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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KIS MESSAGE FOR YOM HAZIKARON & YOM HAATSMAOUT

From grief to joy, from memory to life, from loss to creation. This is the meaning of the sequence of Yom Hazikaron –the memorial day for the soldiers fallen in defense of Israel and the victims of terror- being superseded by Yom Haatsmaout, Israel’s Independence Day. Both anniversaries include in their very core the history of the creation of the modern State of Israel.

Today, the victims, those who heroically fell in the battlefield fighting for the independence of the Jewish home on the land of Israel, as well as for the safety of the citizens of the State of Israel, are commemorated. More than 50% of the soldiers who fought in the war of Independence of 1948 were Holocaust survivors, who had settled in the British Mandate Palestine in the aftermath of WWII seeking hope.

Tomorrow we celebrate Israel’s 73rd birthday. Israel, one of the youngest states in the world, has remarkably succeeded in incorporating ancient history, tradition, multicultural origins, pioneering thinking, technology, innovation and progress. A country that in its brief modern history offered its unreserved support on any occasion of natural disaster in any part of the world. The birth and the evolution of Israel have been rightfully described as “miracles”.

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece and the Greek Jewry as a whole wish to the people and the State of Israel peace and prosperity and hope that its citizens will continue achieving modern-day miracles for the benefit of all humanity.

Athens, April  13, 2021

Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece

 
GREECE TAKES OVER IHRA PRESIDENCY FROM GERMANY
Today, 1 April, the IHRA Presidency will be handed over from Germany to Greece. This means that the outgoing Chair, Ambassador Michaela Küchler, will take on a supportive role as a member of the Troika, which comprises last year’s, this year’s and next year’s IHRA Chairs. (Watch HERE the remarks of Ambassador Kuchler regarding the German Presidency of IHRA)

Normally, handovers are marked by ceremonies hosted at an embassy in the incoming Presidency’s country. However, this year, in keeping with the digital spirit of the past year and in lieu of an in-person ceremony, the outgoing and incoming Chairs prepared Handover Videos. These provide great insight into the promising plans for the future and the fruitful efforts of the past.

Ambassador Michaela Küchler outlined the challenges and successes of this unprecedented year. “Being able to work together across time zones, from Winnipeg to Berlin to Melbourne, required more than just a working microphone and a stable internet connection,” she said. “It required all of us to want to get something done. And we did.” 

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MESSAGE OF KIS PRESIDENT DAVID SALTIEL FOR THE HANDOVER OF THE IHRA PRESIDENCY TO GREECE

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece is very pleased to welcome the handover of the Presidency of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) to Greece.

Our country, member of IHRA since 2005, has a long term active role in initiatives for the preservation of the historic memory of the Shoah. The choice of the central theme “Teaching and Learning about the Holocaust: Education for a world with no more genocide” for Greece’s Presidency, demonstrates the importance attributed by Greece to Education and we are certain that the year inaugurated today will be filled with programs of core importance aiming at combating racism and anti-Semitism and establishing the respect of human rights in the conscience of the generations that will create the world of the future.

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece always was and will continue to be a succor in IHRA’s important task, developing and reinforcing the constructive collaboration with its Head and the Greek Delegation of IHRA.

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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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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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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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GREEK PRESIDENT SAKELLAROPOULOU VISITED THE JEWISH MUSEUM OF THESSALONIKI Print E-mail
Thursday, 29 October 2020 07:46
President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou said that the history of Thessaloniki's Jews "fills us with admiration, stimulates our conscience and invites us to be vigilant," speaking after her visit at the city's Jewish Museum on Tuesday October 27, 2020.

She also expressed sentiments of "respect, sadness, maybe some shame: with these feelings I followed in the footsteps of the over-2,000-year-old Jewish presence in Thessaloniki." The Jewish community, she said, "enriched the city with its culture, creativity, entrepreneurship, vitality, but was severely tested in the 20th century, culminating in its almost complete annihilation in Nazi camps."

Sakellaropoulou was welcomed at the Jewish Museum and accompanied during her tour there by the President of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece and of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki David Saltiel.

Also on Tuesday, the President attended the swearing-in ceremony of new officers at the military school in Thessaloniki.

Source: AMNA, October 27, 2020

 
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