During the event, which took place as part of the actions for the Day of Remembrance of the Greek Jewish Martyrs and Heroes of the Holocaust, there were clear references to the timetable regarding the creation of the Holocaust Museum
With the voice message “never again”so that there will never be another Holocaust in the history of humanity, but also with positive intentions for the renaming of a central street of Thessaloniki to Avenue of Jewish Martyrs, a memorial event was held at noon at the Holocaust Memorial of the Jews of Thessaloniki in Eleftherias Square.
During the event, which took place as part of the actions for the Day of Remembrance of the Greek Jewish Martyrs and Heroes of the Holocaust, there were clear reports on the timetable for the creation of the Holocaust Museum, while the representation of political figures and consuls of many countries was also crowded.
The president of the Central Jewish Council of Greece and president of the Israeli community of Thessaloniki, David Saltiel, emphasized that today we are here, as every year, for to recall this crime which happened to the Jews of Europe, to the 6 million, to the 50,000 Thessalonians and the 67,000 Greek Jews who perished in the Holocaust. He pointed out: “80 years have passed but unfortunately anti-Semitism, Nazism, racism are still there. Efforts are being made, this is true, also by the Ministry of Education. And the Holocaust Museum will play a role, of course when it is done – hopefully in two or three years – to remember all that happened and actually teach young children not to fall prey to similar ideas, which mutate and take advantage of every circumstance that exist in the world, economic crises and various other issues that create an easy way to convince people to extreme philosophies and positions.”
In his greeting, the Israeli ambassador in Greece, Noam Katz emphasized that today honor is being paid to the six million victims of the Holocaust, pointed out that the history of the Jews of Greece is part of Greek history and underlined the need not to forget this crime against humanity. He even referred to yesterday’s events in East Jerusalem saying: “During the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, on Saturday evening in a synagogue, seven Israelis were killed by terrorists. May their souls rest in peace.”
A. Tzitzikostas: “We owe respect to the living, only the truth to the dead”
“We owe respect to the living, only the truth to the dead,” said the vice-president of the European Committee of the Regions, President of the Union of Regions of Greece and Regional Governor of Central Macedonia, Apostolos Tzitzikostas, during the keynote address of the event. He said that at that time, Europe and the whole world, was indifferent and inactive in the face of the looming Nazi atrocity. There were, of course, exceptions, comparatively few, but bright ones that went against the current, showing the greatness of the human soul. However, he commented that the country often fell short of the circumstances.
Mr. Tzitzikostas emphasized that the Region of Central Macedonia supports the project of creating the Holocaust Museum, which, as he said, is one of the most important mosaics in the history of Thessaloniki, a due honor to the memory of the 50,000 Greek Jews who were exterminated by the Nazi. Regarding the Holocaust Museum, he pointed out that the Region of Central Macedonia has already secured the resources for the reconstruction of the entire wider area of the Museum, which will go beyond the boundaries of the city and the country, and its visitors from all over Greece and abroad will learn the actual historical events. At the same time, as he underlined, the time has come, without further delays, to complete the Memorial Park here.
Greeting from the representative of the government S. Kalafatis
In his greeting, the representative of the government, Deputy Minister of the Interior, Macedonia-Thrace sector, Stavros Kalafatis pointed out that the history of the Jews in Greece is also our history, he emphasized that the loss is ours and cannot be forgotten, he underlined that erasing a piece of the past, as Seferis also said, is like erasing a piece of the future and he assured that this will not happen, since, as he said “we must learn from history and teach it to our children, raise wall against Nazism, fascism, totalitarianism”. At the same time, he noted that “part of our common debt is the decision, for which Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis committed, to complete the Holocaust Museum of Thessaloniki as soon as possible, in cooperation with the Israeli Community and all the agencies involved.”
The Municipality of Thessaloniki in favor of the proposal for the renaming of a central street of Thessaloniki to Avenue of Jewish Martyrs
The mayor of Thessaloniki, Konstantinos Zervas, during his greeting at the event, referred to the proposal of the historical researcher Leon Saltiel, in his interview with APE – MPE, for the renaming of a main street of Thessaloniki to Avenue of Jewish Martyrs and characteristically stated that “the Municipality Thessaloniki embraces the proposal of the Israeli Community and the representative of the World Jewish Congress to the United Nations in Geneva, Leon Saltiel, for the renaming of a central street of Thessaloniki, with special symbolism, to Avenue of Jewish Martyrs.
On this issue, the regional governor Apostolos Tzitzikostas commented: “The Region of Central Macedonia supports the choice and the proposal to name a central street of our city because this is really the only way we honor the memory of these people, to name a street of Jewish Martyrs. It’s time, it has to be done now.”
Besides, Mr. Zervas made it known that the pre-approval for the Holocaust Museum is expected in February, a project which is progressing with the decisive contribution of the Municipality of Thessaloniki, which granted more than 10 acres for the development of the Museum. He presented the planning for the creation of a 100-acre metropolitan park near the Museum, which will include the route followed by the Memorial Procession, while for Eleftherias Square he reiterated the commitment to create a memory and recreation park with the Holocaust Memorial as its central location. He also made a separate reference to the proposal submitted together with the Israeli Community of Thessaloniki to the president of the Hellenic Parliament for the official recognition in Greece of March 6 as the Day of Remembrance of the Righteous.
The deputy governor Thessaloniki, Voula Patoulidou emphasized that today an attempt is being made to erect a wall against anyone who slanders humanity, mentioned that the Jewish element of Thessaloniki is an integral part of its history and assured that Thessaloniki does not suffer from amnesia.
Memorial service, laying of wreaths and a minute’s silence
During the commemoration it was held memorial prayer (Askava) by the rabbi of the Israelite Community of Thessaloniki, Aaron Israel. This was followed by the psalms of David by the choir of the Israelite Community of Thessaloniki. After the greetings and keynote speech, the children of the elementary school of the Israeli community sang and decorated the Holocaust memorial with flowers. Wreaths were then laid, a minute’s silence was observed and the event closed with the national anthem.
The event was attended by, among others, representatives of the government, the official opposition, the parties, the ambassador of Israel, members of parliament, the regional governor of Central Macedonia, the mayor of Thessaloniki, a representative of the metropolitan of Thessaloniki, the rabbi of the Israeli community, the consuls of the Federal Republic of Germany, the USA, Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Spain, Canada, Italy, Armenia, Turkey, the rector of AUTH, the rector of the University of Macedonia, representative of the commander of the 3rd Army Corps, the deputy governor of Thessaloniki, mayors, Holocaust survivors, the president of the Greece-Israel Friendship Association
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