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Hunt Valley Holocaust survivors help Greek family who saved them 70 years ago

Jewish family helps Greek family get Baltimore County restaurant running decades after rescued from Nazis
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Posted at 6:17 PM, Apr 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-20 05:50:13-04

HUNT VALLEY, Md. — A family that survived the Holocaust is helping their saviors get their lives back together.

A family from Hunt Valley, in Baltimore County, waited for the right time to pay back another family.

The Crabby Greek restaurant had it going on in Towson. Then, COVID-19 came crashing down on Vasilios Kanaras like a plate at a Greek wedding.

“Coronavirus killed us. It wasn’t about our food," Kanaras said. "I was in an office building and everybody was working from home and all my clientele left.”

But the crab cakes are making a comeback.

Now, the New Southern Kitchen restaurant is owned by Kanaras, thanks to the help of a Jewish family rescued from the Nazis 70 years ago.

When you lose everything, your life savings, your future, people talk. In this case, it was the right people -- Josephine and Angela.

“Josephine was 7 years old and I was 6,” Angela said.

Now, a little older, they shout daily over the phone, "How’s your son doing?" "Not good," she would repeat and suddenly here come the Greek gods of giving.

“We wanted to give back,” Josephine's family said. “If it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t be here. It’s our way of giving back and helping.”

Josephine‘s family picked up the tab to put Angela‘s son back in the restaurant business.

It was back in the 40s during the war that Angela‘s family helped Josephine‘s Jewish family.

“Because of the war, they were taking the Jewish people and killing them, my father brought them to the little village that we grew up in,” Angela said.

Back in the 1940s, during World War II, Angela’s family helped Josephine’s Jewish family to a barn in a small Greek village.

“My father used to have a barn with animals so they cleaned that up and they stayed in that space.“

Josephine’s family of seven hid in that barn for a year.

The two families discovered each other again in Baltimore in the 50s.

A note left on a grocery store window asked, “Are you the same family that saved us from the Nazis?”

"They say pay it forward, and after 70 years, they helped my son,” Angela said.

The New Southern Kitchen is far away from the Greek Islands and that barn, but the heart and soul of giving and receiving is what makes these two families one-spotted over baklava now bonded over peace and love and a favor repaid.