“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.

Annual Social and Cutting of the Vasilopita Thursday, January 16, 2020

You are invited – bring a friend. Continuing with the Greek New Year’s tradition of individuals and organizations cutting the Vasilopita, we will hold our annual Social and Cutting of the Vasilopita from 5 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, January 16, 2020 at Tiqa, 327 Commercial Street. The Vasilopita is either a sweet bread or cake that has a special coin baked inside. Whoever finds the coin in their slice has good luck for the year. Join us for a drink (cash bar), and we will provide some tasty mezedes, and maybe you’ll get the coin!

Greek Cooks

February 5, 2019

Greek Cooks Panel “The Flavors of Greece” with Bill Doukas,…A Girl in Black Dir.: Michael Cacoyiannis , Greece, 1956 Sunday, February 3, 3 PM, USM Portland Campus, Talbot Auditorium, Luther Bonney Hall A talented but unsuccessful writer (Dimitri Horn) visits the sun-drenched island of Hydra for a short holiday and takes up residence in the large, neglected house of an impoverished widow. On the day of his arrival, the woman and her family are publicly disgraced when she is caught in the arms of a lover. The bitter persecution that follows arouses the sympathy and concern of the young writer who falls in love with the widow’s timid daughter Marina (Ellie Lambetti). But bitter feuds and rivalries stand in the way of their happiness together, and the couple finds themselves the targets of local hostility. Shot in eight weeks on a limited budget and using only one camera, A Girl In Black brought international attention to the Greek film industry, directory Michael Cacoyiannis and its star Ellie Lambetti. (From the Back Cover of DVD). Greek w/English sub-titles. 100 minutes.March 10, 2019

Stratos Efthymiou Consul General of Greece in Boston to Speak “US-Greek Relations in a Challenging Regional Context ”

5 p.m., Thursday, January 31,
7th Floor Events Room, Glickman Library, USM Portland

Strratos Efthymiou Consul GeneralStratos Efthymiou will talk about his work as Consul General of Greece in Boston and his country’s regional challenges, initiating a discussion about Greece and developments in the Balkans and Eastern Mediterranean.

Stratos Efthymiou is a career diplomat working for the Hellenic Ministry of Foreign Affairs. From early 2016 to September 2017 he was the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Director of its Information & Public Diplomacy Department. As Spokesperson he was part of the Greek negotiating team in the UN Conferences on the Cyprus issue in Geneva and in Crans Montana.

He was also responsible for the public diplomacy and the social media of the Greek Foreign Ministry and for the communication aspects of international events such as the Ancient Civilization’s Forum and the two Rhodes Conferences for Security and Stability in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Hellenic Society of Maine Spring 2019

The Hellenic Society of Maine Spring 2019 edition has been published (Click Here for the electronic version) and if you are on our mailing list you should have received a copy.  If you are not on our mailing list please send us an email at info@HellenicSocietyOfMaine.org or subscribe to this webpage to receive notifications.

Film: “Z” by the director Costa-Gavras

Location: USM Portland Campus, Talbot Auditorium, Luther Bonney Hall
Time: Sunday, November 4, 3 PM,

Previously shown in the first Hellenic Society Film Series 14 years ago! A landmark political thriller, this film won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Film in 1969. Costa-Gavras gives us a top-class, fast paced directed film which hasn’t aged. The movie tells the true story of the routine investigation into the seemingly accidental death of a Greek pacifist leader. It uncovers a web of violence and terrorism that implicates an entire government in its conspiracy to murder an honest man. “…one of the fastest, most exciting melodramas ever made…never loses emotional contact with the audience” (Pauline Kael, The New Yorker). Starring Jean-Louis Trintignant, Jacques Perrin, Yves Montand and Irene Papas. In French with English subtitles. 127 minutes.

Worlds oldest intact shipwreck discovered in Black Sea

A 75 feet ancient shipwreck has been found in Black Sea in over 1.6 miles of water, according the Guardian newspaper. The lack of oxygen in such a depth preserved this shipwreck in tact with mast, rudders, and rowing benches. This is the oldest ship found and is believed to be 2400 years old. The documentary team has made a two-hour film that is due to be shown at the British Museum … (Full article)