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"Salonica" (Film)

Paul Weinberg

Film, Global Culture & History

The ancient city of Thessaloniki, now called Salonica, was the center of Greek Jewry for 500 years, until it was destroyed by the Germans in World War II. Paolo Polini's film, "Salonica," documents the remnants of the once strong community, showing the survivors of the Holocaust who returned, and the very few Jewish children still living in this formerly "Judeo-Greek" community, which is today a city totally cleansed of its Jewish life and character. Until 1912, Salonica was part of the Ottoman Empire, with Jews constituting on e third of the population, and the other two thirds made up of Greeks, Turks, Slavs and other ethnic groups. The Jewish community, originally from Spain, maintained its distinct identity, speaking a Spanish Jewish dialect called Ladino. After the German takeover of 1941, aided by Greece's neighbors who like jackals plundered Jews' properties, the formerly cosmopolitan and open character of the city was replaced by a religio-nationalist policy, marking the Jews for eventual destruction and systematically marginalizing the Jewish community. After the War, when the small remnant of Greek Jewry returned to their homes, like much of Europe they were met with outright hostility. All traces of Greek Jewry were eliminated by the government. A prime example of this is the Jewish cemetery which today serves as the ground for Greece's second largest university. "Salonica" shows the Jewish remnant which hearkens back to its tragic history and its eventual dissolution.

Paul Weinberg


Paul Weinberg has owned Alden Films since 1984, which is a distributor of Jewish and Israeli films. Prior to that, he managed the Elmira Symphony and Choral Society, and produced concerts for the Queens Council on the Arts.

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