“At Home In Exile”
Ladino Music from Salonica, the Greek Jerusalem
  1. Anixi Sti Saloniki/Primavera en Salonico (Spring In Salonica) by Savina Yannatou (Σαβίνα Γιαννάτου) [2:26]
  2. Psila Ine to Feggari (The Moon Is High) by Savina Yannatou (Σαβίνα Γιαννάτου) [2:50]
  3. Adonay Malakh – Psalm 93 by Congregation of the Ioannina synagogue [2:08]
  4. Tora Ta Pulia (Now the Birds) by Anna Raphael [2:30]
  5. Purim Purim by M. Cohen [1:25]
  6. Thessaloniki mou (Θεσσαλονικη μου) (My Thessaloniki) by Vagelis Trikas (Βαγγέλης Τρίγκας) [3:37]
  7. To Gri Gri – Tsifte Telli (Little Fishing Boat) by Roza Eskanszi (Ρόζα Εσκενάζυ) [3:22]
  8. Tou Psara O Yios – Serviko (The Fisherman’s Son) by Roza Eskanszi (Ρόζα Εσκενάζυ) [3:15]
  9. Miserlou by the Klezmer Conservatory Band [4:19]
10. Misirlou by Manolis Agelopoulos [3:59]
11. Nihtose Horis Fengari (Νύχτωσε χωρίς φεγγάρι) by Stela Haskil [3:30]
12. Et Sha’are Ratzon: A Moment of Grace (Time to the Gates of Salvation to Open) by A. Negrin [3:17]
13. Who Are You? by The Gerard Edery Ensemble [3:33]
14. Ya Salió de la Mar la Galana by The Gerard Edery Ensemble [3:17]
15. Morena Me Llaman by The Gerard Edery Ensemble[4:31]
16. El Incendio de Salonica (The Fire of Salonica) by David Saltiel [4:11]
17. La Galana y la Mar (The Bride and the Sea) by David Saltiel [2:31]
18. La Huérfana del Prisionero (The Orphan of the Prisoner) by David Saltiel [5:03]
19. Etsi In’ I Zoi (That’s the Way Life Goes) by Marinella [2:25] - http://vodpod.com/watch/2839725-marinella-this-is-how-life-is
Before World War II, Sephardic “otherness” and resulting distance from the traditional Greek Orthodox community characterized the Salonican Greek Jew identity.  Despite the fact that the Ottoman handover of Salonica to the Greeks resulted in a mass effort to “make the city Greek” in the years leading up to World War I, Greek Jews were never really considered fully “Greek” by their non-Greek counterparts (Mazower 2004: 377).  It was not until Greek Jews were sent to Auschwitz-Birkenau that their Greek identity usurped their Jewishness.   The vast majority of Jews interned at Auschwitz were Ashkenazim.  The linguistic commonalities between Yiddish and German facilitated communication with their captors, but Greek Jews who spoke a multitude of languages (Ladino, Hebrew, Greek, Spanish, etc.) but not the “mother tongue” faced increased hardship (Sevillas 1983:35).  While the Greeks suffered in trying to overcome the language barrier, “testimony after testimony indicates that the one thing about the Greeks for which the German guards had any appreciation was their music” (Fleming 2007:24).  German guards repeatedly requested impromptu performances from the Greek prisoners.  They sang Greek “folk songs, Greek patriotic songs,” and on one occasion even “Greek Christmas songs” to herald in the New Year 1944 (Fleming 2007:24).  The Germans enjoyed the spirited, “exotic” Mediterranean tunes without knowing that oftentimes the Greek singers would change the lyrics to “blow off steam” (Fleming 2007:24).  This song, the final track on the CD, was often sung in the concentration camp, sometimes with its original lyrics, sometimes with circumstantially altered ones.  The title, however, always remained the same: “That’s the way life goes.”  Indeed, for many Greeks, it was this music that kept life going.

On April 9, 1941, 450 years after the first wave of Judaeo-Spanish outcasts fled Spain, German troops occupied Salonica and promptly began the process of targeting and harassing the city’s Jewish population.  The city, which had been deemed “one of the main Jewish centres” by one of Adolf Hitler’s closest “researchers,” was soon emptied of 98% of its Jewish population (Mazower 2004:410).  Soon after, all but a handful of the 45,000 Salonican deportees died at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp (Mazower 2004: 411).  Upon release, most survivors immigrated to Israel or the United States.  The few who returned to Thessaloniki have tried to revive the city’s Jewish population by disseminating information about its vast, diverse Jewish history, but as can been seen (or not seen) from the cursory histories provided to modern tourists, there is still much of the story to tell.

Etsi In’ I Zoi (Έτσι είναι η ζωή) (That’s the Way Life Goes) by Marinella

The words of a popular Greek song, "Etsi in' i zoi" [That's the way life goes], were also altered to reflect life in the camp. The song "From Saloniki to Auschwitz" describes the train journey to the death camp. It was written in Auschwitz by David Haim and set to the music of a friend who had formerly played at Jewish weddings in Salonica. 

After the war, several songs were written to commemorate people killed in the Holocaust. A memorial poem, "Siniza i fumo" [Ash and smoke], with words by Avner Perez set to music by Daniel Akiva, was composed in 1986. In 1998, Moshe HaElyon, a survivor from Salonica, wrote "La hermana en Auschwitz" [The girl in Auschwitz] in memory of his younger sister and family who were all killed in the death camp. A rock disk in Hebrew, "Efer veAvak" [Ashes and dust], dealing with the problems faced by the second generation, made a significant impact on the Israeli public. It was written and composed by sons of Auschwitz survivors - Yehuda Poliker, whose father was from Salonica, and Yaakov Gilad, whose mother was from Poland.

Alternative lyrics:

Τη φυλακή εγώ δεν ήξερα / και τώρα τη γνωρίζω
Μες στο κελί γυρίζω / τους τοίχους αντικρίζω.
Όλα στο νου μου έρχονται: / τα γέλια κι οι αγάπες
Όλα γίνηκαν στάχτες στο τρένο της ζωής.

Έτσι είναι η ζωή, κορίτσια,/ πάντα έτσι είναι η ζωή
Νάμεστε κλεισμένες μες στο Αούσβιτς.
Νιάτα που περνούν, χαρές που φεύγουν / πίσω δεν γυρνούν.
Κορίτσια, κάντε υπομονή, θα βγουμε
Από το Αούσβιτς.

I didn’t know prison, now I do
Trapped in the cell, I stare at the walls
All comes back to my mind, the laughter and the loves
All became ashes, on the train of life.

That’s the way life goes, girls, that’s the way life always goes
For us to be closed up in Auschwitz.
Youth that passes, joys that leave and don’t come back.
Girls, be patient, we’ll get out
Of Auschwitz.

Translated by Katherine Fleming