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The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece and the entire Greek Jewry join the mourning for the loss of the ninth President of the State of Israel and convey their deepest condolences to his family and the people of Israel.

Shimon Peres has been a great political and academic figure who has identified his name and activity with the history of the State of Israel for seven decades.
From the office of the President of Israel, as Prime Minister –a position which he was elected in three times- as well as from all public offices he hold, Shimon Peres worked for the security, the achievement of peace and the progress of Israel. He pioneered the Oslo agreement. His tireless work for peace was recognized at international level and in 1994 he was awarded with the Nobel Prize for Peace, together with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat.

“Shimon Peres’s bond with Greece has been special and has deep roots”, said the President of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece Mr. David Saltiel. As stressed in his condolences message: “Shimon Peres has been a friend of Greece and of the Greek Jewish Community. He grew up with his father’s memories of his passing through Greece when during 1941 Yitzhak Persky fought with the Jewish Brigade against the Nazis. In 2003 the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki proclaimed Shimon Peres an honorary member of the Community. Last June he visited Greece and the characteristic statement of the Greek President Pavlopoulos was that “Peres represents a source of inspiration for peace in the Middle East”.

Shimon Peres has also been an admirer of the Greek-Jewish cultural heritage. I am profoundly touched to recall the meeting that he had with the leadership of the Greek Jewry during his state visit to Greece in August 2012. I vividly remember his address to the Youth: “The scientists represent the true wealth of a country, thus, arm yourselves with knowledge and invest in research”. I quote these words as I believe they reflect his wisdom, his character and his innovative thought. Let those words be his legacy to the people of Israel and the entire world for the benefit of progress and development”.

Shimon Peres didn’t simply speak about peace. He worked throughout his whole life with persistence in order to accomplish it. He believed in turning the impossible into possible. He knew well that Israel could not survive depending either on military force, or on diplomacy or on economic power alone, but on the commitment and continuous development of all three parameters together.  

Shimon Peres carried on his shoulders for 70 years the visions and the hopes of an entire people and through his continuous participation in its fights, identified the history of the State of Israel with his own personal history which is a source of inspiration to future generations.

In 2005 Shimon Peres stated: “My vision is to have a State as old as the Ten Commandments and as new as the internet”.

Athens, September 28, 2016

Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece


September 23, 2016 – New York – AJC honored Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades with the global advocacy organization’s prestigious Light Unto the Nations Award for his steadfast defense of democratic values, relentless pursuit of peace, and unwavering commitment to friendship with the United States and Israel.

David Harris, AJC’s Chief Executive Officer, who has met with President Anastasiades many times in Cyprus and New York, presented the award. Honorary AJC President Stanley Bergman welcomed the nearly 100 guests to his home, where the event took place. John Shapiro, AJC President, concluded the session.

“As the Prophet Isaiah said, the highest calling in life is peace or “eirini” in Greek, but to have peace requires courage (‘tharros’) and wisdom (‘sofia’). President Anastasiades has shown these qualities in his determination to reunite his island nation peacefully, and in his genuine friendship to the United States and Jewish people,” said Harris.

Anastasiades said he is “immensely proud” to receive AJC’s Light Unto the Nations Award. Saluting the close, cooperative partnership developed over the years between his country and AJC, the president said the award is “a testament to our joint belief in advancing closer Cypriot-Israeli cooperation and strengthening regional synergies and transatlantic relations.”


President Reuven Rivlin this morning (Tuesday) met in his office with Lana Carrer, daughter of the Lucas Carrer, who served as Mayor of the Greek island of Zakynthos during the Nazi occupation of the island. Mayor Carrer, together with the local bishop, were responsible for saving the nearly 300 Jews who lived on the island by refusing the order of the Nazi occupying forces to provide a list of the Jewish community.

President Rivlin greeted and hugged Mrs. Carrer and thanked her for the actions of her family and her community for the sake of the Jewish people. He said, “We want to thank you for the actions of your family. Their bravery is an example of the very best of what humanity is capable of. Their actions go to the very heart of the history of the Jewish people.”

Mrs. Carrer thanked the President, and spoke of the respect and warm relationship between the peoples of the island, and spoke of her admiration for the President and his work to combat discrimination.

Thursday, 22 September 2016 13:03

NEW YORK, 21 Sept. 2016: World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder hosted Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern for a special reception at his Neue Galerie on Tuesday evening, and called him “a true friend of Israel and the Jewish people.”

Lauder specifically thanked Kern for spearheading an exhibition during his former tenure at Austria’s Railway company, ÖBB, addressing its role in Nazi operations during World War II. “It was a very controversial show and it showed real courage,” Lauder said. Kern was awarded the ‘Marietta and Friedrich Torberg Medal’ in 2013 for this initiative by the Vienna Israelite Community. 

The Austrian chancellor told Lauder, before the more than 90 guests gathered at the Neue Galerie, “I honestly and deeply admire what you have achieved in your life and more than appreciate your contribution to Jewish life in Austria.”

