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:

Read more...
 
INTERVIEW OF VIKTOR ELIEZER, KISE GENERAL SECRETARY, CONCERNING THE VANDALISM OF THE JEWISH CEMETERY OF ATHENS Print E-mail
Friday, 09 October 2020 11:18

On Wednesday 7th October 2020, Viktor Eliezer, General Secretary of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, conducted an interview at the newspaper "KATHIMERINI" and Mrs. Margarita Pournara, concerning the vandalism of the Jewish cemetery of Athens.

Victor Eliezer: Antisemitism begins against the Jews, but it does not stop there

The vandalism of the Jewish cemetery of Athens, with the hideous neo-Nazi graffiti is to be added to a chain of corresponding acts throughout the territory:  from Chania and Kavala up to Larisa and Rhodes, recently we see Greek Jewish monuments, synagogues and cemeteries becoming a target of extremists. In anticipation for today's verdict concerning the Golden Dawn case, it is quite natural one to wonder if actions like these have anything to do with the trial. Mostly, one wonders where does all this hatred leads, which every now and then becomes apparent.

"If one was to ask me whether or not Greece is an antisemitic country, I would reply with certainty, no. The Greek Jews, especially from the post-colonial period and onwards, live in a regime of equality, freedom and parity", says at the column the journalist and the General Secretary of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece Mr. Victor Isaak Eliezer (photo). "But if the question concerns the presence of anti-Semitic cases in the country, the answer is different. Luckily, up until today, hatred speech has not threatened human life, as we see happening in other European countries. Let me remind you, the recent attack at the synagogue of Hamburg, which was condemned by chancellor Merkel. Antisemitism begins against the Jews, but it does not stop with them. It concerns, then, the whole society, which wants to protect the values of freedom and democracy". 

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INTERPARLIAMENTARY PRESENCE AT THE ATHENS JEWISH CEMETERY EXPRESSES SOLIDARITY IN THE AFTERMATH OF “JUDEN RAUS” GRAFFITI Print E-mail
Tuesday, 06 October 2020 13:15

In the aftermath of the hideous neo-Nazi graffiti at the Jewish cemetery of Athens, an interparliamentary group visited the cemetery, expressed solidarity towards the Greek Jews along with the firm stance that such practices and ideologies will not be tolerated in Greece.

MPs Maximos Harakopoulos and Stavros Kalafatis (New Democracy party), as well as Andreas Michailides and Ioannis Saraliotis (Syriza party) visited the site where the neonazi graffiti was already erased thanks to the swift reaction of the Municipality authorities. The MPs were welcomed and briefed by KIS General Treasurer Daniel Benardout, and by members of the Athens Jewish Community, the Vice President Daniel Emmanuel, the Treasurer Annita Soussi and the President of the Religious Affairs Committee Alexander Modiano.

Following a brief tour, the group was photographed in front of the Holocaust Monument situated in the cemetery.

After the meeting Mr. Daniel Benardout, KIS General Treasurer and Member of the Presidium, made the following statement: “In the first hours after the hate attack launched against the Jewish cemetery of Athens, I express the Greek Jewry’s gratitude towards the representatives of the Greek Parliament whose presence here today has made their condemnation and sorrow explicitly clear.  

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US STATE SECRETARY POMPEO VISITS THE JEWISH MUSEUM OF THESSALONIKI Print E-mail
Tuesday, 29 September 2020 10:55
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, during his visit to Greece, along with his wife Susan and members of his delegation to Greece paid a visit to the Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki on Monday September 28, 2020, accompanied by US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt and US General Consul in Thessaloniki Elizabeth Lee. The museum was closed to the public for the Yom Kippur holiday.

Pompeo was received by the President of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS) and of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki David Saltiel, and was given a tour of the premises.

KIS President David Saltiel, in his statement of September 29, 2020, stressed the highlights of his meeting with the US Secretary of State: “I am deeply honoured that US Secretary Pompeo, amid a highly important agenda in Greece, and his wife Susan, paid tribute to the Jewish Holocaust victims, in the solemn spirit of Yom Kippur, during their visit at the Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki. Mike Pompeo’s interest in the Greek Jewish heritage at large, and in the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki that lost the 96% of its population in particular, gives us strength to continue our work. We are grateful for the expression of his support for the Holocaust Museum project and his motivational message for the speedy completion of this project”.

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KIS ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE ANTISEMITIC GRAFFITI AT THE JEWISH CEMETERY OF ATHENS Print E-mail
Monday, 05 October 2020 13:54

The followers of the neo-Nazi organizations strike again and remind us of their hatred against the Jews. Neo-Nazis vandalized the external surrounding walls of the Jewish cemetery of Athens with the same slogans the Nazis used 80 years ago in order to deport millions of Jews from their homes and exterminate six million in the gas chambers, amongst whom 60.000 Greek Jews.

