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

NEW VANDAL ATTACK AGAINST TOMB AT THE JEWISH CEMETERY OF IOANNINA

Antisemitism targets even the dead. For the second time in less than a month a tomb was found vandalized at the Jewish cemetery of Ioannina. The  vandals chose the period of the High Holidays of the Jewish faith for the manifestation of their antisemitic hatred with the hideous act of removing the tombstone of a grave. Shame!

The State as well as the local authorities need to take all necessary measures for the safety of the Jewish Community and its sacred sites all over Greece, and particularly in Ioannina, where the Jewish cemetery has been the target of hatred attacks repeatedly in the past. Let the dead rest in peace!

Athens, September 10, 2021

Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece

 
MINISTER OF HEALTH THANOS PLEVRIS: I APOLOGIZE TO THE JEWISH PEOPLE
The newly appointed Minister of Health Thanos Plevris, reacted swiftly to the announcement of KIS regarding his past references to Auschwitz, with a statement posted on his social media accounts (Sept. 1st, 2021). The statement reads: My respect towards the victims of the Holocaust of the Jews is absolute and I am contrary to any kind of antisemitism. I have demonstrated it through many public statements, in a manner beyond any doubt. The reservations of KIS about me -due to my statement while acting as defense lawyer of my father, whom I totally disagree with- are understandable.

I never wanted to insult the Jewish people and I apologize if I have done so. I am sure that through my work as Minister of Health I will lift all the reservations of all those who doubt my respect to the victims of the Holocaust of the Jews and they will realize that I have no antisemitic feelings”.

Relevant:
-Facebook & Twitter of Health Minister Thanos Plevris 

-The Greek Reporter, Sept. 1, 2021: Greek Minister Apologizes for Auschwitz Remark

 
KIS ANNOUNCEMENT ON THE APPOINTMENT OF THANOS PLEVRIS AS MINISTER OF HEALTH
The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece expresses its concern for the appointment of Thanos Plevris as Minister of Health.

In 2009, Mr. Thanos Plevris stated the following, inter alia, before the Greek Court of Justice: «I will refer to issues that have puzzled you. You are concerned about the reference to Auschwitz. The one that says “to keep the camp of Auschwitz in good conditions”. I will examine the most extreme interpretation. That the defendant with this reference means: “Keep the camp of Auschwitz in good conditions because I want, at some point, the national socialist regime to come back, Hitler to come back, take the Jews and put them in Auschwitz”. What kind of instigation is this? What incitement is this? Is it that one is not allowed to believe and want to believe that “I want to exterminate someone”?».

We expect Mr. Thanos Plevris to apologize to the Jewish people for this reference and express his unequivocal condemnation of intolerance, antisemitism and Holocaust denialists, conforming with the declared positions of the Greek Prime Minister. We also hope that the new Minister will address all citizens equally, regardless of skin color, race or religion.

 Athens, September 1st, 2021

Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece

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LET’S REBUILD TOGETHER LARISSA’S SYNAGOGUE Print E-mail
Monday, 16 November 2020 13:03
The Synagogue of Larissa, symbolically named "Etz Hayim" (The Tree of Life), which made the life of Jewish people of this city “blossom”, is today a ruin at risk of collapse. 

The beautiful, simple, imposing building, with the enormous historical and cultural value, severely damaged by its 160 years of life was delivered in October 2019 to the hands of experts, who studied its static adequacy in order to start the support works. The findings were disappointing because, apart from the visible damages, numerous other invisible problems arose, which rendered the building inadequate and dangerous. Everything was removed from the Synagogue which has been temporarily supported, expecting the funding to continue the restoration works recommended by the team of experienced engineers.

Since the Synagogue has been closed for more than a year, the Rabbi, the Board and the members of the Community make every possible effort to keep the religious life and traditions alive: services are performed at the small Community Center, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur were celebrated under a tent at the school yard, weddings and other events are hosted in hotel halls... the Jews of Larissa have been extremely inventive until their beloved  Synagogue becomes again the center where the heart of Jewish life beats…

The restoration of the "Etz Hayim" Synagogue is linked to the very effort of the historical Jewish Community of Larissa to continue to exist. However, it is a project of huge costs that the Community of Larissa is unable to afford. For this reason, with the support of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, it turns for help to the Greek and global Jewish world, to organizations and individuals.

We address to you, to all our fellow Jews in Greece and abroad, to you who were born in Larissa and have linked the “Ka-al” to your most beautiful memories, to you who learned to love it through stories of your mates and  parents, to you who visited our Synagogue and were touched by its beauty and history, to you who want to contribute to the preserving the Jewish religious and cultural heritage in our city. We appeal to you for financial assistance for the restoration of our Synagogue, the pillar of our Jewish life.

