“It Was Nothing…It Was Everything”

Rescuers and the Rescued Jews of Greece

Introduction and Discussion by Anna Wrobel

5 p.m., Thursday, March 26, Room 211, Wishcamper Hall, USM Portland

    This focus of this documentary is the rescue of Jewish fugitives in Greece during the Holocaust. Highlighting the almost total destruction of Greece’s Jewish community, the documentary combines archival footage and Ladino music along with interviews with rescuers, and with some who were rescued in Thessaloniki, Athens, Crete, and in other areas in the region. The film is in English and Greek with English sub-titles.

   Following the 45 minute documentary, Anna Wrobel will lead a discussion after a quick break for pizza.

   The city of Thessaloniki (also known as Salonika) housed a major Jewish community, mostly Eastern Sephardim, until the middle of the Second World War. Sephardic Jews immigrated to the city following their expulsion from Spain by Christian rulers (Ferdinand and Isabella) under the Alhambra Decree in 1492. Thessaloniki is the only known example of a city of its size in the Jewish diaspora that retained a Jewish majority for centuries.     

Anna Wrobel is an American historian, poet, Holocaust Studies educator and daughter of Polish Jewish refugees, a rescue partisan mother and Soviet soldier father. Her poetry and essays appear in Cafe Review, Lilith, Off the Coast and Jewish Currents, where she is a contributing writer. Anna has two poetry collections, Marengo Street (2012) and The Arrangement of Things (2018), published by Wrobel, con’t fr.  pg. 1 Maine’s Moon Pie Press. Her work has appeared in University of Maine’s Holocaust Human Rights Center art and poetry exhibit, Dilemma of Memory, and she’s presented for the Puffin Foundation on Jewish resistance in WWII. Anna’s poetry and teaching have been featured at the Maine Jewish Museum, Colby College, UMaine -Augusta, Jewish Community Alliance, University of Southern Maine’s OLLI classes and OLLI Sage Lectures series. Poems taken from her manuscript Sparrow Feathers: Second Generation/First Person are used by teachers in several U.S. states, Poland, Germany and the Mideast. Anna co-hosts the long running poetry series, Lowry’s Lodge, with musician/writer Jim Donnelly.

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