“Righteous Among the Nations” title awarded to Greek heroes who rescued Jews in Corfu during the Shoah

The title of “Righteous Among the Nations” from the Yad Vashem Foundation was awarded to Greek heroes who rescued Jews in Corfu during the Occupation.

The ceremony was held by the Ambassador of Israel to Greece Noam Katz at the Mantzaros Philharmonic Society in Corfu.

The medal and title of “Righteous Among the Nations” were awarded posthumously to Greek heroes Thomas and Antonis Kyriakis for rescuing the Jewish family of Shem Cohen during the Occupation.

The award was presented in the presence of members of the Kyriaki and Cohen families. The medal was received by Spyridoula Kyriakis, the granddaughter of Thomas Kyriakis and daughter of Antonis Kyriakis, while the certificate was received by Marina and Eleni Kyriakis, the two daughters of Dimitris Kyriakis, the other son of Thomas.

On June 9, 1944, approximately 1,600 Jews from Corfu, including the brothers of Semos Cohen, were deported to Auschwitz. Semos Cohen, his wife, and children fled to the village of Valaneio, where they sought refuge with Dimitris Kosteletos but were turned away. They then met Thomas Kyriakis and his son Antonis, who sheltered them until the end of the war. The family hid in a cave and later a hut near a monastery, receiving food and newspapers from the Kyriakises. Despite close encounters with German patrols, including a near-fatal incident, they remained undetected thanks to forged identity cards and the villagers’ silence. After the war, the Cohen family returned to Corfu, with Moise later immigrating to the USA while his parents and sisters stayed in Greece.

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