ATHENS, Greece — A teacher at a school in Greece has discovered the graduation certificates of 157 Jewish students who fled the city or were deported to Nazi death camps and, well over half a century late, plans to return them to the survivors or their descendants.
Antonio Crescenzi, a teacher at Italian School in the Greek city of Thessaloniki, found a trove of old documents by accident about a decade ago. After sorting through them he realized their significance, he told the Israeli Maariv daily.
He has recently managed to track some of the students and their descendants and plans to finally present them with their certificates in a special ceremony later this year, he said.
Thessaloniki, also known as Salonika, was a major center for Sephardic Jewry in the Balkans with a pre-war Jewish population of some 55,000. The Nazis deported nearly 50,000 Jews to Nazi death camps and only some 2,000 survived.
The documents discovered relate to students born between 1912 and 1928 who studied at the school, one of two Italian schools that operated in the port city before the war.