Social services for Nazi victims have been supported by a grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany.
Funds have been provided by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany for the Emergency Assistance Program for Nazi Victims at the direction of the United States District Court supervising the lawsuit In RE: Holocaust Victim Assets Litigation (Swiss Banks).

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ANNOUNCEMENT BY THE CENTRAL BOARD OF JEWISH COMMUNITIES IN GREECE REGARDING THE CUSTOM OF THE “BURNING OF ΤΗΕ EFFIGY OF JUDAS”

During the Easter holidays, various customs take place in our country. One of these is the "burning of the effigy of Judas", which takes place in some areas of the country. This custom perpetuates stereotyped perceptions against the Jews. It is significant that the custom has almost been eliminated in the rest of Europe.

In the past, we, the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, have repeatedly proceeded with representations to competent bodies in order to stop the custom in our country. The fact that the Church of Greece, with its Synodic Circulars of 1891, 1910 and 1918, demanded that "these customs are expressly forbidden" is of particular significance.

We believe that this custom not only offends the Greek Jewish community but also affects every effort towards the understanding and respect of common values ​​that characterise Judaism and Christianity. We hope that everyone will eventually contribute to the abolition of this custom that does not serve the spirit of love and reconciliation which is conveyed during the days of Easter.

Athens, 11 April  2018

Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece

 
ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE BRUTAL MURDER OF FRENCH JEWISH HOLOCAUST SURVIVOR MIREILLE KNOLL

Brutality struck again Paris, the “city of light” of the European civilization, with the murder of the 85year-old Mireille Knoll, a French Jewish woman and a Holocaust survivor. 

Some times there are no words fit to describe the grief and repugnance we feel, especially when a human being -who 74 years ago experienced the barbarity of the Nazis in the concentration camps and survived gas chambers- is brutally murdered in 2018. All people in Europe must realize that antisemitism may aim against the Jews but it does not end with the Jews. It threatens the fundamental principles of tolerance, religious freedom and equality, it threatens once more the very essence of European civilization. For this reason, Europe needs to timely and effectively fight against antisemitism in order not to mourn over more victims of fanaticism and intolerance.

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece expresses the solidarity of the Greek Jews towards the French Jewish Community along with our deepest condolences to the family of Mireille Knoll.

On Friday night we celebrate Pessach, the festivity of the exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt towards freedom. We do not forget slavery, we do not forget the hardships our people endured through the millennia of its historic course. On Friday night we will light a candle in the memory of Mireille Knoll.

Athens, March 28, 2018

Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece

 
IN MEMORY OF THE EXTERMINATION OF THE JEWISH COMMUNITY OF ARTA

The Municipality of Arta, a city in North-western Greece, on the occasion of the 74 years since the arrest and deportation (March 24th, 1944) of 480 members of the local Jewish Community  by the Nazis, organized for second consecutive year a series of events dedicated to their memory.  Only 30 Jews survived the Holocaust.

In his speech the Mayor of Arta Mr Christos Tsirogiannis mentioned that “the Community’s historical memory is kept unchanged and the descendants of its members, many of whom are here among us, still keep ties with the homeland of their ancestors. It is a journey through time from which we learn our city’s history. This gives us strength for the future”. The Mayor of Arta also thanked the representatives of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece and the Greek Jewish Communities for participating in the events, as well as the “Skoufas” Cultural Association for hosting the main event and all those who attended the events. 

The events begun on Saturday morning with a tour at the former Jewish quarter of Arta and in the evening the main event took place at the Cultural Center of “Skoufas” Association with the presentation of the history of the former Jewish Community of Arta by the lawyer – graphologist and researcher Theocharis Vadivoulis. During the main event addresses were delivered held by the Minister of Administrative Reform Mrs Olga Gerovasili, the Vice-President of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece Mr Viktor Eliezer, the President of “Skoufas” Mr Nikolaos Bantaloukas, the Secretary General of the Athens Jewish Community Mr Joseph Mizan and the author Mr Dimitris Vlachopanos author of the book “ISAAK MIZAN – ARM NUMBER 182641”.

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Greek Orthodox Archbishop presents the Greek edition of "Shulchan Aruch" in Athens Print E-mail
Thursday, 22 March 2018 11:02

The presentation of Rabbi Isaac Mizan's new book, the Greek edition of "Shulchan Aruch - Guide to Law Implementation according to Sephardic Tradition" took place on March 5, 2018, in the crowded hall of the Benaki Museum Amphitheatre, in Athens. The book presentation was organized by the General Secretarial for Religious Affairs of the Greek Ministry of Education and the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS).

In his address, G. Kalantzis, General Secretary of Religious Affairs, referred to the importance the state attaches to the promotion of humanitarian values ​​and the dialogue between religions, but also to the programmes of the Ministry of Education which are focused on combating anti-Semitism.
In the same spirit, D. Saltiel, President of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, referring to the work of Rabbi Mizan and the value of the Greek version of Shulchan Aruch, stressed the crucial role of religions in the creation of a spirit of mutual understanding and mutual respect.
Rabbi Elias Sabetai, from Larissa, - also the birthplace of Rabbi Mizan - and author of books on Judaism, spoke of the essence of religious teachings in the spiritual guidance of man.
On a personal tone, Samuel Matsas, President of the Jewish Museum of Greece, talked about how he and his family built their religious identity’s consciousness, on the teachings of Rabbi Mizan.
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ANNOUNCEMENT ON THE NEW WAVE OF TERROR ATTACKS IN ISRAEL Print E-mail
Wednesday, 21 March 2018 13:53
The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece expresses the profound sorrow of the Greek Jewry for the death of three Israelis murdered over the past week-end. A father of four children was stabbed in Jerusalem and two young soldiers were the victims of a car-ramming attack in the West Bank.

