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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LATEST NEWS

KIS ANNOUNCEMENT ON A CARTOON TRIVIALIZING HOLOCAUST
The gate of Auschwitz: Only 76 years ago, on January 27, 1945, soviet soldiers saw the living skeletons and smelled the burned flesh. The sky was dark due to the smoke coming out of the crematoria. The inhumanity was revealed before humanity. And this was only the beginning of a series of revelations on the Shoah, the Holocaust of 6 million Jews by the Nazis and the extermination of hundreds of thousands of others who were “different”. The notorious sign “Arbeit macht Frei”, which was meant to deceive not only the victims but the whole world as well, is the symbol of the most hideous crime against humanity. Its trivialization and minimization means the legitimization of oblivion and Holocaust denial.

The new cartoon published in “Efimerida ton Syntakton” on January 16, 2021, combines the Nazi sign with the cartoonist’s confection “Studies make you free”, thus equalizing the gate of Auschwitz with the gates of the universities and the prisoners in this horrific extermination camp with the students. It is a hideous and vulgar instrumentalization of the Holocaust for political purposes.

In any case, the newspaper’s expressed respect towards the victims of the Holocaust and its firm position against antisemitism cannot be used as excuses for the publication of such cartoons that insult both the memory of the victims and the survivors alike, by trivializing the place of their martyrdom.

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, the Greek Jews, those of us who passed through the gate of Auschwitz, survived and are still alive, as well as the descendants of the victims, we will never stop denouncing every attempt to diminish and exploit the Holocaust which leads to oblivion and the distortion of history.

Athens, January 18, 2021
CENTRAL BOARD OF JEWISH COMMUNITIES IN GREECE
 
COVID-19 Vaccination starts in Thessaloniki with vaccination of Holocaust survivor
The vaccinations against COVID-19 of people residing in retirement homes started in Thessaloniki and the guests along with the staff of the “Saul D. Modiano” Home for the Elderly were vaccinated in the presence of Mr. Panagiotis Arkoumaneas, president of the National Public Health Organization (NPHO).


The NPHO task force was welcomed by the president of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki and the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, Mr. David Saltiel. 

The first person to receive the vaccine was a Holocaust survivor, Mrs. Zanna Saatsoglou- Sadikario. Mrs. Saatsoglou (96) was a prisoner in Auschwitz – Birkenau and has been living in the Saul D. Modiano Home for the Elderly for the past 10 years.

Source:
EJC, 6.1.2021

 
VANDALISM OF THE HOLOCAUST MONUMENT OF DRAMA – REACTIONS AND RESTORATION
On the night of the 28th to the 29th of December 2020, vandals sprayed a Christogram cross with the words “Jesus Christ Conquers” on the Holocaust monument of Drama and broke a part of the marble base of the Monument. Similar graffiti was also sprayed at the nearby tobacco warehouse of Drama where, on March 3, 1943, the Bulgarian occupying forces arrested and imprisoned the Jews of the city before deporting them to the Nazi extermination camps.

REACTIONS:

 -The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS) in its announcement of December 30, 2020, referred to its letter addressed to the Police Department of Drama, calling for the arrest of the perpetrators, as well as to its letter to the Municipality of Drama, asking for the restoration of the damages caused to the Monument, and the condemnation of the vandalism “which offends the city's history and culture”.

“The Greek Jewry with repulsion and sorrow strongly condemns the continuation of anti-Semitic attacks that derive from any kind of fanaticism and encourage intolerance.

We wish the New Year to be a year of peace and prosperity, in which such phenomena will permanently and irrevocably stop”, KIS’s announcement stresses.

-The immediate reaction of the Municipality of Drama for the restoration of the Monument – Drama Mayor’s letter to KIS:

KIS expressed to the Mayor of Drama, Mr. Christodoulos Mamsakos, the Board’s appreciation for the immediate response of the Municipality for the restoration of the damages and the deletion of the graffiti. In his reply letter to KIS Mayor Mamsakos stresses inter allia: “With sorrow and a regret for the damages caused both to the Holocaust Monument and the tobacco warehouse in our town, I inform you that the restoration works have already started and I send you attached the relevant photographic material.

