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HOLOCAUST MONUMENT IN LARISSA VANDALIZED BY ALLEGED CLERGYMAN

In the evening of Monday July 17, 2017, an individual dressed as a monk who calls himself ‘father Kleomenis’ -a cult figure, popular for his bigot ideas and You tube posts- attacked and vandalized the Holocaust Monument in Larissa, situated in the central Jewish Martyrs Square of the city. In his video posted on You Tube, the alleged monk curses the Jews, denies the Holocaust and calls on the local patriots of Larissa to intervene and demolish the Monument. "Father" Kleomenis spits, kicks and throws eggs at the Monument. Some of his characteristic quotes: “Here, we read 6 million! Fairy tails… Shit on their faces, merely 600.000 Hitler wiped out!”. Kleomenis spits the Monument and says: “Satanic Jews”. He kicks the Monument and says: “Curse on your dirty Monuments” and continues: “Worms, Jewish bitches, this has to fall. The stinking Jewishness has to be taken down from Larissa. Rise up! Patriotic organizations of Larissa take it down, bring the bulldozer on!”Local police was notified and legal procedure was enacted. Investigation is ongoing. The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS) and the Jewish Community of Larissa issued press releases. The Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Church issued an announcement disassociating itself from the "monk" and condemning his actions.

The Municipality of Larissa issued an Announcement condemning the attack. The General Secretary of Religious Affairs George Kalantzis, as well as the General Secretary for Transparency and Human Rights Maria Giannakaki reacted swiftly by providing the Public Prosecutor of Larissa, the Racist Crimes Department of the Police, and the Cyber Crime Police Department with the relevant evidence. The President of the Jewish Community of Larissa pressed charges against the perpetrator. The Greek Helsinki Monitor also pressed charges against the “so called ‘father Kleomenis’ for a series of racist crimes”.

* The Announcement of KIS:

Shame and outrage are the feelings that one feels when realizes what happened in Larissa on Monday July 17, 2017: The shameful and upsetting incident of the desecration of the Holocaust Monument of Larissa –the first Holocaust Monument erected in Greece in 1987, in the memory of the Greek Jews deported and exterminated in the Nazi death camps. This highly significant Monument was vulgarly vandalized, with offensive expressions and brutal actions, by a robed clergyman who apparently has no affiliation to the Greek Orthodox Church.  On the same day leaflets of relevant anti-Semitic content were strewn across the Monument and the Square of Jewish Martyrs of Larissa. The case is being handled by the Police and the justice system. The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece asked the competent  Authorities to arrest the perpetrator and bring him to justice.

In addition KIS expresses the Greek Jewry’s belief that the society of Larissa and all local institutions will firmly condemn the incident, will isolate the perpetrators and will treat with respect the Holocaust Monument of Larissa and the Jewish Community which is an integral part of the city, that they will ultimately respect the city’s very cultural heritage and civilization, as the people of Larissa have always done in the course of history.

Athens July 18, 2017

Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece

 

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PRESS RELEASE OF THE JEWISH COMMUNITY OF LARISSA FOR THE VANDALIZATION OF THE HOLOCAUST MONUMENT

In the afternoon of  Monday July 17, 2017, in Larisa, Greece, the so-called Father Cleomenis with his clerical clothing, well-known from the social media for his racist mania, has defiled the Holocaust Monument of the town.

With vulgar insults, kicking and throwing eggs and flyers of anti-Semitic content at the Holocaust Monument of the town of Larisa, “Father Cleomenis” denied the Holocaust and invited all the self-called “patriotic” organizations of Larissa to stand up in order to destroy the Memorial and the “Jewishness” of the city of Larissa. The incident has been filmed by his associates and has been already uploaded to Youtube.

The Jewish Community of Larissa expresses its abhorrence for this violent incident that just took place in a town whose citizens and local authorities show respect and honor to this Monunent; in a town that has never experienced similar incidents in the past. Our Community expresses its satisfaction for the immediate mobilization of the Police Authorities.

