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HistoryContemporary MacedoniaThe 1940s

The 1940s

The Second World War in the Occupation
The Resistance
The Greek civil-war
The Macedonian Question

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Jews of Thessaloniki
being sent to concentration camps
Black-and-white photograph of Jews of Thessaloniki waiting to board the trains to transport them to the concentration camps, 1943-1944.

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Despite its initial success in the war against Italy in 1940-41, Greece succumbed to the Nazi invasion. Greek-Macedonia was then divided and occupied by three powers: the Germans, who controlled central Macedonia including the vital region of Thessaloniki (the Jewish community of which they exterminated); the Italians, who took western Greece including a part of western Macedonia; and the Bulgarians.

Jews of Thessaloniki
being sent to concentration camps


After its entry into the war on the side of the Axis, Sofia received from Hitler the greatest part of Greek western Thrace and Greek eastern Macedonia. Later, after Italy's capitulation in 1943, it extended its control onto sections of Greek central Macedonia. The Germans also handed over to Bulgaria the greatest part of Yugoslav-Macedonia as well as a piece of eastern Serbia.

The Bulgarian occupation in Greece was extremely harsh, aiming at the expulsion of the Greek population and their replacement by Bulgarian settlers. Many Greeks were executed by the Bulgarian authorities, while others were forced to flee to the German- and Italian-occupied districts.

See Also
History - The Resistance (1941-1944)
The post-war period

Macedonian Heritage
Content courtesy Ekdotike Athenon S.A.