A teacher at a school in Greece will present recently discovered graduation certificates to 157 Jewish students who fled Thessaloniki or were deported to Nazi death camps, or to their descendants.

Antonio Crescenzi, a teacher at the Italian School in Thessaloniki, found a trove of old documents by accident about a decade ago. After sorting through them he realized their significance, he told the Israeli Maariv daily.

Crescenzi said he has recently managed to track some of the students and their descendants, and plans to finally present them with their certificates in a special ceremony later this year.

Thessaloniki, also known as Salonika, was a major center for Sephardic Jewry in the Balkans with a prewar Jewish population of some 55,000. The Nazis deported nearly 50,000 Jews to Nazi death camps; only some 2,000 survived.

The newly found documents relate to students born between 1912 and 1928 who studied at the school, one of two Italian schools that operated in the port city before the war.