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WJC, Athens 30.1.2017: Ronald S. Lauder on Monday addressed an official Holocaust commemoration ceremony in the Greek capital Athens, and in recalling the tragedy that nearly destroyed the Jewish community in Greece, asked whether the world has really learnt the lessons of the Holocaust.
“What has been the world’s reaction to the genocides since 1945? In Cambodia: silence! In Rwanda: silence! In Darfur: silence! Christians are being slaughtered today throughout the Middle East and Africa, and the world is silent. Indifference has not gone away,” Lauder told the gathering. The slogan ‘Never Again’ is easy to say but it’s really meaningless, because it happens again and again. And unless we want our children and grandchildren dealing with the same questions, it is time for this silence to end, once and for all.”

“The Jewish community here suffered such a heart-breaking loss. Almost 90 percent of the thriving Jewish population in Greece was murdered in World War II. Mothers, fathers, children… so many children. But we should always remember that this was not just a tragedy for the Jewish people. It was a tragedy for Greece as well. Greece lost some of its best and most productive citizens when the Jewish community was destroyed. When the Nazis came here in 1941 everyone lost,” Lauder added.
Lauder also highlighted the resistance of many Greeks against the occupiers during World War II, mentioning the people of Zakynthos, who hid the island’s Jews from the Nazis, Greek-Orthodox Archbishop Damaskinos, who instructed church members to issue false identity cards to Jews, and the “many ordinary Greeks whose name we will never know: they all set an example for the entire world to follow.”


Article in the daily “Kathimerini”, January 15, 2017, by Yiota Myrtsioti: A six storey circular building made of metal and glass will rise to the historic place where the end of the 55,000 Greek Jews of Thessaloniki started; the memorial building will change the skyline of the city's western entrance and the map of Europe Holocaust memorials and museums. After seven decades, the city of Thessaloniki restores the memory, recognizes its mistakes, opens its archives, studies, but above all apologizes for a piece of history that the city buried with its silence and under the foundations of the university campus. The city’s mayor, Yiannis Boutaris, has restored this oblivion three years ago in front of the monument erected in a corner of the university campus to remind that this was the place where the Sephardic Jews of the big community of Salonica were honoring their dead for 500 years. Yannis Boutaris, in his speech delivered at the moment, spoke of the undue delay of the city to break the silence and to begin to mention the gloomy moments of its history. It was one of the slow but steady steps toward the target he had set since he became mayor: that the institution he represents becomes an institution of memory with continuity in time. The culmination of this effort is the establishment of the Museum and Educational Center on the Holocaust in the area of the Old Railway Station, where the Jews of Thessaloniki started their final trip.

This was an idea of the president of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki, David Saltiel. The mayor adopted this idea and, in order to promote it, he used its contacts around the world. The Municipality and the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki worked together, methodically, without fanfare, to implement this idea and now, almost three years later, with funding guaranteed, they are setting the project’s timelines.


On Thursday, 12 January 2017, during the morning show of Alpha TV channel «Happy Day», presented by Stamatina Tsimtsili, the reporter Dimos Verykios, at a live connection with his broadcast from Alpha Radio, he included into his political and economic comment many conventional anti-Semitic stereotypes.

More precisely, Dimos Verykios, as part of his comment, he stated: "The world money is concentrated in three centers: they are actually dominating the planet. One center is the banks, the global banking system. Through this banking system, two main centers are ruling the game. One of these centers is the Jewish lobby, powerful, extremely powerful in America and elsewhere! In all big deals, one will meet a Jew! Or a mason!”.

These are absolutely unhistorical anti-Semitic views, which are usually expressed only by marginal and extreme right elements. The fact that these views were surprisingly broadcasted, even without any reaction, in one of the largest TV channels of our country, makes us very concerned. The claims of Mr. Verykios are simply provoking hate against Jews. We expect that he will realize his big mistake and apologize to the audience for the promotion of these unsubstantiated and false accusations, which do not inform at all the public but instead lead to misinformation and encourage anti-Semitism in Greece.

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece will continue tirelessly to fight against anti-Semitism, racism and intolerance, a fight that, as it turns out, should be given every day.

 Athens, January 13th, 2017


Thursday, 02 February 2017 11:22

Greece is a key player in the Mediterranean and the strengthening of ties with Israel on a political and military level is an important development given the rise of Islamic terrorism, according to Ronald Lauder, the president of World Jewish Congress, who visited Athens on the occasion of Holocaust Remembrance Day.

In an interview with Kathimerini’s Sunday’s edition, Lauder noted the rise of nationalism, and anti-Semitism which, he said, is not just a threat to minorities but to society at large. Lauder said the proliferation of far-right groups in Europe, including Golden Dawn in Greece which openly professes its hatred of Jews and Israel, has taken on alarming proportions. He also noted a rise in anti-Semitism among Muslim migrants in Europe, as well as among traditional European newspapers and even Britain’s Labour party.

