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Alhanati, David

ALHANATI, DAVID

ALHANATI, DAVID (1908–1990), Greek attorney and community activist. Alhanati was born in Athens to a mixed Romaniote/Sephardi family from Ioannina and Larisa. He studied law at the University of Athens and from 1935 until 1942 he was legal advisor to the Jewish Communities of Greece and served on its board. During World War ii, he fought in the Greek army on the Albanian front in 1940–41, was arrested by the Italians in 1942 as a prominent member of the Athenian Jewish community, and during the German occupation from September 24, 1943, went into hiding in the mountains and found refuge with a Greek friend in Pirgos until the liberation. Previously, he had assisted Rabbi Barzilai when he was pressed to hand over community lists to the Germans, and burned the Athenian community Jewish archives.

In 1945, he founded the Board of Jewish Communities of Greece (kis) and served as its first chairman. He also founded the opaie Organization of Rehabilitation of Jews in Greece and was its vice president from 1945 until 1952. He represented the Jewish community of Greece in war trials held in the late 1940s and 1950s in Greece against Jewish and German Nazi collaborators. In 1945–46, together with the Mosad le-Aliyah Bet, he helped organize the voyage of four boats of illegal immigrants from Greece and Northern Europe departing from the Sounion coast, southeast of Athens, to Ereẓ Israel. He established two hakhsharah (training) farms in 1945, which housed ma'pilim ("illegal" immigrants), as they waited for their departure to Ereẓ Israel.

Alhanati was president of the Union of Greek Zionists (1965–84), was Greek delegate to the 26th and 27th World Zionist Congresses, and was president of the Jewish National Fund in Greece from 1965 until his later years. He also was secretary-general of the hellas-Israel organization and a lifetime member of B'nai B'rith.

In Athens, Alhanati also represented the legal interests of the Jewish National Fund and the Jewish Agency, and worked together with the Joint Distribution Committee to rebuild the lives of Greek Holocaust survivors and help Jewish refugees from Arab Middle Eastern countries and the former Eastern Bloc of the Soviet Union reach the West for relocation.

[Yitzchak Kerem (2nd ed.)]

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