Yiorgos and Magdalini Mitzeliotis

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Yiorgos and Magdalini Mitzeliotis with their daughter, 1950, Copyright http://www.yadvashem.org/

Yiorgos Mitzeliotis was the mayor of Glossa, a village on Skopelos Island, Greece. In April 1943, after the mass deportations from Thessaloniki had begun, he received a telegram from his friend Jacques Leon. The telegram was addressed to Sotirios Mitzeliotis, though no one in the village had that forename. However, there was only one person in the village with the surname Mitzeliotis, so to the mayor it was delivered.

Since Sotirios translates as “rescuer,” Yiorgos figured Jacques must be in trouble and needed someone to rescue him. Yiorgos went to Thessaloniki and provided Jacques with a fake ID card. The pair left Thessaloniki by bus, travelling first to Epanomi, and then went the rest of the way to Glossa by sailboat. During these several days of travel, there was the constant fear of being caught by Nazis.

Glossa, Copyright Georgios Pazios (Alaniaris)

Once Jacques had reached Glossa, Yiorgos’s wife, Magdalini, warmly welcomed him, as did Yiorgos’s sister and brother-in-law, Magdalini and Stefanos Korfiatis. All four took Jacques under their wings, protected him, and saw to his every need. Yiorgos later went to Athens, then in the Italian zone, to check up on the rest of Jacques’s family. At the time of this visit, they were doing relatively well considering, but everything changed after September 1943, when the Germans occupied Athens. Refugees from Thessaloniki, like Jacques’s family, were particularly vulnerable.

Yiorgos and his Magdalini decided to bring everyone in Jacques’s family to Glossa, and they arrived in October 1943. The fourteen people were split up among various huts in the village, so as not to arouse suspicions. The other villagers shared their food and water, and never ratted them out to the occupying authorities.

On 28 May 1981, Yiorgios, his wife Magdalini, his sister Magdalini, and his brother-in-law Stefanos were honored as Righteous Among the Nations.

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