We welcome the prompt reaction of the Athens Mayor, Kostas Bakoyannis, who put in motion the Municipality’s competent authorities that immediately erased the hideous slogans.

Nazism has no place in our democracy mainly because it promotes its destruction along with the prevalence of the total violation of human rights. We express the certainty that the Greek State will take all necessary measures so that the perpetrators will be arrested and face justice. 

We will not be intimidated. Zero tolerance for Nazism.

Altogether, citizens regardless of religion, law enforcement and justice authorities have to be in alert and make sure that the Nazi crimes against humanity will never be committed again. Antisemitism lays in the very root of the “absolute evil” that Nazism expresses. It starts with the Jews but never stops at them. Antisemitism targets the fundamental human rights that Europe needs to safeguard through concrete measures both in the context of Justice and Education.

Athens, October 5, 2020

Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece

REACTIONS BY THE GREEK GOVERNMENT

-Tweet by the MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS NIKOS DENDIAS:

“The vandal attack against the Jewish cemetery in Athens causes sorrow and repugnance. Nazism and its followers have no place in our society, in any society”.

-Announcement of the GOVERNMENT SPOKESMAN STELIOS PETSAS:

 “The vandalism of the Jewish cemetery of Athens with Nazi slogans causes dismay to every democratic citizen. Nazism, antisemitism and their followers have no place in Greece and they will not be tolerated. The State has taken all necessary measures in order to arrest the perpetrators and bring them to justice”.

-Tweet by the MINISTER OF EDUCATION NIKI KERAMEUS:

“I have contacted the President of the Jewish Community of Athens and expressed our condemnation for the desecration of the Jewish Cemetery of Athens as well as our commitment that the Greek Ministry of Education will persistently continue with its practices to combat antisemitism”.

-Tweet by the MINISTER OF DEVELOPMENT ADONIS GEORGIADIS:

“Shame! This by no means expresses the feelings of the Greek people”

-Tweets by the EMBASSY OF ISRAEL in Greece. In three separate tweets, the embassy wrote:
“The heinous anti-Semitic graffiti found today on the walls of the Athens Jewish Cemetery during Jewish High Holidays is yet another reminder of the existence of evil”. “Together with many other proud Greek voices we stand against hate, racism and extremism based on ignorance and prejudice”. “We are certain of a prompt Greek authorities’ reaction and have full confidence such acts will not be tolerated. Hate will not deter us.”
 

-TWEET by the GERMAN AMBASSADOR: I join all my Greek friends in their resounding condemnation of such barbarism. Antisemitism must have no place in our sicieties, in whatever language it is expressed.

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GREEK PRESIDENT SAKELLAROPOULOU READS LAST LETTERS OF HOLOCAUST VICTIMS ALOUD AT CULTURAL FESTIVAL Print E-mail
Tuesday, 29 September 2020 08:16
“Do not forget me…” Neama Cazes wrote on 8 April 1943 from the ghetto of German Nazi-occupied Greek city of Thessaloniki to her children, Maurice and Berto, who had escaped to Italian-occupied Athens. 

These words are also the title of the book by Leon Saltiel, a historian of the Holocaust in Greece who currently serves as the Representative to the UN in Geneva and UNESCO of the World Jewish Congress, and its Coordinator on Combating Antisemitism. In his book, Saltiel published some 50 letters sent by three Jewish mothers from within the ghetto of Thessaloniki to their sons, who were hiding in Athens during the Second World War, some weeks or days before their deportation and subsequent death in Auschwitz.  

Greek Republic President Katerina Sakellaropoulou - the first woman to occupy this post- will read three letters written by Cazes in contribution to this year’s autumn Dimitria festival, the leading cultural institution of Thessaloniki. The festival began online on 28 September. The reading of the letters will be hosted by the city of Thessaloniki with the support of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki and the German Consulate.  

The letters were written shortly before and during the deportations of the Jews of Thessaloniki and describe the climate of uncertainty, panic and anxiety that existed not only to Neama herself but to the Jewish community of Thessaloniki as well, shortly before the first train left Thessaloniki carrying 2,400 people to Auschwitz-Birkenau on 15 March 1943. The theme of this year’s festival is “distances,” both literally and figuratively, as the conference was forced to be virtual due to the coronavirus pandemic. Artists and other notable participants from Greece and abroad will present new artistic trends and highlighting the historic and cultural heritage of Thessaloniki during the festival.  

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