Social services for Nazi victims have been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
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LATEST NEWS

AMENDMENT VOTED ON THE REINSTATEMENT OF GREEK CITIZENSHIP TO DESCENDANTS OF GREEK DIASPORA JEWS – ANNOUNCEMENT OF KIS

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece welcomes the vote by the Greek Parliament of an amendment which permits to the descendants of deceased Greek Jewish citizens to have the right to obtain a Greek citizenship.

The amendment corrects a legal vacuum of the earlier relevant law of 2011, which gave the right to obtain Greek citizenship to the Greek Jews of the Diaspora, but only if they were alive themselves. With the specific amendment, it is now possible for the descendants of the deceased Greek Jews to reestablish ties with their country of origin, where their fathers or grandfathers had lived until the War and the Holocaust, or after that. 

At the beginning, we were surprised by the position of the leading opposition party in the Greek parliament, “Nea Demokratia”, not to vote “yes” but to vote “present” during the procedure, since we know that the party of “Nea Demokratia” has already expressed positive views about the specific matter and its leader has a generally positive attitude in matters which concern the Jews both in Greece and abroad.

The party of “Nea Demokratia” issued finally a Press Announcement on 18.3.2017, which explains that the “present” vote was registered by mistake and that the spokesman of the party in the Greek Parliament, Mr. Kefaloyiannis, had spoken in favor of the particular amendment during the discussion, citing his exact words in the minutes of the Parliamentary session.

In this context, we can conclude that the amendment in favor of granting the Greek citizenship to the descendants of the deceased Greek Jews who live abroad was voted by the vast majority of the Greek Parliament and we express our satisfaction for that.

Athens, March 20, 2017

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece

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THE CENTRAL BOARD OF JEWISH COMMUNITIES IN GREECE STANDS BY THE US JEWS FOLLOWING OUTBURST OF ANTISEMITIC INCIDENTS

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, motivated by the vandalism of 170 graves in the Jewish cemetery of St. Louis, in the State of Missouri, on February 24th sent the following letter of solidarity to the Jewish Community of St. Louis, in relation to the anti-Semitic incidents affecting the US during the last days.

KISE had the same communication with Jewish organizations, as well as with prominent US Jewish personalities who made statements, issued press releases and published articles, on the rise of anti-Semitism in the US urging the US government and the new President Donald Trump to react with clarity and determination.

The Greek Jewry’s support to the unusual wave of anti-Semitic incidents in the US was welcomed by international Jewish organizations.  

Specifically the letter of KISE mentions:

“It is with great dismay and concern that we were informed about the vandal attack against the Jewish cemetery of St Louis and the recent anti-Semitic incidents in the USA.

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AT HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL IN GREECE, WJC PRESIDENT RONALD S. LAUDER SAYS: ‘INDIFFERENCE HAS NOT GONE AWAY’

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.”

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AJC HONORS CYPRUS PRESIDENT ANASTASIADES Print E-mail
Tuesday, 27 September 2016 08:07

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.”

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RIVLIN MEETS DAUGHTER OF MAYOR WHO SAVED JEWS IN THE HOLOCAUST Print E-mail
Friday, 23 September 2016 12:51

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.

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UNTANGLING THE TALE OF A JEWISH WWII ORPHAN IN THESSALONIKI Print E-mail
Wednesday, 21 September 2016 08:19

by GIOTA MIRTSIOTI

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.

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WJC PRESIDENT RONALD LAUDER HOSTS AUSTRIAN CHANCELLOR CHRISTIAN KERN, THANKS HIM FOR BEING 'TRUE FRIEND OF ISRAEL AND JEWISH PEOPLE' Print E-mail
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.

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ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE REFERENCE OF THE DEPUTY EDUCATION MINISTER TO THE HOLOCAUST Print E-mail
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.

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