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This capital of Greece had Jewish residents by the 1st century C.E. Even before this time the Athenians had voted a gold crown to the high priest Hyrcanus, and later to the Herodian kings and to Princess Berenice, in gratitude for the kindly treatment of Athenians in Judea. There were many Athenian proselytes and semi-proselytes. The Talmud has a number of stories about “the wise men of Athens.” In Byzantine and Turkish times Athens decayed, and few Jews lived there. In 1830, when after Greece’s liberation the first king was German, German Jews followed him to Athens. Sephardim from Greece and Syria, as well as Russian Jews after World War I, increased the Jewish community. During the persecution in World War II, many Athenian Gentiles hid Jews from the Germans. After the war, survivors and remnants from other Greek Jewish communities moved to Athens. In 2007, approximately 3,000 Jews, less than half of Greek Jewry, lived there.

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