Melbourne Seminar to Portray Misery of a Starving Greece Under Nazi Occupation

Greek Jews from Ioannina being sent to Auschwitz in 1944. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Violetta Hionidou, aProfessor of Modern European History at Newcastle University, will present an online lecture about Greece under the years of Nazi occupation on Thursday, October 8th.

The lecture, part of the Greek Community of Melbourne’s Greek History and Culture seminar series, is titled Famine and Death in Occupied Greece.

Greeks lived under Nazi occupation from 1941-1944 during the Second World War. Damage to Greece’s infrastructure and economy from the war and blockades that prevented importation of vital foodstuffs led to the Great Famine in the country in the winter of 1941 into 1942.

German occupying forces also retaliated against the armed Greek Resistance and leftist movements by burning down entire fields and villages, only worsening the conditions in the long-suffering country.

Repeated famines struck the country until the very end of the occupation. Hundreds of thousands of Greeks are thought to have died from starvation or malnutrition during the Nazi occupation of Greece.

Greek Jews, once an integral and historic community in the country, were almost completely wiped out during the years of occupation. It is estimated that 83% of Jewish Greeks were killed by the Nazis. Many of their victims were from Thessaloniki, home to a historic Jewish population that made up over half of the city’s residents in the late 19th century.

Professor Hionidou. Credit: AHEPA

Professor Hionidou will examine what led to the Great Famine, which regions were most impacted, and how the Greek people coped with the tragic conditions brought about by the brutality of the Nazis.

Professor Hionidou studies a range of important aspects of Greek history, including the Great Famine, reproduction and contraception in Greece and family histories. She has also created an online database to help Greeks uncover the stories of their ancestors.

The fascinating lecture will take place on Zoom at 7 PM Sydney time, 11 AM Athens time.