By Alekos Raptis and Thumios Tzallas
Translated by Marcia Haddad Ikonomopoulos
In the early morning hours [4:00 am] of the 25th of March 1944, German soldiers from the Wechrmacht, reinforced by Greek civil police, had surrounded the Jewish neighborhoods and had closed off the surrounding streets. Shortly before, a conference had taken place between the German administration of Ioannina and the administrator of the Greek civil police [the section responsible for security] on the way to carry out the operation.
This small attachment of the Wechrmacht, and the Greek civil police, invaded the Jewish homes and, with austere orders, required the inhabitants to abandon their dwellings, taking only 40-50 kilos of the barest necessities with them. The Jewish community of Ioannina was living its most tragic moments. Within each house, each family was living its own drama: pregnant women, children, newly married couples, and heads of families, all prepared themselves for their last voyage.