but I've never spoken again on how life used to be before the war in Thessaloniki.
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