Mrs. Spoons retells a story told by Victor Davis Hanson on the National Review cruise a few months back:
He related that when he was a guest speaker at the University of Salonika in Greece recently, the assembled Greek students and professors gave Hanson all kinds of grief for the US’s invasion of Iraq and our support of “fascist” Jews in Israel. The decried America as a war-mongering destroyer of people, and they couldn’t imagine anyone supporting such actions.
Hanson paused, and then responded with what seemed to be a non-sequitur: “Do any of you know the history of this university, the University of Salonika?”
The group was a bit non-plussed, but had few replies. One or two knew it was built in the early fifties.
“Yes,” Hanson replied. “It was built entirely with American money, donated to the Greeks to help rebuild their shattered country after WWII, as part of the Marshall Plan. The very school you all attend was a gift from the country you’re reviling. But moreover, do you know why the land here in the middle of the city happened to be empty, and thus a perfect place to erect new buildings?”
His audience– upper-class, well educated Greeks, both young and old– had no idea.
“This area was empty,” Hanson explained, “because the citizens of Salonika bulldozed the Jewish cemetery that used to be here, right after they had shipped all their Greek Jews off to concentration camps to die.”
Silence from group. They had never been told this. They hadn’t known what their city had done during the German occupation. There was nothing anywhere to commemorate a Jewish cemetery, nor any sign that a whole community of Jewish Greeks had ever existed in the city, only sixty-odd years before.