Voice/Vision Holocaust Survivor Oral History Archive

Bella Camhi - November 18, 1999

Jewish Population of Salonika

Hm. So do you have any idea how large, how many people Salonika was?

Jewish people? Uh, a hundred thousand.

You think a hundred thousand. Out of a total of how many?

Salonika was the biggest uh, population of uh, Jews. Uh, and then it was Athens. And then the small city you gotta find them with a bullet. [laughs]

[laughs] Uh, how large was the whole city, you think?

Oh, a little bigger than Israel.

The city, the number of...

I mean, Salonika. You see, don't forget, Salonika was to be the capi...supposed to be the capital of Greece. But since we have the port, so they gave it to Athens. So now Athens is the capital. I mean, it's been for years.

So there's a port in Salonika.

Right, right.

D...d...do you remember if the Jews worked in the port?

I don't know. I don't remember.

Um... First of all, you know... Oh, it's so hard. When you don't have anything to ???, this is not where you are.


You were waiting when my dad didn't have the shopping bag, we were lost. Means no...

No food.

No food, dinner tonight.

So even on Shabbos there was no...

Oh no, we had beans and rice every Saturday.


Every Saturday. Fijone con arroz or con pollo. But I never see is. This is why I don't like meat. I hate chicken, I hate meat.

Why is that?

Because we never had it. We couldn't afford it, so.

So it was--Fijones con arroz...

We, we can never--my dad used to raise the chickens you know, just to make an extra drachma, whatever. A--I was young, you know. Listen, uh, I still remember as far back as five years old. But it was nothing I could have done.

Fijones con arroz and...

And arroz con pollo.

And arroz con pollo. And huevos.

And huevos con queso. Yeah, the hard-boiled eggs. It was...

And they were brown.

And the wine. Brown.


We used to make them with the peels of onion, onion peels. Yeah. But I'm going to tell you one thing. Seeing this situation here today, everybody should be poor for awhile.

Why is that?

Because you appreciate better. And you don't take advantage of what you have. I mean, I might say a hundred times a day, God bless America. I don't know what was going to be for me when I left that town eighteen years old.

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