We feel confident that in the town of Larissa, fanaticism, intolerance, racist discourse or any other similar phenomenon will be isolated and will be fought at its birth.

Athens, July 18, 2017
JEWISH COMMUNITY OF LARISSA

 
GREEK ARTIST COMPARES ECONOMIC CRISIS TO THE HOLOCAUST

Singer Jimmy Panoussis, in an interview published in “To Vima” on June 25, 2017 (on the occasion of his participation in the theatrical comedy of Aristophanes “Peace”), referred to the “Greeks as the new Jews of our times”. Panoussis said: “As the Nazis chose Jews to be their victims, now the neo-nazis and Schäuble’s people have picked us, the Greeks”. This comparison of the current Greek economic crisis to the Holocaust was criticized Greek Jewish leaders. In an article by Victor Eliezer (EJP, July 4, 2017), the President of the Athens Jewish Community Minos Moissis stressed that Panoussis’ statement “affects me both as a Jew and as a Greek. As a Jew, because once again the mass murder of the Holocaust is wiped out when it is compared to unrelated modern themes. As a Greek because he isolates me as a supposedly victim and target of a Europe in which I want to live”. 
* READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE HERE

 
RIVLIN MEETS DAUGHTER OF MAYOR WHO SAVED JEWS IN THE HOLOCAUST Print E-mail
Friday, 23 September 2016 12:51

President Reuven Rivlin this morning (Tuesday) met in his office with Lana Carrer, daughter of the Lucas Carrer, who served as Mayor of the Greek island of Zakynthos during the Nazi occupation of the island. Mayor Carrer, together with the local bishop, were responsible for saving the nearly 300 Jews who lived on the island by refusing the order of the Nazi occupying forces to provide a list of the Jewish community.

President Rivlin greeted and hugged Mrs. Carrer and thanked her for the actions of her family and her community for the sake of the Jewish people. He said, “We want to thank you for the actions of your family. Their bravery is an example of the very best of what humanity is capable of. Their actions go to the very heart of the history of the Jewish people.”

Mrs. Carrer thanked the President, and spoke of the respect and warm relationship between the peoples of the island, and spoke of her admiration for the President and his work to combat discrimination.

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WJC PRESIDENT RONALD LAUDER HOSTS AUSTRIAN CHANCELLOR CHRISTIAN KERN, THANKS HIM FOR BEING 'TRUE FRIEND OF ISRAEL AND JEWISH PEOPLE' Print E-mail
Thursday, 22 September 2016 13:03

NEW YORK, 21 Sept. 2016: World Jewish Congress President Ronald S. Lauder hosted Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern for a special reception at his Neue Galerie on Tuesday evening, and called him “a true friend of Israel and the Jewish people.”

Lauder specifically thanked Kern for spearheading an exhibition during his former tenure at Austria’s Railway company, ÖBB, addressing its role in Nazi operations during World War II. “It was a very controversial show and it showed real courage,” Lauder said. Kern was awarded the ‘Marietta and Friedrich Torberg Medal’ in 2013 for this initiative by the Vienna Israelite Community. 

The Austrian chancellor told Lauder, before the more than 90 guests gathered at the Neue Galerie, “I honestly and deeply admire what you have achieved in your life and more than appreciate your contribution to Jewish life in Austria.”

On Wednesday, representatives of the U.S. and Belorussian governments will gather at the World Jewish Congress headquarters in Manhattan at 1 P.M. to sign an agreement to preserve burial places, places of worship, memorials, historic sites, and archival material in the former Soviet state, with a focus on those who were victims of the Nazi genocide. The agreement will be signed by Belarus Foreign Minister Vladimir Makai and U.S. Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad Chair Lesley Weiss.

