Interviewee: Mico Alvo
Title: The Council of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki
Place and Date: Thessaloniki, Greece - 1970s
This picture was taken when the Community Council signed the deal for the development of a large plot of the Community on Ptolemeos Street. First from the right, standing, is Benroubi, next to him, second from right, standing is Nahmias, the lawyer. Fifth from left, standing, with the mustache is Benousiglio, and fourth from left, standing is Alberto Saoul, who was also in the Landed Property Committee. First from the left, seated is Sakis Voutiras, the lawyer. I am third from left, standing. Behind me, second from left is Perahia, the general director of the Community.
Until the Colonels' Junta interfered, the Jewish Community's management was really in the hands of people who were taking advantage of it in a terrible way. All the people that were righteous didn't want to get involved because they would say, 'They are all thieves in there, trying to see who can get more in his pocket.' We were very busy, too. When you have to go to the shop in the morning and the evening you don't have time to get involved in other things such as communal affairs. We had good friends and great friends. I can say that most of them were Christian.
When the colonels came there was one of them that must have been a Jew who had left the army by then and was in the same class with Papadopoulos. He was from Yiannena [city in the region of Epirus, 370 km west of Thessaloniki] or Chalkida, I don't remember exactly which one. The colonels, when they were about to get involved in the community -because they put their hands into everything -asked him,: 'Who do you think should we put in charge there in order to have a good management?' He gave them a few names, mine was among them. Suddenly I get a notice saying that I am assigned to be a member of this committee for the Community. That's when I started getting involved with public affairs, and I have been since then and up until today.
At the beginning I was a member of the Landed Property Committee, together with three or four others, all of them business people. We did quite a good management not only with the Community's landed property, but we also looked for the landed property that was not yet in our possession, which we owned but which hadn't been regained yet. We had two lawyers who were involved solely with these issues. We managed to find quite a few. Things were quite confusing but we managed to clear them up. I stayed there from 1970 to 1972.
When the colonels left and we had elections, the electoral body chose 20 members for the general assembly of the Community. Elections take place every four years. At some point after the communal general assembly, I was assigned a post as advisor of the Community Council which consisted of five people. I was the cashier. Later, after four years, I was elected president of the General Assembly.