I also convey the mortification of our local society, which in its entirety condemns the barbaric destructive acts committed by isolated and controversial individuals, who do not serve the sacred humanitarian values of culture, history and traditions. They ignore that our culture, our history and our memories are humanity's past and present. They are our heritage".

The mayor’s letter concludes with the statement of “the repulsion and the contempt” with which himself and the people of Drama condemn this vandal attack.

-The MP of Drama Chara Kefalidou, Head of the Education, Research and Religious Affairs Sector of the socialist “Kinima Allagis” party, with an announcement on 31.12.2020, pointed out the following:

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THE MAYOR OF THESSALONIKI JOINED CELEBRATION FOR HANUKKAH Print E-mail
Friday, 11 December 2020 13:55
The Jewish Community of Thessaloniki has organized on-line candle lighting ceremonies via zoom and facebook, on daily basis. The first candle was lit on December 10, 2020, by the President of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece and of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki, Mr David Saltiel, and the Mayor of Thessaloniki Mr Konstantinos Zervas, with the participation of Rabbi Aaron Israel and many Community members who joined in via zoom.


Mr Saltiel stressed the peculiarity of this year’s festivity, celebrated remotely, and wished for a brighter future. “Light and hope is what the Maccabees fought for, and this is their message to us, not to lose hope because even a slightest glimmer is enough to dissolve a dense darkness”, Saltiel said. Then he welcomed the Mayor who constantly for the past two years joins the Hanukkah candle lighting in Thessaloniki.

Mayor Zervas expressed his joy and pointed out that he considers his participation at the celebration as a privilege. He wished a Happy Hanukkah to the Community and referred to “the miracle of light dispelling darkness which has a special meaning this year, when we all need to pray for the safe return of the normality and of all the things we cherish, hoping that soon we will be able to celebrate all festivities together”.

 
VANDALISM OF JEWISH SITES IN LARISSA – PERPETRATOR ARRESTED - REACTIONS Print E-mail
Monday, 07 December 2020 10:31
On December 3, 2020, a man wearing a cassock and holding an icon, sprayed a Christogram cross with the words “Jesus Christ Conquers” on the Holocaust monument of Larissa. He did the same on the outer wall of the Synagogue which is currently being restored. The incident was recorded on cctv street cameras which were examined after the President of the Jewish Community of Larissa informed the police and filed a lawsuit. The man was arrested the following day in the nearby area of Tempi. He was charged with damaging property and violating antiracism law.

REACTIONS:

-The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS) issued the following announcement stressing that the action “emanates religious fanaticism and intolerance”:

KIS, Dec. 4, 2020: Religious fanaticism and bigotry emanate from the new desecration attacks against Jewish sacred sites in Larissa, that occurred on December 3rd, 2020. The vandals used religious symbols to leave the mark of their anti-Semitic hatred on the exterior surrounding wall of the Synagogue of Larissa and the city’s Holocaust Monument, as a statement of contempt towards the sanctity of the sites and devastation of the memory of the Holocaust victims.

The Greek Jewry strongly condemns these hideous attacks. We urge the competent authorities to trace down the perpetrators, arrest them and bring them to justice.

We quote the Vice President of the European Commission Margaritis Schinas who just a couple of days ago stated:  “Europe stands firm against all forms of antisemitism. Jewish life is and always will be part of European societies and our way of life…”. Zero tolerance to fanaticism, intolerance and antisemitism”.

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TEARS ARE NOT BORROWED: REACTIONS TO ARMENIAN WRITER’S COMMENTS RELATED TO THE AZERBAIJANI – ARMENIAN WAR Print E-mail
Friday, 27 November 2020 12:13
In his “open letter to the Ambassador of Israel in Athens” (published in the website of the daily “Efimerida ton Syntakton”, efsyn.gr, on Nov. 19, 2020), Greek-Armenian writer Sifis Kassesian drew parallels between the Israeli policy on the Azerbaijani-Armenian war over Nagorno-Karabakh and the Nazis, and made comments relating Israel to Judas and Shylock with regard to Israel’s selling of weapons to Azerbaijan. The writer skillfully promotes anti-Semitic stereotypes by denying any intention of doing so: “Far from me the thought of correlating the present Israeli policy with stereotypes such as the 30 silver coins or the Merchant of Venice, which for so long have linked the image of the Jew motivated by economic interest to the collective conscience… Maybe many others will do it… Even further far from me is the thought that the murderers of your own people had also argued their own raison d'etat in order to justify their crime against the Jews and that now you are assimilated with them…”. The writer, after referring to his many Jewish friends and his feelings of sympathy towards the Jews over the Holocaust, he mentions the tears he shed for the Holocaust victims when, as a young man, he had visited an exhibition. “You abused of that tear Mr Ambassador, therefore I ask you to find a way to give me back my tear”, Kassesian concludes.

