Deportation of the Jews of Ioannina
While detained, [Dr. Moses Koffinas] learned of German plans to deport Jews, and smuggled a note out to Sabetai Kabelis, a prominent member of the Jewish Community Board, advising the Jews to flee.
Unfortunately, Kabelis chose not to relay the warning to the Jews of Ioannina, and on March 25, 1944, the entire Jewish community of 1,860 people, including Kabelis himself, was deported to Auschwitz-Birkenau. Kabelis realized too late his error in judgement.
In September 1943, after the Italian collapse, the Germans turned their attention to the Jews of Athens and the rest of formerly Italian-occupied Greece. There their propaganda was not as effective, as the ancient Romaniote Jewish communities were well-integrated into the Orthodox Greek society and could not easily be singled out from the Christians, who in turn were more ready to resist the German authorities' demands. The Archbishop of Athens Damaskinos ordered his priests to ask their congregations to help the Jews and sent a strong-worded letter of protest to the collaborationist authorities and the Germans. Many Orthodox Christians risked their lives hiding Jews in their apartments and homes, despite threat of imprisonment. Even the Greek police ignored instructions to turn over Jews to the Germans. When Jewish community leaders appealed to Prime Minister Ioannis Rallis, he tried to alleviate their fears by saying that the Jews of Thessaloniki had been guilty of subversive activities and that this was the reason they were deported. At the same time, Elias Barzilai, the Grand Rabbi of Athens, was summoned to the Department of Jewish Affairs and told to submit a list of names and addresses of members of the Jewish community. Instead he destroyed the community records, thus saving the lives of thousands of Athenian Jews. He advised the Jews of Athens to flee or go into hiding. A few days later, the Rabbi himself was spirited out of the city by EAM-ELAS fighters and joined the resistance. EAM-ELAS helped hundreds of Jews escape and survive, many of whom stayed with the resistance as fighters and/or interpreters.
In total, at least 81% (ca. 60,000) of Greece's total pre-war Jewish population perished, with the percentage ranging from Thessaloniki's 91% to 'just' 50% in Athens, or even less in other provincial areas such as Volos (36%). In the Bulgarian zone, death rates surpassed 90%. In the notable case of the Ionian island of Zakynthos, all 275 Jews survived, being hidden in the island's interior.