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Jaco Beraha poses with a friend in front of the citadel in Salonika

photo rights: United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

Jaco Beraha poses with a friend in front of the citadel in Salonika.Jaco (now Jack) Beraha is the son of Eliahu and Estrea (Benozilo) Beraha. He was born February 16, 1916 in Salonika, where his father was a candy manufacturer. Jaco had a brother Yehuda (Leon, b. 1912) and a sister Miriam (Marie, b. 1914). Jaco's mother died shortly after his birth. His father then married Benozilo's sister, Sol, and together they had three more children: Baruch, Samuel and Yehoshua Salvador. During the 1930s Jaco was an active member of the Betar Zionist youth movement in Salonika. After the German invasion of Greece in April 1941, the Beraha family soon felt the impact of the economic persecution of the Jewish community. During the occupation Jaco's sister Miriam married Samuel Rouben (October 1941), and his brother Yehuda married Victoria Sarfati (1943). On February 24, 1943 a ghetto was established in Salonika, and on March 15, the first of nineteen deportation transports was dispatched to Auschwitz. Before their scheduled transport Jaco, Miriam and her husband Samuel managed to escape from the Baron de Hirsch deportation assembly camp. After fleeing the camp, they found Samuel's car and drove to the Italian consulate. There, they were given Italian papers and train tickets to Athens. Once they reached the capital they made contact with the underground and were given false identification papers. Through a friend of Samuel's they met Dimoleon Lemone, a Greek Orthodox Christian who had lived in Turkey. As a former refugee, Lemone was sympathetic to their plight. He hid Jaco, Miriam and Samuel in his home in Piraeus for almost two years until the liberation. When the war was over, Jaco and Miriam found their half-brother Yeshua, the only other member of their family to have survived. The rest perished in Auschwitz.