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Jews in Greece Commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day

Jews in Greece Holocaust
The Athens City Hall had a “WE Rememebr” message on Holocaust Remembrance Day in 2022. Credit: Athens Municipality.

On the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS) has said that the responsibility to pass on the memory of the Holocaust “is a sacred mission.”

In a statement, KIS noted that this year marks the 80th anniversary of the deportation of Jews from the German and Bulgarian occupation zones of Greece.

From February to August 1943, the Jews of Thessaloniki, Alexandroupoli, Komotini, Xanthi, Kavala, Drama, Serres, Didymoteicho, Nea Orestiada and Soufli were loaded onto one-way trains bound for Auschwitz.

On Wednesday, the KIS leadership held a meeting with the present and former Foreign Ministry special envoys for combating antisemitism and safeguarding the memory of the Holocaust in support of this year’s Holocaust remembrance campaign, entitled “We Remember.”

Joining the KIS leadership was Ambassador Chrysoula Aliferi, current special envoy, and her predecessor Ambassador Dimitris Giannakakis.

Among the issues discussed at the meeting was the commitment to the preservation of the memory of the Holocaust, the promotion of education through cultural and informative activities, educational programs and the national action plan against antisemitism.

67,000 Jews from Greece perished in the Holocaust

“We remember the Holocaust of Europe’s 6 million Jews – including 67,000 Greek Jews; we commemorate their memory, we research and learn about the darkest aspects of its history, about the forces of hatred and fanaticism that allowed it to happen, about the unique, in history, industrial manner of carrying it out, about the unthinkable – but actual – indifference of the entire ‘civilized’ world that averted its gaze when hordes of Jews were led to the deportation trains and when they were exterminated in the Nazi crematoria,” the KIS said.

The Holocaust of the Greek Jews was one of the darkest episodes of the Nazi occupation of the country.

Once part of thriving communities in several Greek cities, approximately 67,000 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.

“At the same time, we commemorate the bright figures of the heroes who fought against Nazism, the bright exceptions of the Righteous among the Nations, who with self-sacrifice and humanity opened their homes and their arms to rescue their Jewish fellow citizens. Their example teaches and inspires,” KIS says.

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