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Razon, Jacko

RAZON, JACKO

RAZON, JACKO (1921– ), Greek boxer. Born in Salonika, Razon had to terminate his studies when the Germans occupied Salonika in 1941 and was left without a profession. He learned boxing in Maccabi and in 1939 was the middleweight boxing champion of Greece. He was also goalkeeper for the Salonikan soccer team Olympiakos in the Greek National Football League. In 1943, he was deported by the Germans to Auschwitz. After two months, he was transferred to the Buna labor camp where he organized the boxing at the camp. He had 12 pairs of boxers–Jews and non-Jews, professionals and amateurs, among them Jung Perez, the former Tunisian world lightweight boxing champion. During the day he worked in the kitchen and after working hours he trained the boxers. Razon had to box weekly, often against heavyweights, winning most of his matches. Due to his kitchen connections, he was able to help many prisoners and hundreds owed their lives to him. This ended when Buna was evacuated and the "death march" began.

After a short stay in Gleiwitz, where Jung Perez died, Jacko was moved to Dora. He boxed also there but received little extra food for his talent and managed to feed only a few individuals at most. Transferred to Bergen-Belsen, he found the way to return to kitchen duty and helped Greek Jews in their most dire hour, when the camp was full of living skeletons and food was scarce. He was liberated by the British in May 1945.

After returning to Greece, Razon was a leader of Holocaust survivors who planned to immigrate to Palestine "illegally." They sailed on the Henrietta Szold, with 356 passengers, which was met by British warships in Haifa port. Razon led a revolt against the British navy, which was eventually overcome, and he and the other passengers were deported to Cyprus where they were interned for several months.

Eventually he arrived in Palestine and participated in Israel's War of Independence; he was one of the founders of the Organization of Greek Concentration Camp Survivors in Israel.

bibliography:

S. Raphael (ed.). Binitivei Shaol: Yehudei Yavan BeshoaPirkei Aidout (1988), 454–458.

[Yitzhak Kerem]

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