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B’NAI B’RITH WORLD CENTER AND KKL-JNF RECOGNIZE GREEK RABBI WHO SAVED HUNDREDS OF JEWS DURING HOLOCAUST

The B’nai B’rith World Center in Jerusalem and Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (KKL-JNF) held for the 13th consecutive year a unique, joint Holocaust commemoration ceremony on Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day (Yom Hashoah)—the only event dedicated annually to commemorating the heroism of Jews who rescued fellow Jews during the years of torment in Europe. Some 200 border patrol cadets—who provided an honor guard—and some 200 high school students participated in the ceremony together with Jewish rescuers and survivors. Approximately 1,000 people attended the ceremony.

This year’s event memorialized Rabbi Moshe Shimon Pessach (1869-1955), an outstanding rabbinic and communal figure who served for 63 years as rabbi, including later in life as chief rabbi of Greece. Pessach, the scion of a long line of towering Sephardic rabbinic figures in Greece, shepherded the Volos Jewish community of approximately 1,000 people through tumultuous times. Fiercely loyal to his country and to his community, Pessach initiated and orchestrated the rescue of his community during the German occupation, efforts that led to the survival of 74 percent of the Volos Jews—an extraordinary achievement in a country where 85 percent of Jews were murdered in the Holocaust—and led a partisan unit against the Germans.

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GREEK PRIME MINISTER ALEXIS TSIPRAS VISITED THE HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL IN BERLIN
On March 24, 2015 Alexis Tsipras visited the field of stelae and the exhibition of the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, accompanied by the Greek Ambassador Panos Kalogeropoulos.
The Greek Prime Minister was greeted by Uwe Neumärker, director of the foundation, Ulrich Baumann, assistant director and Lea Rosh, president of the Association for the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe.
After a brief introduction by Mr. Neumärker in the field of stelae Alexis Tsipras received a guided tour of the exhibition at the Information Centre.
The Prime Minister was interested in particular in how the persecution of the Greek Jews is presented in the exhibition, such as the fate of the David family from Ioannina, most of whom were murdered in Auschwitz. Theirs is one of 15 family stories shown in the Room of Families. The tour was accompanied by an intense exchange and numerous questions by Mr. Tsipras.
At the end of the tour Mr. Tsipras signed his name in the visitors’ book and noticed: »Knowledge of history can strengthen us, even if it hurts, so that we work together to ensure that humanity never experiences such pain again.«
The visit to the Holocaust Memorial was a private visit during his stay in Germany. Alexis Tsipras is the first Greek Prime Minister who visited the Holocaust Memorial.
 
 
THESSALONIKI REMEMBERS ITS JEWS DEPORTED TO AUSCHWITZ

The Greek city of Thessaloniki remembered its nearly 50,000 Jews sent to Nazi death camps during World War II. A memorial marking the 72nd anniversary of the roundup and deportation of Thessaloniki Jews was held Saturday, ahead of March 15th, the day when the first Jewish convoy left the city.

Participants placed flowers on train tracks where the Jews were taken away in cattle cars headed for Auschwitz-Birkenau, The Associated Press reported.

In March 1943, the Nazis began sending Jews in railway convoys to Auschwitz-Birkenau. By August, 49,000 of the city’s prewar population of 55,000 Jews had been deported. Fewer than 2,000 survived.

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B’nai B’rith World Center and KKL-JNF to Recognize Greek Rabbi who Saved Hundreds of Jews During Holocaust Print E-mail
Monday, 06 April 2015 08:53
The B’nai B’rith World Center in Jerusalem and Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael (KKL-JNF) will hold for the 13th consecutive year a unique, joint Holocaust commemoration ceremony on Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Day (Yom Hashoah) on April 16—the only event dedicated annually to commemorating the heroism of Jews who rescued fellow Jews during the years of torment in Europe. Some 200 border patrol cadets—who will provide an honor guard—and some 200 high school students will participate in the ceremony together with Jewish rescuers and survivors. The ceremony will take place at the Martyrs' Forest “Scroll of Fire” Plaza at 10:00 a.m. local time.
This year’s event will memorialize Rabbi Moshe Shimon Pessach (1869-1955), an outstanding rabbinic and communal figure who served for 63 years as rabbi, including later in life as chief rabbi of Greece. Pessach, the scion of a long line of towering Sephardic rabbinic figures in Greece, shepherded the Volos Jewish community of approximately 1,000 people through tumultuous times. Fiercely loyal to his country and to his community, Pessach initiated and orchestrated the rescue of his community during the German occupation, efforts that led to the survival of 74 percent of the Volos Jews—an extraordinary achievement in a country where 85 percent of Jews were murdered in the Holocaust—and led a partisan unit against the Germans.
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AJC DELEGATION CONCLUDES VISIT TO ATHENS Print E-mail
Monday, 16 March 2015 12:19

March 12, 2015 – Athens -- A senior AJC leadership group just concluded a two-day visit to Greece.

