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THE RESPONSE OF THE GREEK JEWRY TO THE LETTER OF THE MAYOR OF KAVALA
 
Massive reactions burst out after the cancellation of the inauguration of the Holocaust memorial in Kavala. 
Through many statements –at times contradicting one another- the mayor made an effort to clarify her intentions while revealed that she received threats and a strong opposition to the erection of the monument.
The Mayor in a reconciliation gesture addressed a letter to the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS) stating the city’s willingness to go on with the unveiling of the monument and proposed a new date for the event.
On May 19, 2015, the local Metropolitan Church issued an announcement objecting the Jewish character of the monument, stating preference for a monument to all genocide victims. In the same spirit, the Chairman of the Municipal Council Giorgos Grammenos stated that the monument “stands against his religious conscience”.
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THE GREEK POLITICAL PARTIES CONDEMNED THE POSTPONEMENT OF THE UNVEILING CEREMONY OF THE HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL OF KAVALA

Press Releases of: SYRIZA, SYRIZA OF KAVALA, ND, AN.ELL., TO POTAMI & PASOK

SYRIZA: The Postponement of the Event for the Unveiling of the Holocaust Memorial Insults Historic Memory (16.5.2015)

The postponement of the event for the unveiling of the Holocaust Memorial in Kavala insults historic memory and the democratic and anti-Nazi struggles of the Greek people.  It is an act which foments anti-Semitism and intolerance and as such it cannot be tolerated.

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CANCELLATION OF THE UNVEILING CEREMONY OF THE HOLOCAUST MONUMENT IN KAVALA
The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece expresses its repudiation for the shameful decision taken by the majority of the City Council of Kavala to cancel the ceremony scheduled for Sunday May 17, for the unveiling of the Holocaust Monument dedicated to the 1.484 exterminated Jews of Kavala.

In a telephone communication with the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece just yesterday (May 14, 2015), the Mayor expressed her objection with regard to the religious symbol of the Star of David (Magen David) engraved on the Monument, and asked for the removal of the symbol in order not to cancel the inauguration event. 

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece and the Greek Jewry at large explicitly reject this demand as unacceptable, unethical and insulting and consider the Mayor’s decision a clear attack against the religious feeling of the Greek Jews, citizens of this country, as well as a brutal insult to the holy memory of the victims of the Holocaust, manifested for the first time in the post-War history of our country and of Europe alike.
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ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE SECRETARY GENERAL FOR RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS CONDEMNING THE DECISION OF THE MUNICIPALITY OF KAVALA Print E-mail
Friday, 15 May 2015 17:44
Statement by the Secretary General for Religious Affairs Giorgos Kalantzis
at the Ministry of Culture, Education and Religious Affairs
for the decision of the Municipality of Kavala to postpone the unveiling of the Holocaust Monument
 
I admit that it is extremely difficult for anyone to imagine that there is actually a decision by the City Council of Kavala that cancels a scheduled event for the unveiling of a monument dedicated to remind us the extermination of the Greek Jews of Kavala by the Nazis and their collaborators, using as an argument the existence or the engraving or the size of the symbol of the Jewish faith on it.
The city of Kavala is renowned for its culture, for its hospitable citizens, for its natural beauties, for its important historic monuments, as well as for Lydia, the first European to be baptized Christian.
It is extremely unfair for Kavala to be registered in history as the first city to have denied hospitality to a monument honoring its own citizens of Jewish faith who were murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators.
I trust that the citizens of Kavala, both as individuals and through their forms of collective expression, will make sure that soon the monument in its current form as it has already been carved will be placed in the place already chosen by the Municipality.
As an orthodox Christian I feel deeply insulted by this issue, because it would be as if someone asked us to erase or modify for “aesthetic reasons” the symbol of the cross on the tombs of our grandfathers executed by the Germans. The Greek Jews who were murdered by the Nazis have no tomb in the soil of our country to be marked with the Star of David, as their tombs lay in the sky and under the earth where their ashes from the crematoria were spread upon.

