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Funds have been provided by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany for the Emergency Assistance Program for Nazi Victims at the direction of the United States District Court supervising the lawsuit In RE: Holocaust Victim Assets Litigation (Swiss Banks).

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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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Greek Education Ministry honours students on Auschwitz visit and video projects Print E-mail
Monday, 04 July 2016 11:23

Greek Education Ministry posted on its website the following article:

Education, Research and Religious Affairs Minister Nikos Filis today honoured the 81 secondary school students who travelled to Auschwitz, Poland to visit the infamous Nazi death camp. The event was also attended by the Ministry General Secretary of Relegious Affairs Giorgos Kalatzis.

The students were chosen in a competition of videos on the Holocaust, and came from both general and technical high schools in Athens, Patras, and Larissa, and those that took the floor were at time overtaken by emotion. One girl said her grandfather was a Roma communist with Jewish friends who escaped the camps through sheer luck. Another presented a heart wrenching narrative of how she imagined a girl reacting to her mother’s death camp execution and seeking solace in the embrace of the surviving grandfather.

Many of the students drew direct connections between the horrors of WWII Nazism and the dangers of a fascist resurgence in Greece, Europe and the world in our day. The acceptance and embrace of minorities and the other, such as the refugees and migrants today, was among the key lessons gleaned by the students both in their school projects and the journey to Auschwitz.

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ANNOUNCEMENT ON THE ANTI-SEMITIC STATEMENTS BY THE PRESIDENT OF URBAN TRANSPORTATION WORKER’S UNION IN THESSALONIKI Print E-mail
Monday, 04 July 2016 11:18

According to media reports, the president of the Workers' Union of the Organization of Urban Transportation in Thessaloniki made several anti-Semitic comments (about God been mistaken at creating Jews and about Hitler who did not finish the job), during his speech at the Union’s general assembly. Bus owners association of Thessaloniki, and union group “Anatropi” issued condemnation statements. Our Board issued the following announcement condemning this incident of anti-Semitic speech and praising the groups that promptly reacted: 

“Manifestations of anti-Semitism have unfortunately become an almost daily phenomenon in Greece. The last incident to this chain of events is the recent statement made by the president of the Workers’ Union of the Organization of Urban Transportation of Thessaloniki. According to a publication from June 27, 2016, on voria.gr website, the Union’s president Mr. Dimitris Tsermenidis, during the last general assembly of the Union, allegedly stated that God by mistake created the Jews, who afterwards killed Jesus Christ. Moreover, Mr. Tsermenidis did not hesitate to express his regret for the fact that “unfortunately Hitler did not finish his work”. Finally, it is noted that he made derogatory characterizations against Avraam Benaroya, the founder of “Federation” (Greek workers’ movement), whose name bears the Hall where the assembly took place.

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THESSALONIKI MAYOR BOUTARIS RECEIVES THE DAMASKINOS AWARD BY THE AFJMG Print E-mail
Wednesday, 06 July 2016 08:44

On June 1, 2016 The American Friends of the Jewish Museum of Greece (AFJMG) and the Jewish Museum of Greece bestowed the DAMASKINOS AWARD to the Honorable Yiannis Boutaris, Mayor of Thessaloniki in a ceremony at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, in New York City.  The DAMASKINOS AWARD was established by AFJMG to recognize prominent public figures for actions and initiatives serving to build relationships of trust and cooperation, tolerance and respect between the Jews and Christians in USA and Greece. The first recipient of this prestigious award was Archbishop Demetrios, Geron of America, Primate of the Greek Orthodox Church in America. The second DAMASKINOS AWARD honored the Mayor of Thessaloniki - a city and a name that, more than many others resonates in Jewish hearts as Salonica, the  place ,for many centuries known as “ la madre  de Israel” and “Jerusalem of the Balkans”.

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KIS ANNOUNCEMENT ON THE DEADLY ATTACKS AT THE AIRPORT OF ISTANBUL Print E-mail
Thursday, 30 June 2016 09:43

Only a few months after the successive strikes in Istanbul and Brussels, Istanbul was hit on June 28, 2016, by a new terrorist attack. Specifically, Kemal Atatürk airport was attacked by suicide bombers and the death toll so far was heavy: 41 people were found dead and at least 239 were injured. It is undoubtedly the deadliest attack that has recently hit our neighbouring country. These difficult moments our thoughts and prayers are with the victims’ families, to which we express our deepest condolences.

Istanbul’s incidents are the latest act of a play that does not seem to have an end. The terrorist attacks across Europe have dramatically multiplied and the perpetrator is always the same: is the Islamic State and its radical fanaticism. The fear of terrorism hovers daily over Europe.

On behalf of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, the unequivocal condemnation of these attacks is self-evident.

It is our strong duty to combat with all our strengths the Islamic fundamentalism along with the fanaticism that sinks our societies into fear. We must not allow hatred to nest permanently in Europe’s heart. Unfortunately, there is no time for complacency.

Athens, June 30, 2016
CENTRAL BOARD OF JEWISH COMMUNITIES IN GREECE

 
MAYOR BOUTARIS' INTERVIEW ON THESSALONIKI’S JEWISH HERITAGE Print E-mail
Wednesday, 06 July 2016 08:34

Thessaloniki mayor Yiannis Boutaris visited the USA in June 2016. Mayor Boutaris was awarded by the American Friends of the Jewish Museum of Greece with the “Damaskinos Award” in a ceremony held in New York on June 1. Mayor Boutaris also addressed this year’s AJC Global Forum, held in Washington, as one of the 189 European mayors who have joined the 319 US mayors in AJC’s “Mayors United against Antisemitim” initiative. During his stay in the US, Yiannis Boutaris was interviewed by Ron Kampeas for the JTA (July 5, 201). We publish the interview here under:  

WASHINGTON (JTA) –  “I am proud to be a Vlach,” says Yiannis Boutaris, the mayor of Thessaloniki, Greece’s second largest city.
Ostensibly, we’re here at the Washington Hilton to discuss Boutaris’ bid to put the Jewish back in Thessaloniki, a city — perhaps best known as Salonika —once home to the largest numbers of Jews in Greece.
But I’m the one who brought up the Vlachs, a dwindling minority of speakers of an ancient Latin dialect, scattered throughout the Balkans. When he ambles over, I greet him with the “Ci fac?” I have learned from my wife’s family. Pronounced “Tzi fatz,” it more or less means “what’s up?”

His eyes widen a little. “Gini!” he says, he’s fine. He looks at his aide, Leonidas Makris, with a look that suggests, “I thought you told me this guy was Jewish?”

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