Houston’s Survivors

Soula Molho*

Born: Risoula Stefanidis
May 1, 1924
Katerini, Greece

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“It was a very beautiful childhood. I had a wonderful father and mother, very warm people. They always cared for others. I never remember we had a lone supper. My mother never cooked enough for us only, always there was a place for someone else.”

Soula Molho was born in the Greek town of Katerini. She was seventeen years old when Germany invaded Greece in April 1941. “When the Germans came into Greece, everything changed. Everything,” recalled Soula. “If it was meat, vegetables, houses, everything—everything they grabbed. And they were very, very mean to everybody.” Life quickly became treacherous for non-Jewish members of the Greek resistance, including Soula’s father, Savnas, who inculcated his children with his hatred for the Nazis. His animosity for the occupiers emboldened him. Although German troops were quartered upstairs, Savnas hid six British soldiers in the basement of the family’s home.

Soula vividly remembered the night of July 8, 1942 when German soldiers pounded on their door, awakening the household. Although the British soldiers fled through a back door without a trace, the entire family was arrested and incarcerated. Eventually, Soula’s mother and younger siblings were released. Soula, her father and her oldest brother Zacharias were transferred to a prison in Thessaloniki (Salonika) where they were regularly beaten and humiliated. Sometimes, Soula was forced to watch her captors torture her father. Other times, she heard fellow prisoners being shot and wondered whether she would be next.

From Thessaloniki Soula was sent to prisons in Germany and Yugoslavia where the beatings and degradations were even worse than what she had endured in Thessaloniki. Weak and starving, she was transported from a Yugoslav prison to Auschwitz where she slept next to a girl who was so ill that her sores oozed pus all over the blanket she shared with Soula. Soula considered it a miracle that she did not fall ill, particularly since she was assigned one of the most gruesome tasks in the camp: moving human excrement in huge barrels that invariably splashed and spilled their contents on their bearers. As the war drew to an end, Soula was sent to several other camps. She eventually escaped from a death march that was leaving Ravensbrück.Soula was liberated by Soviet troops in 1945. As she made her way westward to the American zone of occupation she met her future husband Charlie Molho, a Jewish survivor from Thessaloniki. They were married on June 20, 1947 and came to the United States in 1950. Her parents arrived five years later. Soula converted to Judaism, and she and Charlie raised their children in the Jewish faith.

Savnas Stefanidis, survived
Roda Amanadidis Stefanidis, survived

Zacharias, survived
David, d. before Holocaust
Eva, survived
Harry, survived