600 Days In Hiding: A Jewish Family in Nazi-Occupied Thessaloniki, Greece

by Andreas Algava with Daniel Levine
For Passion Publishing Company LLC

"Seven trains have left for Auschwitz-Birkenau. Another will leave today."

Written by a Jewish survivor of World War II, this is a realistic, stirring, day-by-day account. The author was just a baby when his parents Henri and Allegra—Sephardic Jews whose family had lived peacefully in Greece for generations—were forced into hiding after the Nazis took over the country. They gradually understood the implacable horrors of the regime. For example, at one point hundreds of the Jewish men were systematically tormented and clubbed on the streets by Nazi soldiers while their Greek neighbors watched. No longer able to do business or even shop, Jews wearing yellow stars were forced into ghettoes and then onto trains. The Algava clan found a place to hide on the outskirts of the city—one room, which they later shared with another, larger family. Theirs was one of only three Jewish families in Thessaloniki that survived the war; thousands more were starved out, executed, or sent to death camps.

Based on personal interviews, Algava’s reportage is his tribute to his courageous parents who had to constantly find new ways to hide and disguise themselves. This harrowing story, backed up with photographic evidence and other records of the Nazi occupation, is written in simple, conversational style, underscoring the talents, ingenuity, and grit of the couple. Once forced to watch a Christian “celebration” of the burning of a Jewish “Christ killer” in effigy, and once brought to tears by seeing that a dog had more freedom than his own family, Henri is depicted by his son as unbelievably gutsy and Allegra as someone who believes she can save not only her children but the whole world. Frightening, disturbing, and deeply thought-provoking, this is a laudable tribute to the Algava family and others like them who endured persecution of a type and degree that the world has rarely seen.

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