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KIS ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE USE OF HOLOCAUST SYMBOLS

Journalist Kostas Vaxevanis, editor of “Documento” newspaper, trivialized Holocaust in a tweet criticizing Opposition leader Kyriakos Mitsotakis and his statement in favour of the ‘7day work week’. Vaxevanis in his tweet of May 12, 2019 used the inscription over the gate of Auschwitz “Arbeit Macht Frei” to comment on K. Mitsotakis.

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS) issued the following announcement stressing the inappropriate use of the symbols of the Holocaust:

"A few days ago we passed the gate of Auschwitz with the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the President of the Greek Parliament Mr. Nikos Voutsis and thousands of participants commemorating the 6.000.000 Jews victims of the Holocaust, including 65.000 Greek Jews. In awe and sadness.    

The "Arbeit macht frei" inscription at the gate of the Auschwitz -which means "Work makes you free”- that welcomed the Jews who were led to a horrible death at the crematoria, is still there ...

The use of this inscription within a political controversy and a journalistic comment is unacceptable because it downgrades, minimizes and trivializes a symbol of horror and Nazi barbarism. In Auschwitz every trace of humanity was lost and inhumanity and harrowing death prevailed. Millions of people were killed there because they were either Jews or “different”.

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THE LEGACY OF AMOS OZ FOR CONTEMPORARY ISRAEL - A CONVERSATION WITH FANIA OZ
On May 9, 2019 a de profundis and stirring conversation about the legacy of Amos Oz in today's Israel took place at V. & M. Theocharakis Foundation for Fine Arts and Music. The daughter of Amos Oz, Professor Fania Oz Salzberger, was invited to attend the event which marked the 71st anniversary of the independence of Israel and was organized by the Embassy of Israel and the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece.

Fania Oz, a professor of history at Haifa University Law School, discussed with journalist Elias Maglinis, a literature critic and author himself and with Dimitris P. Sotiropoulos, a professor of history at the University of the Peloponnese.

During the event Fania Oz was welcomed by Mrs. Irit Ben-Abba, the Israeli Ambassador to Greece and by the Secretary General of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, Mr. Victor Eliezer.  In her speech the Ambassador referred to the carry of the work of this important Israeli author in Greece and on how well-loved is he by the Greek public. The Secretary General, in his turn, mentioned the book "Jews and words", written by both Amos Oz and his daughter Fania and read some precise excerpts reflecting the relationship between Jews and God, concluding that "today we feel that Amos is with us, as well".   
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GREECE PARTICIPATED AS THE GUEST OF HONOR AT THE “MARCH OF THE LIVING” 2019

Greece was this year's guest of honor at the international educational programme of the "March of the Living", organized every year, since 1988, in Memory of the victims of the Holocaust. The March of the Living started on the 2.5.2019 at the central camp of Auschwitz and ended at Birkenau, where millions of people have been exterminated, being victims of Nazi atrocities. Thousands of people from, not less than fifty seven different countries, including the Hellenic Parliamentary Delegation, have walked the distance of these almost three kilometers that separate the two camps, were the victims languished Nazi ferociousness.

Mr. Nikos Voutsis, President of the Hellenic Parliament, Mr. David Saltiel, President of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece and the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki and Vice-President of the World Jewish Congress (WJC), Mr. Samuel Makis Matsas, President of the Jewish Museum of Greece, Mr. Gabriel Negrin, Rabbi of Athens, Dr. Efstathios Lianos Liantis, Special Secretary for Religious and Cultural Diplomacy, Special Envoy on Combating Antisemitism and Preserving Holocaust Remembrance of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Head of the Greek Delegation to the IHRA, Mr. Marcel Solomon, President of the Jewish Community of Volos, were the participating members of the Greek  delegation. The Ecumenical Patriarch, His All Holiness Mr. Bartholomew was leading the "March of the Living" together with Mr. Voutsis. They were accompanied by the Vice-speakers of the Parliament, Messrs. George Varemenos, Anastasia Christodoulopoulou and Marios Georgiades, by Members of the Parliament, by the Chairman of the Town Council of Thessaloniki Mr. Shimon Ben Sasson, the Vice mayor of Thessaloniki, Mrs. Anna Angelidou, by the Director of the Office of the World Jewish Congress in Geneva, Mr. Leon Shaltiel, by the Director of the Charity Organization AGAPE, Mr. Manolis Toufexis and by a delegation of the Greek Jewish Youth.

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THE PRESIDENT OF THE HELLENIC PARLIAMENT PRESENTED THE EXHIBITS OF THE PERMANENT GREEK EXHIBITION IN AUSCHWITZ Print E-mail
Monday, 20 May 2019 08:33
The Hellenic Parliament, at an historical moment for the country, presented a part of the showpieces which will adorn the Permanent Greek exhibition  to be housed in the Auschwitz State Museum. The presentation was realized on May 2, 2019 by the President of the Hellenic Parliament, Mr. Nikos Voutsis, in a very emotionally touching ambiance.  

