Zana Saatsoglou Sadikario by the Forward

Auschwitz survivor among the first vaccinated in hometown of Pfizer’s CEO

Zana Sadikario-Saatsoglou, a Thessalonikan Jew and Holocaust survivor, became one of the first people in Greece to receive Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine on Tuesday.

98-year-old Sadikario-Saatsoglou received the vaccine at Thessaloniki’s Saul Modiano Old Age Home, which serves its Jewish community. Greece received nearly 10,000 doses of the vaccine in late December and began rolling them out shortly after the new year, to the elderly and first responders.

Pfizer’s CEO, Albert Bourla, is also from Thessaloniki. His parents, like Sadikario-Saatsoglou, survived Auschwitz.

Before the war, Bourla’s ancestors were part of Thessaloniki’s large Jewish merchant class and traded jewelry, diamonds and other gems across the Balkans, according to the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece.

Thessaloniki was once one of the most Jewish cities in the world: nearly half its population of 118,000 was Jewish around the turn of the 20th century, according to Ottoman censuses. Jews had lived in the city as far back as biblical times. That came to an end in the years of Zana’s youth: in 1943, the city’s Jewish population was deported to Auschwitz.

She was among the few who returned.

During the war, 45,000 Jews from Thessaloniki were sent to Auschwitz, according the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum; 5,000 are believed to have survived. Overall, 81% of Greek Jewry were murdered by the Nazis, a death rate rivaled only by major European Jewish centers like Poland and Lithuania.

Auschwitz survivor among the first vaccinated in Greece

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Auschwitz survivor among the first vaccinated in hometown of Pfizer’s CEO

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close