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ARCHIVAL DOCUMENTS TRACE THE LIFE AND SURVIVAL OF ONE SALONICAN JEW THROUGH THE TWENTIETH CENTURY Print E-mail
Monday, 16 November 2020 10:30

By Dimitris Mitsopolous*

Six years ago, after graduating from high school, I was admitted to the Department of History and Archaeology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece. My childhood dream to become a historian had been fulfilled. I had planned to study the history of Greece’s European integration and the historical origins of the Greek economic crisis. But two events led to a major shift in my focus.

For my birthday, during the first year of my studies, I received an important work of history as a gift: Salonica, City of Ghosts: Christians, Muslims and Jews written by Columbia University professor Mark Mazower, which enabled me to delve into the history of my hometown, Thessaloniki — or Salonica, as it was often known by the city’s Jewish community. The book opened me to the city’s multicultural past, and Salonica’s complex relationship with the past and present. I discovered for the first time the city’s colorful past, and the fact that its very makeup was totally different a century ago.

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WHO IS PFIZER CEO ALBERT BOURLA? Print E-mail
Monday, 16 November 2020 09:16

By Philip Chrysopoulos, November 10th, 2020

Pfizer’s brand-new Covid-19 vaccine, which has 90 percent effectiveness, has proven to be the biggest, most optimistic news by far in a year of mostly jaw-droppingly awful news. The much-anticipated discovery brought to the limelight the name of the pharmaceutical company’s Chairman and CEO, Albert Bourla.

Dr. Bourla is a Thessaloniki native who left Greece at the age of 34 to pursue a career in the pharmaceuticals industry. Born in the northern Greece city on October 21, 1961, he is part of the long history of the Sephardic Jews of Thessaloniki.

The Bourla family arrived in Thessaloniki from Spain about six centuries ago. As jewelers, they created and sold diamonds, jewelry and watches throughout the Balkans, and built two important buildings in the city, one of which is the Moroccan Mansion. Albert Bourla is a descendant of the few survivors of the Jewish community of the city which was almost completely wiped out by the Nazis during World War II.

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INTERVIEW WITH CAROL GORDON ON “SHIRA’S JOURNEY” Print E-mail
Monday, 16 November 2020 09:57
In September 2013, an Australian team travelled to Greece to shoot a documentary focusing on the Greek Jews – their rich history, the impact of the Holocaust on them as well as their present-day existence. The documentary is based on an original screenplay written by Carol Gordon who also directed the film together with Natalie Cunningham. “Following Shira’s Journey: A Greek Jewish Odyssey” premiered at the Delphi Bank 21st Greek Film Festival in Melbourne on October 26, 2014 and it has been screened at Film festivals worldwide since then. An integral part of this project are the photos captured by Emmanuel Santos; they were featured in a major exhibition at the Jewish Museum of Australia in Melbourne in 2017.

Carol Gordon answered some questions for the Against Antisemitism blog about this remarkable project.

Your multi-faceted project is based on intense research. How did you first become interested in Greek Jewish Communities?

I grew up in South Africa in a traditional Jewish household. I knew about the Greek Jews from Rhodos because many of them came to South Africa before the war. I also knew vaguely about Jews in Thessaloniki because I had read a book that mentioned the community. South Africa was also home to a very large Greek Orthodox community so we had many Greek friends and they often told me information about the Jews of Greece that I’d never heard of before. After school I travelled to Greece and felt a very strong connection there, resulting in me going back a few times. With each trip I learned more about the many Greek Jewish communities that had existed there. I became determined to find out as much as I could and to document this very unknown history – particularly the devastating effect of the Holocaust on the Greek Jewish communities. It is only in the past ten years that much more information has come out into the public domain. It took me around thirty years of researching until I felt I had enough to write the screenplay and do the documentary.

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ANNUAL KADDISH FOR JEWS BURIED IN ARAB COUNTRIES Print E-mail
Thursday, 12 November 2020 14:31

The European Jewish Congress would like to invite you and your community to take part in the Kaddish Initiative – For Global Jewish Solidarity and Unity.

In 2014, the State of Israel passed a law to officially make November 30th a Day to Commemorate the Departure and Expulsion of Jews from Arab Countries and Iran, a date which is now marked by Jewish communities worldwide.

Over the last few years, prominent members of Jewish communities in Europe and North America have been calling for Kaddish and an Azkara to be recited in communities and synagogues across the world in remembrance of Jews buried in inaccessible cemeteries in Arab countries.

This year, Jewish organisations, communities and other Jewish institutions of all backgrounds are called to say these prayers on the closest Shabbat to the Day of Commemoration which is Saturday, 28th November, in remembrance and in solidarity with the Jews from the Middle East and North Africa who cannot say them in the presence of their departed family members, since many of the cemeteries remain inaccessible.

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