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:

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KIS LETTER OF SOLIDARITY TO THE AUSTRIAN PEOPLE FOLLOWING THE TERRORIST ATTACKS IN VIENNA Print E-mail
Tuesday, 03 November 2020 14:00
A few days after the attacks in France, new bloody terrorist attacks occurred in the center of Vienna, the capital of Austria, during the night of November 2nd, 2020. Gunmen opened fire, killed four people and wounded several others at several locations in Vienna, starting from the street where Vienna's main synagogue is located. The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece addressed, today November 3, 2020, the following letter to the Ambassador of Austria in Greece, expressing the solidarity of the Greek Jewry to the people of Austria for the heinous terrorist attacks:


"Dear Mrs. Ambassador,

The Greek Jewry is shocked after the bloody terror attacks of extreme Islamists against innocent people, that struck the center of Vienna yesterday night, and caused the death of four people and several casualties.

Our thoughts and payers are with the families of the tragic victims. Our solidarity is with the Austrian people at large that was terrified by the extremists who assaulted a symbolic area of the Austrian capital, where churches and synagogues stand close to one another and in vicinity with museums and a number of multi-ethnic restaurants, a place where people enjoy culture, a place that represents collectivity and brotherhood, a district that is a small scale model of European core values.

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KIS LETTER TO FRENCH PRESIDENT MACRON CONDEMNING THE TERRORIST ATTACKS IN NICE AND AVIGNON Print E-mail
Friday, 30 October 2020 09:30

In the aftermath of the new wave of terror launched against France, the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS) addressed the following letter to the President of France Emmanuel Macron conveying condolences to the French people, as well as the condemnation of the Greek Jewry for the appalling criminal assaults:  

Votre Excellence,

Monsieur le Président de la République française,

Au nom du judaïsme grec, nous souhaitons exprimer notre ferme condamnation des attentats sanglants et barbares du 29 octobre 2020, à Nice et à Avignon. Nous sommes en état de choc face à l'explosion sauvage de haine et de fanatisme islamique qui affligent la France, un pays traditionnellement et profondément enraciné dans la richesse de la diversité sociale, un pays dont la devise "Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité" forme le rapport aux autres, un pays qui représente les Lumières européennes.

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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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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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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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