At the onset of the Second World War the Jewish population in Greece numbered approximately  100,000 people.  In April 1941, the country was conquered by the Axis powers and as a result divided between three countries - Germany, Bulgaria and Italy. From the beginning of the occupation both Germany and Bulgaria introduced in their occupied territories severe anti-Jewish legislations. In March 1943 Jews from both territories, including 50,000 of the Sephardic community of German occupied  Thessaloniki, were deported to extermination camps. In September 1943, after the capitulation of Italy, Nazi authorities started deporting Jews from former Italian occupied territories, including Athens. Thanks to a quick reaction of Greek Jewish community leaders as well as help of the non-Jewish Greeks and the Christian Orthodox Church, 50 percent of the Jewish inhabitants of Athens managed to flee or survive in hiding. Despite that, altogether over eighty-seven percent of the Jewish population in Greece perished during the Holocaust.

Even though, the German army left Greece in August 1944, ORT's mission in the country did not start until 1948 as until then Greece was engaged in civil war. The war, fought between the post-war Greek Government, supported by the United States and the UK, and the Communist Democratic Army of Greece, ended with a victory of the government forces.

The post-war Greek Jewish community included approximately 9000 people, distributed between Athens and Thessaloniki. Since there were no DPs in Greece, ORT’s work there was from the beginning aimed at these two communities.  As a result, the main ORT school in Greece was organized in Athens but also provided boarding facilities for students from Thessaloniki. The school started operating in 1948 and conducted three-year long day courses in mechanics and dressmaking for pupils aged fourteen to eighteen as well as evening courses in machine drawing for adults. There were also shorter courses  on various aspects of Jewish history and culture. In the end of 1948 the school had 120 pupils. In conducting the courses ORT cooperated with the Greek Council for Vocational Training which validated diplomas issued by the school. In November 1949 ORT Bulletin reported from Greece:

‘The ORT School in Athens is about to enter its second year and at present trains seventy-one students in dressmaking, machine-shop, welding, and technical drawing. Advanced courses in dressmaking and machine shop, as well as a workshop in electrical training and a course in arc-welding are in preparation. New applications are steadily coming in, particularly from students living in the provinces.’[1]

From the end of 1948 the number of students in Greek ORT started dwindling due to emigration to Israel .

[1] World ORT Archive: ORT Bulletin Vol. III no. 3 (November 1949) p.7