The six-member delegation, led by AJC President Stanley Bergman and Executive Director David Harris, was joined by leaders of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS), an AJC partner organization, and Andrew Manatos, a prominent leader of the Hellenic-American community.

The visit was highlighted by a private meeting with recently-elected Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras. During the discussion, Tsipras spoke of his commitment to addressing Greece's very difficult economic situation, and reaffirmed his country's ties with the U.S., the European Union, and Israel. Moreover, he underscored his strong commitment to denouncing all forms of anti-Semitism.

The group also met with other senior Greek officials, including Defense Minister Panos Kammenos; Minister of Culture, Education, and Religious Affairs Aristides Baltas; Alternate Foreign Minister Nikolaos Hountis (a previously confirmed meeting with the Foreign Minister was cancelled due to his illness); President of the New Democracy political party and former Prime Minister Antonis Samaras; and President of the Potami political party Stavros Theodorakis.

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ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE TERROR ATTACKS IN DENMARK Print E-mail
Monday, 16 February 2015 13:50

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece strongly condemns the terror attacks in Copenhagen that once more targeted the freedom of speech and the Jews alike.

The Greek Jewry expresses its outrage and sorrow over the fact that innocent people, among whom our coreligionists, have once again been the victims of fanaticism, bigotry and anti-Semitism.

The policy of the rhetoric condemnation of such phenomena by itself does  not provide either sufficient or efficient confrontation of the issue. The State, the Church, the Institutions and the social factors in our country have the moral obligation to undertake coordinated and multy-faced efforts which must combine measures for the immediate prevention with long-term projects. To this end we stress the important role of Education and Culture.

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THE GREEK JEWRY CONDEMNS ARSON ATTACK ON GREEK ORTHODOX SEMINARY IN JERUSALEM Print E-mail
Friday, 27 February 2015 13:40
Following the arson attack on the Greek Orthodox Dormition Abbey of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem, the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece sent the following letter to His Beatitude Patriarch Theophilos III of Jerusalem. The President of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece Mr. Moses Constantinis had a telephone conversation with Patriarch Theophilos whom he assured of the Greek Jewry’s solidarity. Mr. Constantinis also condemned this hideous arson attack, as well as all fanatic elements regardless of origins. The letter to the Greek Orthodox Partiarch of Jerusalem reads:

“Your Beatitude,

We were informed of the arson attack on the Greek Orthodox Seminary of the Patriarchate of Jerusalem. The Greek Jewry whole heartedly stands by you and condemns this violent act against the historic Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

We are sure that the Authorities do their utmost to trace down, arrest and punish the culprits, as appropriate to all those who commit hate crimes, most importantly when they target religious institutions. We stand against such fanaticism that aims at driving mankind into the darkness, and we confront it together with Your Beatitude and all Christians, Muslims and Jews alike, by promoting the light of love, understanding and respect of diversity”.

Athens, February 27, 2015
Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece

 
 
 
BRITISH EMBASSY COMMEMORATES THE INTERNATIONAL HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY IN THESSALONIKI, GREECE Print E-mail
Tuesday, 27 January 2015 14:32

On the occasion of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day commemorated worldwide on 27 January, the British Embassy co-organised with the Jewish Community in Thessaloniki a series of events in memory of the Jews of Thessaloniki victims and survivors of the Holocaust, on 24 January 2015. The events were under the auspices of the UK International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Chairmanship which the UK assumed in February 2014.

Joined by the President of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki David Saltiel, the British Ambassador John Kittmer laid a wreath on behalf of the members and observers of IHRA at a ceremony that took place at the Holocaust Memorial. Earlier on the day, representatives of the diplomatic corps in Greece received a tour at the Jewish Museum and historic sites in Thessaloniki, such as the ‘Monastiriotes’ Synagogue, the Baron Hirsch neighbourhood near the Railroad Station, where the city’s Jews were deported from to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps, and the University, the site of the old Jewish Cemetery.

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