Jewish Partisans in Greece | Facing History & Ourselves

Jewish Partisans in Greece

Learn how Greek Jews were active in the partisan resistance movement during World II, despite the presence of German forces in Greece.
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English — US


  • History
  • The Holocaust

Scholars at the Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation offer this context for Jewish partisan activity in Greece:

Despite the deportations of Greek Jews to concentration camps, Jews were active in all the various Greek partisan groups. Many college and university students from Athens joined the National Liberation Front and carried out attacks on German-held munitions ships moored at Greek ports. As many as 600 Jews were members of ELAS, the Greek People’s Liberation Army, a left-wing partisan force, and Greek Jewish partisans often served as medical officers in their partisan units.

Greek Jewish partisans also mobilized resistance in their towns and villages, forming ties with other Greek partisans. Jewish partisans in Greece were typically welcomed into Greek partisan units without prejudice. 

In 1943 and 1944, up to 1,000 Greek Jews fought as partisans. An underreported story of partisan activity in Greece is the role of women. According to the Jewish Women’s Archive,

World War II [in Greece] opened a new chapter in warfare with the appearance of women fighters, particularly in the Communist-dominated partisan movements. While there were some hard-core Communists among them, many of the women were socialist-leaning educated girls who recruited village girls or were themselves refugees from Axis persecution.

According to the Jewish Museum of Greece, “From 1941 to 1944, at least 63 Jews were killed fighting as partisans or were executed for their participation in the resistance and a further 76 were executed in reprisal actions.”

How to Cite This Reading

Facing History & Ourselves, "Jewish Partisans in Greece," last updated May 12, 2020.

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