This day constitutes the capstone of the effort and the historical decision taken by the Hellenic Parliament to fully fund the establishment of a Permanent Exhibition in Auschwitz. Thus, we have ended our country's seventy year absence from this place of torture and memory, where thousands of our fellow citizens were exterminated. The exhibition titled "You should remember me, the way I remember you" (a phrase from the manuscript of Marcel Natzari) is organized thanks to the significant contribution of the Jewish Museum of Greece, that offered historical details and evidence. The resolution of the Hellenic Parliament to finance this work constitutes the minimum tribute of the country's moral and historical obligation for the perished in the Concentration Camp of Auschwitz.

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ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE ATTACK AT A SYNAGOGUE IN CALIFORNIA Print E-mail
Tuesday, 30 April 2019 11:57
The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece expresses the sorrow and the concern of the Greek Jewry for the recent attack against a Synagogue near San Diego, in California, during a Passover service, that costed the life of Lori Gilbert-Kaye and resulted into injuring three more people, amongst whom a child.

Once more, only a few months after the deadly attack against a Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Jews become an easy target while praying at religious services. As the similar tragedies in Christchurch and in Sri Lanka demonstrate, religious fanaticism, the escalation of incidents of racial violence, the rise of the Nazi ideologies for Aryan supremacy, as well as hatred, have no limits, either religious or geographic, and send yet another alarming signal. This is also manifested in the hate messages, the antisemitic stereotypes and the conspiracy rhetoric that were found in the computer of the alleged perpetrator.

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece expresses its sympathy to the family of the victim and the local Jewish Community and wishes a speedy recovery to the injured.

Athens, April 30, 2019

Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece

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THE ATHENS JEWISH COMMUNITY CELEBRATED PESSACH AT THE GREEK EDUCATION MINISTRY IN ATHENS Print E-mail
Monday, 22 April 2019 11:02

On the occasion of the Jewish festivity of Passover, the Jewish Community of Athens organized, the traditional Seder of Pessach, on Saturday April 20, 2019, at the events’ hall of the Ministry of Education, Research and Religious Affairs. 

The leadership of the Ministry that kindly offered the venue, was represented by the Minister of Education Mr. Kostas Gavroglou and the Secretary General for Religious Affairs Mr. George Kalantzis. The Seder was also attended by Archimandrite Dionysios, representative of the Archbishop of Athens and All Greece, Ieronymos. Approximately 350 members of the Athens Jewish Community, under the guidance of the Rabbi of Athens Gabriel Negrin, read and recited the Haggadah, the narration of the Exodus from Egypt, which is linked to the festivity of Pessach. 

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RACIST VIOLENCE REPORT FOR 2018 - The antisemitic attacks Print E-mail
Wednesday, 24 April 2019 07:25

Athens, 19.4.2019- The Racist Violence Recording Network (RVRN) presented yesterday April 18, 2019,  their annual report, which analyses findings of racist violence and hate crime across Greece in 2018, recorded by the 46 organizations participating in the Network. From January to December 2018, the RVRN documented, through interviews with victims, 117 incidents of racist violence, with more than 130 victimsIn 74 incidents the victims were migrants or refugees on grounds of ethnic origin, religion, colour, associations of third country nationals, human rights defenders due to their connection with refugees and migrants, as well as a memorial to the victims of shipwrecks. In six (6) incidents, Greek citizens were targeted due to their colour, foreign or ethnic origin. In nine (9) incidents, the targets were Jewish sacred or symbolic places and the Jewish community and in one (1) incident the target was a Greek citizen due to educational activity against anti-Semitism or perceived religion. In 27 incidents the targets were LGBTQI+ persons, including five (5) refugees, asylum-seekers and EU citizens. In 59 incidents more than one victim was targeted, whereas in 63 incidents the assault was committed by a group of at least two people. 

For more information see here the site of the RVRN. See here the full report in pdf.

Excerpt from the report (p. 19) on antisemitism: In 2018, the RVRN recorded 9 anti-Semitic attacks. In particular, there were 6 incidents of desecration of Holocaust memorials in Athens and Thessaloniki, 2 incidents of desecration of the Jewish cemetery in Nikaia and Trikala as well as 1 incident of vandalism of the synagogue in Volos. In these incidents the perpetrators drew Nazi symbols or words and slogans referring to the Holocaust, threatening the Jewish community as a whole. Additionally, there was an incident against a teacher, who is being harassed severely due to his educational activity against anti-Semitism.

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THE SPECIAL ENVOY ON COMBATTING ANTI-SEMITISM TO THE ECUMENICAL PATRIARCH Print E-mail
Thursday, 18 April 2019 09:26
A meeting with the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew had the Special Envoy on Combatting Anti-Semitism, Dr. Efstathios Lianos Liantis, in view of the visit of the Primate of Orthodoxy to the Auschwitz concentration camp, in order to lead the March of the Living, on May 2nd, 2019.

The Ecumenical Patriarch blessed the mission of removing every anti-Semitic stereotype and highlighted the need for co-operation between the actors of Christianity and Judaism, which the Ecumenical Throne has been realizing throughout its ministry through interreligious dialogue and many other initiatives of joint action. 

He also stressed that he was willing to take coordinating action in the Christian world in order to eliminate the social pathogenesis of anti-Semitism and to preserve the commitment to fight any negative prejudice and persecution in the name of religion. 
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