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Germany: Greek Community Honors Their Mayor

Christian Ude

The Greek Diaspora of Munich honored their much beloved mayor on the Day of Epiphany, welcoming his support to old and new Greek immigrants, and Greece in general.

Christian Ude is Lord Mayor of the German city of Munich for 21 years now. For the politician, Greece lies very close to his heart. As every year, the mayor was present at the Greek Epiphany celebrations, showing his active support to Greece, together with many other gathered Germans.

Approximately 30,000 people from the Greek community of Munich awarded Ude with the honorary diploma “Philhellene of Isar-Athens,” a title given by the Vicariate of Bavaria to Bavarian philhellenes, as a sign of gratitude for their effort in strengthening Greek-Bavarian relationships, and the mayor of Munich is probably the leading one.

“The Greeks of Munich are an example of foreigners’ integration into German society,” noted Ude upon receiving the diploma. “He is always there for us,” mentioned Father Apostolos of the Greek Orthodox Church of Munich, and added, “when Greece was being attacked from everywhere during the peak of the Greek economic crisis, he stood up against the extreme populism and publicly demanded more respect for us.”

For 67-year-old Ude, his love for Greece isn’t limited to just helping his own citizens with public statements of support. From his freshmen years, he has maintained a house on the Greek island of Mykonos, where he has been declared an honorary citizen and which he visits every Easter.

Moreover, after the devastating fires in the Greek Prefecture of Ilia in 2007, he sent financial aid amounting to €400,000. Now that Greeks are migrating to Germany, with Munich being among the top destinations for young people seeking work, the mayor participates together with the Greek Church, in committees helping newly arriving Greeks learn the language as well as finding housing and work.

Holding a degree in law and several years of journalistic experience, Ude commutes with his bike and one can encounter him often in Greek restaurants. “A few years ago I met him on the day of election in our own restaurant” said one Greek. “He ate, had fun with the restaurateur and afterwards left with his bike. When I was told who he was, I went immediately and voted for him. He’s so down-to-earth and loves Greece so much.”

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