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of Yom Hazikaron –the memorial day for the soldiers fallen in defense of Israel and the victims of terror- being superseded by Yom Haatsmaout, Israel’s Independence Day.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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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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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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AGHIA SOPHIA, A MUSEUM WHICH IS UNITING INSTEAD OF DIVIDING Print E-mail
Monday, 13 July 2020 09:11
 By Victor Isaak Eliezer*                         

Daily "TA NEA", July 11, 2020: The temple or Museum of "Aghia Sophia" in Istanbul, is maybe one of the unique religious monuments which are uniting instead of dividing the worshippers of two different monotheistic religions.  As a temple, during many centuries, it symbolized the unity of the Orthodox Christianity and the wealth of the Byzantine civilization, till the fall of Constantinople by the Ottomans. Then it was transformed into a mosque. The founder of the modern Turkish state, Kemal Ataturk, converted "Aghia Sophia" into a Museum related to both Christianism and Islam. A Museum of world cultural heritage which is visited and admired by millions of visitors, independently of their race, skin color or religion. I fully understand and share, though, the awe which overwhelms the Christian Orthodox people as this Church has been the birthplace of Orthodoxy and marked faithfully the rightful struggle of the Greeks for their freedom from the Ottoman enslavement that led to their independence and to the creation of the modern Hellenic state. 

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CERVANTES INSTITUTE AND JEWISH COMMUNITY OF THESSALONIKI SIGN AGREEMENT TO PROMOTE SEPHARDIC HERITAGE Print E-mail
Friday, 31 July 2020 09:34
The Cervantes Institute and the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki signed an agreement on Tuesday allowing the institute to establish a branch in the Greek city, as part of the institute's efforts to promote and recognize the Sephardic community’s Spanish roots and revitalize the community’s historical use of Judeo-Spanish or Ladino.  

In attendance at the special signing ceremony was President of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece and WJC Vice President David Saltiel, Cervantes Institute Athens Director Cristina Conde de Beroldinge, Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs Arancha González Laya, Spanish Ambassador to Greece Enrique Viguera, and Ambassador of Greece to Spain Ioannis Tzovas-Mourouzis, among others.    

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THESSALONIKI HOLOCAUST MUSEUM 'AN EXTREMELY IMPORTANT INITIATIVE FOR GREECE', SAYS US AMBASSADOR PYATT Print E-mail
Tuesday, 14 July 2020 12:14
US Ambassador to Greece Geoffrey Pyatt on Thursday said that the plan to build the Holocaust Museum in Thessaloniki is an extremely important initiative for Greece, considering the key role that the Jewish community has played in the city's history.

The ambassador was speaking at the Jewish Museum in Thessaloniki, where he was briefed on the construction work's progress by David Saltiel, the president of both the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece and the city's Jewish community, and the president of the Board of Directors of the Thessaloniki Holocaust Museum Foundation former mayor George Boutaris. The US Consul General in Thessaloniki Gregory Pfleger was also present at the meeting.

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