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'Whoever listens to a witness, becomes a witness.' – Elie Wiesel
When Nazi occupiers arrived in Greece in 1941, it was the beginning of a horror that would reverberate through generations. In the city of Salonica (Thessaloniki), almost 50,000 Jews were sent to Nazi concentration camps during the war, and only 2,000 returned. A Jewish doctor named Isaac Matarasso and his son escaped imprisonment and torture at the hands of the Nazis and joined the resistance. After the city's liberation they returned to rebuild Salonica and, along with the other survivors, to grapple with the near-total destruction of their community.
Isaac was a witness to his Jewish community's devastation, and the tangled aftermath of grief, guilt and grace as survivors returned home. Talking Until Nightfall presents his account of the tragedy and his moving tribute to the living and the dead. His story is woven together with his son Robert's memories of being a frightened teenager spared by a twist of fate, with an afterword by his grandson Francois that looks back on the survivors' stories and his family's place in history. This slim, wrenching account of loss, survival, and the strength of the human spirit will captivate readers and ensure the Jews of Salonica are never forgotten.
Dr Isaac Matarasso was born in Salonica in 1892, when the city was part of the Ottoman Empire. He studied medicine at the University of Toulouse, and published his thesis in 1917. He practised in Salonica until his arrest in 1943, and organised health services for the Jewish survivors after the German withdrawal. He moved to Athens in 1947, with his wife Andrée and son Robert, where he resumed medical practice until his death in 1958.