*See HERE the relevant document (in Greek)

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70TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE MAUTHAUSEN LIBERATION WITH THE PARTICIPATION OF THE SPEAKER OF THE GREEK PARLIAMENT & GREEK JEWRY’S REPRESENTATIVES Print E-mail
Wednesday, 13 May 2015 07:43

Greek Jewish leaders joined the country’s official delegation at Mauthausen liberation events.

More than 22,000 people including around 50 survivors on Sunday May 10, 2015, marked the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Mauthausen in Austria, one of the Nazis’ biggest concentration camps, organizers say.

The Greek delegation, headed by the Speaker of the Parliament Zoi Konstantopoulou, paid tribute to the 3.700 Greeks who died in Mauthausen. 

The Greek delegation also included: the Christian Orthodox Metropolitan of Austria Mgr. Arsenios, the Greek government’s representative MP Rachel Makri, the Greek Jewry's representatives, the President of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece Moses Constantinis and the President of the 2nd Generation of Holocaust Victims Marios Soussis, the Ambassador of Greece to Austria Crychoula Aleiferi and the Permanent Representative of Greece to OSCE, Ambassador Andreas Papadakis.

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“SYNAGONISTIS” IS PRESENTED IN THE AMERICAN CAPITAL BY THE EMBASSY OF GREECE Print E-mail
Wednesday, 29 April 2015 08:25

The personal stories of Greek Jews who took part in the WWII Resistance (1941-44) are the focus of the exhibition “Synagonistis: Greek Jews in the National Resistance,” which was inaugurated on April 1, 2015 and will run through May 30, 2015 at the Washington Hebrew Congregation in Washington D.C.

The exhibition, compiled by the Jewish Museum of Greece in Athens and presented by the Embassy of Greece in the United States, focuses on the contributions of Greek Jews in the resistance to Axis forces in occupied Greece.

The exhibition is the product of five years of research into the personal stories of men and women from various Jewish communities around Greece who took up arms and headed to the mountains to join the armed widespread Resistance in the country. Photographs, documents, letters, proclamations, underground newspapers and other relevant materials are presented for the first time.
The exhibition is accompanied by a bilingual catalogue, a documentary film by David Gavriilidis, as well as a specially designed educational program for schools.
“Synagonistis” is the Greek word for “fellow fighter” and it’s exactly this notion that the exhibition highlights: Greeks, regardless of religious affiliation, fighting the country’s invaders.

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GREECE – ISRAEL: 25 YEARS SINCE THE DE JURE RECOGNITION OF ISRAEL Print E-mail
Monday, 04 May 2015 12:12
An interview of the Greek PM at the time, Constantine Mitsotakis, to Victor Isaac Eliezer for “The Jewish Chronicle” (May 1, 2015):
 
When the UN General Assembly voted to recognise the newly born Jewish state on November 29, 1947, Greece abstained.
Greek governments continued with this policy until 1990. During this time, the Israeli envoy in Athens held the title of "Diplomatic Representative" - not "Ambassador".
In 1990 - 25 years ago - Constantine Mitsotakis was elected as Greece's prime minister. His first foreign policy decision was to recognise Israel.
Explaining his decision, Mr Mitsotakis, 97, said: "Non-recognition was a weakness of Greek foreign policy. The very good relations we had with the Arabs and the Palestinians surely did not prevent the recognition of the Jewish state.
"It was madness, an absurdity, and yet, under the effect of a certain kind of psychology and atmosphere, Greek politicians did not dare to face reality and take the appropriate decisions.
"Egypt had recognised Israel and yet Greece insisted on not doing so. I had always been decisive and I decided that this should change, and so it was done," Mr Mitsotakis said.
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B’NAI B’RITH WORLD CENTER AND KKL-JNF RECOGNIZE GREEK RABBI WHO SAVED HUNDREDS OF JEWS DURING HOLOCAUST Print E-mail
Friday, 17 April 2015 07:58

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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