Greek leaders marked Holocaust Remembrance Day, which observes the 76th anniversary of the liberation of the brutal extermination camp Auschwitz, on Wednesday.
After laying a wreath on Athens’ Holocaust Memorial, Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou stressed that keeping alive the memory of the Holocaust, during which 6 million Jews were killed, is necessary in preventing further hatred and suffering.
“Cultivating historical memory, safeguarding (society) against hate speech and being vigilant in safeguarding democracy and human value are a bulwark against the onslaught of evil,” Sakellaropoulou stated on Wednesday.
“The Holocaust is the most extreme manifestation of evil in human history and the most painful legacy of the twentieth century,” Sakellaropoulou said.
Kyriakos Mitsotakis, the Prime Minister of Greece, expressed the depth of loss caused by the Holocaust, stating in his remarks “Freedom, reason and dignity… The very nature of man were murdered at Auschwitz.”
In order to stamp out all forms of hatred and bigotry, Mitsotakis expressed that we must never forget the atrocious acts of the Nazis, saying “Memory must translate into constant vigilance and action against Absolute Evil.”
Holocaust Remembrance Day and Greek Jews
Mitsotakis also honored the nearly 60,000 Greek Jews murdered by Nazis during the Holocaust, saying: “We honor the memory of Jews, and particularly of Greek Jews, who lost their lives in the Holocaust.”
Greece’s Jewish population, which had greatly contributed to the nation’s history and culture over the centuries, was nearly completely exterminated during the Holocaust.
Once part of thriving communities in several Greek cities, approximately 59,000 Greek Jews were victims of the Holocaust — at least 83 percent of the total number living in Greece at the time of World War II and the German Occupation.
Through a statement on Twitter, Greece’s Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias also marked Holocaust Rememberance Day, writing that it “is a day of reflection for humanity and a tribute to the millions of victims, among them tens of thousands of Greek Jews who were victims of a methodically organized atrocity.”