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The House by the Sea: A Portrait of the Holocaust in Greece Paperback – September 1, 1997

4.2 out of 5 stars 2 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Although this biography does not offer the wide scope that its subtitle promises, it does work as a look at one man's experience. Elia Aelion was from Salonika, a major Sephardic center that claimed a Jewish population of 56,000 before WWII. Of those, 96% died, but Aelion was one of the lucky few to survive. After a helpful introduction into the history of this era, Fromer (The Holocaust Odyssey of Daniel Bennahmias, Sonderkommando) jumps into a contrived first-person account: "I have not used a tape recorder, and we were not conducting interviews. In invoking the past, we spoke as the storytellers of old, without impediments, and in earnest to inform." Unfortunately she tells her subject's story with this same cloyingly artificial tone and thereby robs it of a more natural dignity and clarity. Still, the details are moving. Aelion lived a rather cloistered life as a child, mostly traveling from his grandparents' house (the idyllic family home mentioned in the title) to his own parents' house and to a private Jewish school. Eventually he moved from Salonika to Athens, and when the city became occupied by Germans he struggled across the mountains to reach free Greece. Photographs and small details of his family's daily life give individuality to an often incomprehensible loss, while informative sidebars help clarify the history.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Almost 90 percent of Greek Jews were killed in the Holocaust; of its pre-war population, less than 2,000 survived. The seaport city of Salonika was a center of Sephardic Jewish life and culture. By August 1943 the nineteenth and last transport to leave Salonika emptied the city of its Jews, and the following year the Jews of Athens and Korfu were sent to Auschwitz. Writing in the first person, Fromer chronicles the life of Elia Aelion, one of Salonika's few survivors. From 1939 to 1941, Aelion served in the Greek army. When it was defeated, he escaped to Athens, then he returned home to Salonika to aid his family and attempt to salvage the family business. Aelion again fled to Athens, and hid from the Germans until the city was liberated by British troops. Fromer, through Aelion, reminisces about his family, who perished in the Holocaust; gone, too, was his childhood house by the sea. His compelling book vividly recounts the horror of life in Greece during the Holocaust. George Cohen

Product details

  • Item Weight : 8.1 ounces
  • Paperback : 176 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1562791052
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1562791056
  • Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5 inches
  • Publisher : Mercury House; 1st edition (September 1, 1997)
  • Language: : English
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.2 out of 5 stars 2 ratings

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