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ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE REFERENCE OF THE DEPUTY EDUCATION MINISTER TO THE HOLOCAUST Print E-mail
Tuesday, 20 September 2016 12:47

An anti-Semitic statement pointing out that “the Jewish people appropriated the Holocaust in order to earn the sympathy of the civilized world and be justified”, was made by the Deputy Education Minister Theodosis Pelegrinis, during his speech at the Greek Parliament (on September 15, 2016), delivered on the occasion of the Commemoration Day of the genocide of the Greeks of Asia Minor by the Turkish state (1914-1923).

The Minister made this statement suggesting that the Greeks should follow the example of the Jews with regard to the Holocaust. Following a large wave of reactions that condemned this reference, the Deputy Minister made a clarifying statement arguing that the term “appropriation” was misinterpreted by the media. The political parties of the Opposition (N.D., PASOK, and Potami), issued statements urging Deputy Minister Pelegrinis to resign.

The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece addressed the following  letter of protest to Deputy Minister Pelegrinis which reflects the Board’s position:

Dear Deputy Minister,

The Greek Jews -as well as all democratic citizens, were unpleasantly surprised by your speech of September 15, at the Parliament.

Your agony for the future of Greece should not allow you to misuse the meaning and the reality of the Holocaust.

The Holocaust does not just refer to the “persecution and the genocide implemented by a state or a regime against any ethnic, religious or political group functioning within a society”. The Holocaust is the unique in the history of mankind crime of the genocide of the Jews during WWII by the German Nazis and their collaborators in their effort to implement their horrific plan of a world without Jews. It is not something that the Jews “achieved”, it is exactly what they suffered.

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UNTANGLING THE TALE OF A JEWISH WWII ORPHAN IN THESSALONIKI Print E-mail
Wednesday, 21 September 2016 08:19

by GIOTA MIRTSIOTI

Just a few days before the mass deportations of Thessaloniki’s Jews to Nazi concentration camps began in the cold tail-end of winter 1943, many Jewish parents left their children in the care of the Aghios Stylianos Foundling Home for their protection. Unable to bear the separation, most took their children back; but some stayed. One of them was David Barzilay, born on March 4, 10 days before the first death camp train left the northern port city.

What happened to the baby that was declared by the foundling home as being “of unknown parentage” and survived the Holocaust? How many more Jewish families tried to save their children in this way and what kind of life did the youngsters go on to have afterward?

These and other such questions came to social anthropologist Aigli Brouskou’s mind as she studied the Aghios Stylianos archives for her book “Logo tis kriseos sas charizo to pedi mou” (Because of the Crisis I Give You My Child), published by the Scientific Society of Child and Adolescent Care. The answers came later with painstaking research at three official archives, while the evidence pertaining to one particular case turned out to be very revealing: It allowed a name to be erased from the long list of Thessaloniki’s Holocaust victims; shed light on fabricated records; allowed the survivor to rewrite his autobiography; and exposed the complex and often conflicting roles of those who saved lives during the Nazi occupation.

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NEW BOARD elected at the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece Print E-mail
Monday, 19 September 2016 12:58

The 22nd Conference of Representatives of the Jewish Communities of Greece (which was postponed on June 26, 2016) convened in Athens on September 18, 2016, in order to elect the new Board of Directors of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS), the umbrella organization of the Greek Jewry. During the opening of the Conference, the outgoing President of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, Mr. Moses Constantinis referred to his decades-long commitment to the Greek Jewish issues and expressed his firm belief that the new leadership will bring progress to the Community.

After the elections, the new Board was formed under the Presidency of Mr. David Saltiel, President of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki, who has also served as KIS President from 2010 – 2013.

The newly elected President David Saltiel spoke of the challenges the Greek Jewry faces and announced his administration’s priorities, namely the continuity of Jewish heritage in Greece especially with regard to the maintaining of the small Jewish Communities, the need for more measures to overcome economic crisis and render the Communities viable, anti-Semitism and Holocaust education, the development of welfare programmes for the needy Holocaust survivors, projects for the support of young Jewish adults and the strengthening of relations with International Jewish Organizations.

The Board Directors of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (as of September 18, 2016):

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