Andrew Apostolou

When Did Greek Jews Become Greek?
Review of Katherine E. Fleming’s Greece: A Jewish History


Fleming’s book is a largely chronological account of the creation of a Greek Jewish identity. The argument is that foreigners largely created the Greek Jewish identity and that the Holocaust completed the formation of a Greek Jewish identity. The author’s argument is problematic, because it ignores the efforts of Greek Jews to gain acceptance by the Greek state, is unsystematic in its use of evidence, and suffers from important factual errors. Also notable is the author’s approach to rabbinic leadership in Greece and the attitude to Israel. Certain evidence demonstrates that the Jews became Greek in an earlier time than Fleming’s findings show and substantially through their own efforts. The coverage of the Holocaust lacks coherence and does not tackle the issue of Greek Christian collaboration. The claim that the Holocaust made the Jews more Greek is counter-intuitive.