'Behind the List" 75th Commemorative  Programmeof Workshops on Jewish Rhodes, 24 July 2019

In July 1944, a small team of SS-men from Adolf Eichmann’s so-called ‘Jewish Desk’  Department IVB IV and based in Athens, together with the help of the Italian Carabinieri and units of the German Army Field Police and Secret Field Police on Rhodes, organised and carried out the deportation to Auschwitz of the Jews of Rhodes and Cos. This once-thriving community was destroyed in a single act. In order to carry out this violence, from the early spring, the Italian authorities had been compiling a list of all the Jews residing on the islands. Only a single copy of the list from Rhodes, but not Cos, has survived. This list comprising 1,661 names is organised by family and is the starting point for our discussion of Jewish Rhodes and Cos before, during and after the deportation to Auschwitz.Today, because of the discovery of once lost documentation, the use of modern digitization, and critical analysis, we are in a position to reconstruct some of the lives behind this list. One of the key aimsof this commemorative program is to enable members of the Diaspora to piece together the material fragments and family stories that make up the memories of the dead and how this connects to contemporary identity.

Each workshop is approximately 1.15 hours duration. We envisage each presenter to speak for around 30 minutes maximum, thus allowing time for participants to discuss/question aspects of each presentation. Our aim throughout the program is to serve some usefulness to the diasporic community in its search for the life of the Community and families before and during the Deportation. 


1)Between Nostalgia and Despair: Jewish Rhodes before and after the Deportation (AnthonyMcElligott) 

This workshop/talk presents a general background to the more detailed workshops that follow. Here, we will reflect on Jewish life in Rhodes as it appears through the lens of family histories, narratives and interviews, before going on to explore how much of the nostalgia for Jewish Rhodesthat emerges from these accounts is either corroborated or not by archival documentation scattered in archives across the world. The talk will conclude on the Deportation itself, its planning, timing and those responsible.

10.15-11. 30

2)  Connecting the dots: Primary Sources for the History of Jewish Community of Rhodes (VadimAltskan)

The presentation will focus on the overview of archival collections and other historical resources (historical photos, oral history etc) pertaining to the history of the Jewish community of Rhodes before, during and immediately after WWII.  The main purpose of this presentation is to showcase these resources and to demonstrate how by using these materials, descendants of the Rhodesli Jews could learn about the history of the community and their own family history. 



3)'Behind the List': Jews in the Carabinieri Archive (Marco Clementi)

The recent discovery of the 100,000 files of the secret archive of the Carabinieri (1932-`945) has opened radically new pathways to studying the ‘hidden’ life of Jewish Rhodes. Professor Marco Clementi has catalogued these files and has intimate knowledge of their contents. His workshop will show how we can read and glean important insights into Jewish Rhodes from the files.

13.00-13.45 LIGHT LUNCH


4) ‘The trauma and memory of the Holocaust’: Family Narratives and Experiences across the Generations (MilenaCosentino/Patrick Ryan) 

The aim of this workshop is to discuss the trauma and memory of the Holocaust in Rhodes and Cos against the background of historical and contemporary issues related to genocide, anti-Semitism, collective memory and identity. The link between history and psychology can have a significant part to play in helping Rhodesli Jews around the world to come to terms with their very difficult past involving traumatic events.




5) The Great Synagogues of Rhodes and the Great Synagogue of Vilna: Geoscience and Archaeology and the Aftermath of the Holocaust(Richard Freund)

Prof Freund and his geoscience team from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and Duquesne University in the USA have been working since 2015 in Rhodes, Greece and Vilnius, Lithuania on the ancient synagogues there. Using Ground Penetrating Radar and digital mapping we have revealed ancient destroyer layers of synagogues in virtually the same locations. The results have shown that there are multiple earlier strata preserved below the present level of destruction. In the case of the Great Synagogue of Vilna the Lithuanian government has encouraged a complete excavation of the earlier iterations of the synagogue there and is forming a museum around the site. Prof Freund will review the state of his team’s research on the Kahal Grande, Kahal Shalom and an even earlier proposed synagogue site closer to the port and behind the Old Jewish cemetery. 


6) Workshop: Roundtable: What we now know (Members of the Diaspora/Team)

In this final workshop, participants will have the opportunity to discuss with members of the team various aspects and/or themes relating to Jewish Rhodes that have emerged over the course of the day.

Academic Team Profiles: 

Dr.Vadim Altskan  United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, is Senior Project Director, International Archival Programs, the Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies, United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Dr.Altskandirects archival research and development of digital collections on the history of Jewish communities and the Holocaust in 22 countries, covering Balkans, Baltics, Caucasus, Central Asia, and Eastern Europe, including Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia. He is considered to be one of the leading practitioners in his field and has lectured internationally on sources for studying the Holocaust.

Milena Cosentino PhD Cand., Department of History/Department of Psychology, University of Limerick, is a trained psychologist from Brazil who is currently completing a PhD on Holocaust trauma and memory across generations with specific reference to the Rhodesli diaspora. She previously carried out and published a study of a small neighbourhood Sephardi community in Rio de Janeiro.

Professor Marco Clementi, University of Calabria has published widely on war, politics and society in the twentieth century. In 2015 he published (together with the Director of the Dodecanese Archive, Irene Tolios) the only up-to-date study of the Jewish Community in Rhodes Gliultimiebrei di Rodi. Leggirazziali e deportazioninelDodecanesoitaliano (1938-1948) (The Last Jews of Rhodes: Racial Law and Deportation in the Italian Dodecanese (1938-1948).

Professor Richard Freund,is the Director of the Maurice Greenberg Center for Judaic Studies and Greenberg Professor of Jewish History at the University of Hartford. He has directed six archaeological projects in Israel and three projects in Europe on behalf of the University including: Bethsaida, Qumran, the Cave of Letters, Nazareth, Yavne, HarKarkom (Mount Sinai) as well as archaeological projects in Burgos and Cadiz, Spain and a research project at the extermination camp at Sobibor, Poland. He has authored six books on archaeology, two books on Jewish ethics, over one hundred scholarly articles and has appeared in fifteen television documentaries.

Professor Anthony McElligott, Department of HistoryUniversity of Limerick/Humboldt University in Berlin is an internationally renowned historian of Weimar and Nazi Germany and of the Holocaust, recently editing (with Jeffrey Herf, University of Maryland), Antisemitism before and since the Holocaust: Altered Contexts and Recent Perspectives (Palgrave: New York, London, 2017).  His book, The Last Transport: The Holocaust in the Eastern Aegean the first study in English on the Holocaust in Rhodes and Cos and based on extensive archive sources will be published by Bloomsbury, London in late 2019.

Dr.Patrick Ryanis the Director of the Doctoral Programme in Clinical Psychology at the University of Limerick, Ireland.  He is a graduate of The Queens University of Belfast.  A clinical psychologist for 17 years, he has a particular interest in the area of life span development and its contribution to understanding family relations. He has published on children and trauma related to violent events and how trauma can transcend the life of the victim to affect family members and community. He regularly advises the authorities dealing with such cases in Ireland and internationally.