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Joe Levy you are not alone – conversation in the Metsovo hotel with new Israeli friends

Tom Winnifrith
Saturday 3 July 2021

I have written before about Olaf’s godfather Joe. In his mother’s stomach, he left Corfu just in time in 1941 when the Italians were in charge, heading to Egypt and then to Israel before washing up in England. Those Jews who did not get out in time were shipped out by the Germans en masse, when the Hun took over from the Italians, first to Piraeus then, by train, to Auschwitz.

2,000 Jews lived in Corfu before the war. It was a centuries-old community. Now there are fewer than 100 there and most of those are Russian emigres. I mention this only because as I tapped away in the hotel lobby here in Metsovo, I got chatting to an Israeli couple. This was their third trip to Greece and their first had been to Corfu.

The chap was also like Joe, a Corfiot of sorts. His father, as a child, had fled with his parents to Egypt for there was a big Greek community in Alexandria. And then, after the creation of Israel as life in the Arab world became markedly less enjoyable for the Jews, this family like that of Joe went on to the promised land.

The chap said that in Israel, life is always so hectic and that he enjoyed the Greek pace of life. I discussed getting things done “avrio” and wondered how the cleaning of the pool back at the Greek Hovel was going. I suspect it is happening at a Greek pace which means that there is no rush to end this road trip. Next up for we Byron-o-philes it is Zitsa.

One day Joe you must come here with me.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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