On Wednesday, representatives of the U.S. and Belorussian governments will gather at the World Jewish Congress headquarters in Manhattan at 1 P.M. to sign an agreement to preserve burial places, places of worship, memorials, historic sites, and archival material in the former Soviet state, with a focus on those who were victims of the Nazi genocide. The agreement will be signed by Belarus Foreign Minister Vladimir Makai and U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad Chair Lesley Weiss.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016 08:19


Just a few days before the mass deportations of Thessaloniki’s Jews to Nazi concentration camps began in the cold tail-end of winter 1943, many Jewish parents left their children in the care of the Aghios Stylianos Foundling Home for their protection. Unable to bear the separation, most took their children back; but some stayed. One of them was David Barzilay, born on March 4, 10 days before the first death camp train left the northern port city.

What happened to the baby that was declared by the foundling home as being “of unknown parentage” and survived the Holocaust? How many more Jewish families tried to save their children in this way and what kind of life did the youngsters go on to have afterward?

These and other such questions came to social anthropologist Aigli Brouskou’s mind as she studied the Aghios Stylianos archives for her book “Logo tis kriseos sas charizo to pedi mou” (Because of the Crisis I Give You My Child), published by the Scientific Society of Child and Adolescent Care. The answers came later with painstaking research at three official archives, while the evidence pertaining to one particular case turned out to be very revealing: It allowed a name to be erased from the long list of Thessaloniki’s Holocaust victims; shed light on fabricated records; allowed the survivor to rewrite his autobiography; and exposed the complex and often conflicting roles of those who saved lives during the Nazi occupation.

NEW BOARD elected at the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece Print E-mail
Monday, 19 September 2016 12:58

The 22nd Conference of Representatives of the Jewish Communities of Greece (which was postponed on June 26, 2016) convened in Athens on September 18, 2016, in order to elect the new Board of Directors of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS), the umbrella organization of the Greek Jewry. During the opening of the Conference, the outgoing President of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, Mr. Moses Constantinis referred to his decades-long commitment to the Greek Jewish issues and expressed his firm belief that the new leadership will bring progress to the Community.

After the elections, the new Board was formed under the Presidency of Mr. David Saltiel, President of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki, who has also served as KIS President from 2010 – 2013.

The newly elected President David Saltiel spoke of the challenges the Greek Jewry faces and announced his administration’s priorities, namely the continuity of Jewish heritage in Greece especially with regard to the maintaining of the small Jewish Communities, the need for more measures to overcome economic crisis and render the Communities viable, anti-Semitism and Holocaust education, the development of welfare programmes for the needy Holocaust survivors, projects for the support of young Jewish adults and the strengthening of relations with International Jewish Organizations.

The Board Directors of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (as of September 18, 2016):

Tuesday, 20 September 2016 12:47

An anti-Semitic statement pointing out that “the Jewish people appropriated the Holocaust in order to earn the sympathy of the civilized world and be justified”, was made by the Deputy Education Minister Theodosis Pelegrinis, during his speech at the Greek Parliament (on September 15, 2016), delivered on the occasion of the Commemoration Day of the genocide of the Greeks of Asia Minor by the Turkish state (1914-1923).

The Minister made this statement suggesting that the Greeks should follow the example of the Jews with regard to the Holocaust. Following a large wave of reactions that condemned this reference, the Deputy Minister made a clarifying statement arguing that the term “appropriation” was misinterpreted by the media. The political parties of the Opposition (N.D., PASOK, and Potami), issued statements urging Deputy Minister Pelegrinis to resign.

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece addressed the following  letter of protest to Deputy Minister Pelegrinis which reflects the Board’s position:

Dear Deputy Minister,

The Greek Jews -as well as all democratic citizens, were unpleasantly surprised by your speech of September 15, at the Parliament.

Your agony for the future of Greece should not allow you to misuse the meaning and the reality of the Holocaust.

The Holocaust does not just refer to the “persecution and the genocide implemented by a state or a regime against any ethnic, religious or political group functioning within a society”. The Holocaust is the unique in the history of mankind crime of the genocide of the Jews during WWII by the German Nazis and their collaborators in their effort to implement their horrific plan of a world without Jews. It is not something that the Jews “achieved”, it is exactly what they suffered.

Monday, 19 September 2016 09:35

Michael Roth’s meeting with the leadership of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki  

On 15-9-2016 the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki welcomed the Minister of State of the Federal Republic of Germany Mr. Michael Roth today, who in 2014, during his visit to Thessaloniki, had expressed the intention of the Federal Republic of Germany to support the creation of Holocaust Memorial Museum and Education Center for Human Rights.

During his visit yesterday, Mr. Michael Roth, had an extensive meeting with the President of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki Mr. David Saltiel, the Mayor of Thessaloniki Mr. Yiannis Boutaris and President GAIAOSE Mr. Athanasios Schizas. During the course of the meeting the various aspects of the creation of the Holocaust Museum and Education Center for Human Rights and the steps to be followed for its gradual completion, in the near future, were discussed in detail.

Mr. Roth reaffirmed the commitment of the Federal Republic of Germany to contribute financially with an amount of €10,000,000 to the realization of the project, emphasizing once again the importance of creating such an institution of international scope, not only for the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki and the city but for Greece as a whole.

The Minister of State of the Federal Republic of Germany also visited the Monastiriotes Synagogue, the only prewar Synagogue of Thessaloniki, the restoration of which was recently completed, with funds donated by the Federal Republic of Germany and the Herbert Simon Family Foundation.

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