The new wave of terrorism launched by extremist Palestinian organizations against Israel undermines every peace initiative in the region and triggers hatred and fanaticism once more. At last, it needs to be understood that terrorism will not bring peace. Terrorism causes unbearable pain and jeopardizes the atmosphere of trust that must prevail between the two people in order to achieve the longing peace.

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece conveys its most sincere condolences to the families of the victims and the people of Israel.

Athens, March 21, 2018
Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece

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KIS LETTER TO POLISH AMBASSADOR IN PROTEST OF NEW HOLOCAUST BILL Print E-mail
Tuesday, 06 February 2018 09:49
Joining the international Jewish campaign of protest against the Polish bill that criminalizes references on the role of Poland with regard to the Holocaust, the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece addressed the following letter to the Polish President through the  Ambassador of Poland to Greece, Ms Anna Barbarzak:

On behalf of the Greek Jewry, we would like to express our deep concern and distress on Poland’s proposed new Holocaust law which would criminalize suggestions regarding Poland’s role in Nazi crimes.  

The Greek Jewry, in honor of the memory of the six million Jews exterminated by the Nazis and in the name of the 77.377 Greek Jews who perished in the Holocaust, strongly protests against this proposalwhich restricts the historic research and testimonies on the role of the Polish authorities during the darkest period of the world history. 

It is our wishful belief that the President of Poland would reconsider his decision to sign such a bill. 
We kindly ask you to inform the competent authorities in your county of our strong protest and we thank you for your intermediation. 
 
Sincerely Yours,
The President DAVID SALTIEL
The Secretary General MOISIS ELISAF
 
GREEKS DELVE BACK INTO THESSALONIKI’S JEWISH HERITAGE Print E-mail
Tuesday, 20 March 2018 10:35

By MARINA RAFENBERG and SAKIS MITROLIDIS 


“The voices of 50,000 deported Thessaloniki Jews must not be forgotten. It is time for Greece to delve back into its memory.” Those are the heartfelt words of David Saltiel, president of Thessaloniki’s Jewish community, which today numbers barely a thousand, three-quarters of a century after it was nearly wiped out by the Nazis.
Sunday saw residents gather at the city’s old railway station in memory of the first of 19 convoys of Jewish residents deported to Auschwitz under Nazi occupation.
Thessaloniki had a population of more than 50,000 Jews before World War II, some 46,000 of whom were deported and killed at German Nazi death camps.
Before the deportations started 75 years ago this week, the community in the city, which was mainly Sephardic Jews chased out of Spain in 1492, had developed to the point where it earned the nickname the “Jerusalem of the Balkans.” But then came the horrors of 1943, when virtually all of the town’s Jews were deported, just four percent of them surviving the Nazi death camps to which they were dispatched.
Over the past five years, Thessaloniki has held commemorations in mid-March, instigated by mayor Yannis Boutaris to remember the first of the convoys of Jews rounded up and sent off to the camps from Thessaloniki’s railway station on March 15, 1943. In January, Boutaris said the Greek authorities had been deeply remiss in waiting so long to officially commemorate the Jews’ fate.
He asked, “Who has mourned neighbors who disappeared? What monuments did we erect? What ceremonies did we celebrate?”. 
He also denounced the looting of the belongings left behind by deportees. 
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ISRAEL PRESIDENT ATTENDS HOLOCAUST MUSEUM CEREMONY IN GREECE Print E-mail
Wednesday, 31 January 2018 09:41

βυ COSTAS KANTOURIS, ASSOCIATED PRESs

Ιsrael's president and Greece's prime minister attended a foundation ceremony on Tuesday 30.1.2018 for a Holocaust memorial museum in the Greek city of Thessaloniki, which lost 97 percent of its Jewish community in German World War II death camps.

Reuven Rivlin and Alexis Tsipras symbolically planted two olive trees on the plot. The planned six-story building will be built by 2020, next to the northern city's old railway station, from which around 55,000 Thessaloniki Jews were forced into goods wagons for the camps. About 50,000 died there.

Tsipras said the museum will fulfill an old debt for the city, around 40 percent of whose pre-war population was Jewish. Overall, about 90 percent of Greece's Jewish population was killed by Nazi forces during the war.
"It is very important for Thessaloniki, for the Jewish community, and for humanity that the city is getting a Holocaust museum," Auschwitz camp survivor Heinz K
οunio said.  Kounio, 90, was among the first group of Thessaloniki Jews to reach the concentration camp in 1943, together with his sister and parents. All survived because they spoke German and were employed as interpreters. "I will always remember the five great chimneys that belched black smoke 30 meters (90 feet) high," he told The Associated Press. "And underneath there was something like white swirling steam. Above was the smoke from the bodies, and below from the souls of the dead".

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