Thousands of Holocaust survivors were able to escape the genocide due to the efforts of the “Righteous Among the Nations”, so honored by Israel for risking their lives to protect and hide Jews in Europe during World War II.
355 non-Jewish Greeks have been recognized as saviors. Among them is 92 year old Melpomeni Dina, who, as a teenager, sheltered 5 Jewish siblings in the village of Veria, outside of thessaloniki. The Nazis continued their brutal executions of Jews in Northern Greece during the Occupation, and began deporting Jews in 1943. Most deportees were never heard from again. Dina and her two older sisters took the Mordechai family into their single room home, fed and clothed them for years, and helped them to flee safely to avoid deportation and death. After liberation, the Mordechai family was able to settle to Israel, and embrace a future of hope.
The Mordechais now have a large extended family, which welcomed Dina to Jerusalem to a reunion and celebration of the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous.
Dina was able to reconnect with survivors Yossi Mor and Sarah Yanais, and meet their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren in a moving ceremony of joy and love.
-This blog was written by Linda Reid, co-author of Deep Waters, a Sammy Greene thriller that takes place in Greece. Photos from an article in Israeli Times.