Israelis visiting Greece will soon be able to gain insight into the history of Greek Jewish communities through an app currently being developed by the Bar-Ilan University.
The new Hebrew-language smartphone application aims to offer historical information on the Jewish communities that once thrived in Thessaloniki, Athens, and Corfu, among others, and that were lost during the Holocaust.
Users will have the chance to hear testimonies of 62 Holocaust survivors as well as provide access to important historical material and other evidence collected over the last 35 years.
“It’s our commitment,” said Shmuel Refael, son of Greek Holocaust survivors. “The witnesses are no longer with us, so we must revive their voices. We simply have no choice but to expand our long-term memory.”
Refael, director of the Naime and Selim Salti Institute for Ladino Research at Bar-Ilan University, is heading the project, developed jointly with Microfocus.
The app will provide testimonies of those who survived and lived to tell.
In the meantime, the northern port city of Thessaloniki, home to a major Jewish community, mostly Eastern Sephardic, is establishing the six-storey Holocaust Museum and Education Center for Human Rights, set to open this year. Thessaloniki retained a Jewish majority for centuries.
The 7,000m2 Holocaust Museum, initially budgeted at 22 million euros and to be partly funded by Germany and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation, is located near the old train station where Thessaloniki Jews would board to be transported to concentration camps. Approximately, 96 percent of the city’s 50,000 Jews died in Nazi camps.