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Liberty of the House

Rosa Miller interview by Dr. Carolyn Ellis

RM: We were more anxious, I guess. News from Europe used to come and be read with a lot of interest because we thought—we did not think that it would touch us, actually, in the beginning. But by the time things had taken place, we kind of knew that Greece would be involved, and it was occupied by the Germans, who at first didn’t do very much against the Jews. It was strange. I still remember the day they entered Salonika. We were behind the shutters—nobody was out in the streets—and then we saw the first motorcycle drive up; you know, the Germans would. And it was such a feeling, you know. It was a bad feeling, because we knew that nothing good would come out of it. 

CE: So were you and your family together watching from the window? 

RM: Yes. Yes.

CE: And you could—you saw?

RM: Nobody was out. Nobody was walking.

CE: You felt very anxious? Do you remember?

RM: Very much so, yes.

CE: And I guess your parents did as well.

RM: And then what happened is that the Germans didn’t have enough space to house their officers. They had barracks for the soldiers, but not for the officers. So they went from house to house, chose the best room in the house, and told the people that they would house a German officer and that they should give him the liberty of the house. So they did for us, too. They came, and we had a succession of sergeants who stayed in our house. Actually, my mother always told them from the very beginning that we were Jewish, in case they didn’t want to associate with us or they wanted to leave, maybe. Nobody, no German, ever reacted to it. That was very strange.