02 November 2022
Yad Vashem mourns the passing of Moshe Ha-Elion, a Holocaust survivor from Thessaloniki, Greece and member of the Yad Vashem Directorate.
Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan said:
"We are saddened by the loss of another dear friend and colleague, Holocaust survivor Moshe Ha-Elion. Like many other survivors, Moshe, a proud Jew of Greek descent, dedicated his life to raising awareness of Jewish heritage and the fate of the Jews of Europe and North Africa during the Shoah. Just a few months ago, Moshe visited Yad Vashem to meet with the CEO of Pfizer, Mr. Albert Bourla, a fellow Greek Jew and child of Holocaust survivors. All present couldn't help but see Moshe's excitement and pride when the two Thessalonians were treated to a special concert of Ladino and Greek Jewish folk songs. The music truly lifted his spirits."
Born in 1925, Moshe received a traditional Jewish education and attended the city's Gymnasium (high school). After the Nazi invasion, he was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1943, where his entire family was murdered upon arrival. In January 1945, after surviving 21 months in Auschwitz, Moshe was forced on a death march in the freezing cold. He miraculously survived, and was later transferred to the Mauthausen, Malchow, and Ebensee concentration camps. He was eventually liberated in Austria by the US Army.
After the war, Ha-Elion immigrated to Eretz Israel (Mandatory Palestine), joining many thousands of Holocaust survivors in an effort not only to rebuild their lives but to become active partners in the most important communal endeavor of the Jewish people in the 20th century, the establishment of the State of Israel.
Moshe Ha-Elion enlisted in the IDF and served in the military, reaching the rank of colonel. He received an MA in Humanities, was an author of Ladino poetry and published a translation of Homer's The Odyssey from Greek to Ladino. Dedicated to preserving the memory of the Holocaust, Moshe was active in many survivor organizations. He headed the Association of Holocaust Survivors of Greek Origin in Israel, and was a volunteer member of the Yad Vashem Directorate.
Yad Vashem sends its deepest condolences to his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. May his memory be blessed.