Greek Parliament President Voutsis visits the Knesset; signs declaration to combat anti-Semitism Print E-mail
Wednesday, 01 February 2017 13:21

The President of the Hellenic Parliament, Nikos Voutsis, visited the Knesset Wednesday as a guest of Knesset Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein. On Thursday, he will return to the Knesset to participate in a first-of-its-kind trilateral meeting with Speaker Edelstein and the president of Cyprus` House of Representatives, Demetris Syllouris. They will discuss various subjects which are connected to the future of the region.

After signing the Knesset guestbook and giving formal statements to the press, Voutsis held a work meeting at the Knesset Speaker`s office. MK Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin (Zionist Camp), who heads the Israel-Greece Parliamentary Friendship Group, also participated in the meeting.
During the meeting, the Greek parliament`s president signed a declaration which has already been signed by various parliamentary heads, making a commitment to battle anti-Semitism.

”This is a subject which we fight against firmly”, Voutsis noted. Voutsis met with members of the Knesset`s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee and with Opposition Leader MK Isaac Herzog (Zionist Camp).
Knesset Speaker Edelstein said, ”Israel and Greece are the successors of two magnificent cultures, and the two countries share mutual values of democracy. I was glad to hear that you [spoke extensively about] Holocaust memorial enterprises in Greece”.

Decision 2334/23.12.16 of the UN’s Security Council Print E-mail
Friday, 13 January 2017 11:12

The following article by Victor Isaak Eliezer, on the Decision 2334/23.12.16 of the UN’s Security Council, was published on the Greek daily “Kathimerini”, on January 12, 2017  (printed and on line editions): 

Victor Isaak Eliezer*

KATHIMERINI, Jan. 12, 2017: The decision, which was by many simply interpreted as a condemnation of Israel for the settlements on the West Bank of the River Jordan and in Jerusalem, undermines all existing peace plans between Israelis and Palestinians. Why? Because it basically undermines decision 242/11/1967 of the UN’s Security Council, which clearly stated the right of all countries to live in peace "within secure and recognised borders" and called on Israel to abandon "occupied territories". Decision 242 does not include the phrase "from all occupied territories" nor the phrase "from the occupied territories" which fell under Israeli occupation during the six-day war in June 1967. The international community had since recognised the need for "Israeli secure and recognised borders", which had suffered the attack from 4 Arab armies and, for this reason, did not impose total withdrawal to its lines prior to 5th June 1967. Anwar Sadat, the Egyptian President, realised this, and based on this decision signed the peace treaty with Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin; King Hussein of Jordan, who also realised this, signed a peace treaty with Yitzhak Rabin, and Yasser Arafat also realising it signed the agreements of Oslo, which foresee the establishment of an independent Palestinian state on the West coast next to Israel, with secure borders.

Decision 2334/23.12.16 regards "all occupied territories" as "Palestinian territories", including even East Jerusalem. Of course, Israeli settlements beyond the agreed security line as mapped in the Oslo agreements and later in the "Road Map", constitute an obstacle to the promotion and advancement of negotiations for the solution "Two states for two nations." But from this point up to the establishment of East Jerusalem’s Jewish sector and the Wailing Wall (Western Wall) as Palestinian territory, the difference is enormous and the decision was rightfully condemned by both the Netanyahu government and the centrist and leftist opposition in Israel.

Wednesday, 01 February 2017 11:21

Τhe Memorandum of Understanding between the Greek Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs, the Jewish Museum of Greece and Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority was signed on January 26, 2017, ahead of the Holocaust Remembrance Day. The Memorandum was signed by the Greek Minister of Education, Research and Religious Affairs, Mr. Konstantinos Gavroglou and the President of the Board of Directors of the Jewish Museum in Greece, Mr. Samuel Matsas signed, with the presence of the Ambassador of Israel to Greece, Ms. Irit Ben-Abba and her Deputy Ms. Sawsan Hasson.

Source: Embassy of Israel

Announcement for the terrorist attack in Istanbul on the 1st of January 2017 Print E-mail
Wednesday, 04 January 2017 10:32

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece sent the following letter to the Turkish ambassador in Greece, Mr. Yaşar Halit Çevik, regarding the terrorist attack in Istanbul; the letter was also communicated to the Jewish Community of Turkey:

Dear Mr. Ambassador,

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece firmly condemns the terrorist attack that took place in a nightclub in the center of Istanbul, with at least 39 people killed and 69 wounded, 15 foreigners among them, in the first hours of the New Year 2017.

The choice of both the place and time of the attack clearly demonstrates the profound hatred and paranoia of the ISIS terrorists who claimed responsibility for the attack.

We express our deepest condolences to the families of all the victims and the full support and solidarity of the Greek Jewry to the Turkish people who are struck once again by terrorism.


Athens, January 4, 2017

Central Board of Greek Communities in Greece
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