In reaction to Kassesian’s open letter, the Israeli Ambassador to Greece Yossi Amrani, as well as Victor Eliezer, journalist and KIS Secretary General,  replied with their respective letters, published in the website of “Efimerida ton Syntakton”, on November 25, 2020. Both letters, translated into English, are published here under:  

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ESTHER COHEN, OLDEST GREEK AUSCHWITZ SURVIVOR PASSES AWAY Print E-mail
Thursday, 03 December 2020 12:11

By Patricia Claus, "The Greek Reporter" December 1, 2020:

Esther Cohen, the oldest Greek survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp, who became known as a “living testimony” of the Holocaust, passed away on Tuesday December 1, 2020, at the age of 96.

The Ioannina-born Jewish woman, who had had her official camp number tattooed on her left arm, said in interviews that the number had also been tattooed “on her soul” as well. Along with so many other Jews, from Ioannina, Thessaloniki and elsewhere in Greece, Esther was rounded up on March 25, 1944. All the Jewish people living in the city were ordered by Greece’s German occupiers to report to Ioannina’s Mavili Square — and the vast majority would never see their beloved city again. She was somehow able to stay together with her entire family, including her six siblings, all the way to the gates of the concentration camp — but after that point she was never to set eyes on them again, except for one of her sisters.

Returning to Ioannina after the war, along with only approximately fifty other members of its original Greek community, she again made her home in the city. In March of 2014, she made headlines when she met with former German President Joachim Gauck in her city. She told him at that time, “When we die, the world must know that man must not be inhuman.” The German president then embraced her.

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ANTISEMITIC FRONT-PAGE TITLE OF THE NEWSPAPER MAKELEIO – REACTIONS BY THE GENERAL SECRETARY FOR RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS AND THE GREEK JEWRY Print E-mail
Wednesday, 11 November 2020 12:02
Daily “Makeleio”, known for frequently publishing incendiary anti-Semitic articles, on November 10, 2020, circulated with yet another anti-Semitic front-page title related to the announcement made by Albert Bourla, the CEO of the Pfizer pharmaceutical company, on the upcoming vaccine for covid. The front-page (as well as the teaser of the on-line Makeleio.gr)  is illustrated with the photo of the Nazi doctor Josef Mengele next to the photo of Dr. Bourla whose Jewish faith is used in the title to disseminate stereotypical propaganda, while in the surtitle of the front-page the term "poison" is used for the vaccine.

The Greek Jewry’s outrage was expressed with the following announcement of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS), which was followed by the immediate reaction of the General Secretary for Religious Affairs, Mr George Kalantzis, who issued the statement below:

KIS ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE ANTISEMITIC FRONT-PAGE TITLE OF THE NEWSPAPER “MAKELEIO”:

The front-page title of “Makeleio” of November 10, 2020, overwhelms us with outrage and repulsion, as its content perpetuates hatred and bigotry against the Jews and it becomes -once more- the carrier of the most hideous anti-Semitic propaganda.

The identification of the CEO of Pfizer as Mengele, the so-called butcher of Auschwitz, is an appalling and unethical assault against Albert Bourla only because he is a Jew. The huge-lettered front-title “Jewish veterinarian will stick the needle in us! Nightmarish admissions by force in ‘chamber – camps’ as flocks” is nothing but a clear incitement to violence against the Jews.

The vaccine of a company suddenly becomes “poison” due to the Jewish religion of the company’s CEO, Albert Bourla, and its production is compared to the Nazi experiments in Auschwitz, in an attempt to prevent people from using it, should it be proven effective in dealing with the coronavirus that has inflicted mankind. Shame!

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