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70th ANNIVERSARY OF THE DEPORTATION OF THE THESSALONIKI JEWS - WJC MESSAGE OF SOLIDARITY - RESOLUTION BY THE WJC EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Print E-mail
Tuesday, 19 March 2013 10:19
World Jewish Congress leaders on Sunday March 17, 2013, sent a strong message of solidarity to the Jewish community of Greece as they gathered on Sunday in Thessaloniki to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the roundup and deportation of the Jews from this northern Greek city to the Nazi death camps.
In presence of Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and Holocaust survivors, WJC President Ronald S. Lauder urged Greece to take decisive action against the growing neo-Nazi movement Golden Dawn which he called “the new Nazis” and “a threat to democracy”. [Watch the VIDEO of R. Lauder's speech HERE].
On this occasion, Samaras became the first sitting Greek Prime Minister of the last 100 years to visit a synagogue – the Monastiriotes synagogue of Thessaloniki-, as he pledged that his government would do everything to rein in the extremists.
The Greek government would enact legislation that will be “completely intolerant to violence and racism,” he said, noting that with neo-Nazi parties on the rise again in Europe, governments had to “be very careful not to let them gain ground as they did in the 1930s.”
The World Jewish Congress called on Greece to “consider banning political parties, such as the Golden Dawn movement, which pose a serious danger to liberal democracy”. It also called on the European Union to “ensure that political movements that actively espouse a platform of discrimination of ethnic or religious minorities, in contravention of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, are dealt with in a coordinated manner in all EU member states that law enforcement authorities receive all necessary support for the protection of citizens against such crimes.”

Fifty Jewish community heads and representatives from around the world attended the series of events in Thessaloniki in commemoration of the victims of the Holocaust. They were co-organized by the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki.
More than 48,000 Jews of Thessaloniki were deported between March and August of 1943 and 96 percent of them were murdered in the Nazi death camps.
Of those, 1,950 survived. Fewer than 5,000 of the 80,000 Jews living in Greece survived. The majority, after returning from the camps, emigrated to Israel.
On Saturday, a commemorative march, organized by Thessaloniki’s mayor Yiannis Boutaris, attracted nearly 3,000 participants.
Several hundred people gathered at Thessaloniki's Freedom Square, where the first group of Jews was rounded up by the occupying German forces on March 15, 1943.
The crowd held a moment of silence, then marched to the city's old railway station, where the first trains departed for the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp complex. A short ceremony was held at the station and flowers laid on the tracks.
"The commemoration is an honor for the city of Thessaloniki. But some people look upon this era nostalgically and are bringing back the old Nazi symbols," said David Saltiel, leader of the city's Jewish community.
The Jewish community in Thessaloniki, which until the early 20th century formed a slight majority of the city's inhabitants, today numbers fewer than 1,000.
The Jews of Thessaloniki were mostly Sephardic ones, who immigrated to the city, then part of the Ottoman Empire, after 1492 to escape persecution in Spain.

[Source: EJP, 
http://ejpress.org/article/65590 ]


WJC MEETING IN THESSALONIKI - RESOLUTION ADOPTED BY THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Resolution by the WJC Executive Committee,
adopted on 17 March 2013 in Thessaloniki, Greece
The Executive Committee of the World Jewish Congress, meeting in Thessaloniki, Greece on 17 March 2013 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the deportation of nearly 50,000 Thessaloniki Jews to the Nazi death camps where more than 48,000 of them were murdered:
EXPRESSES the solidarity of world Jewry with Greek Jews, many of who are suffering from growing anti-Semitism and economic hardship;
NOTES that Greece is the country where Democracy was born and that during World War II, thousands of Greeks gave their lives to protect freedom and in opposition to the barbarism of the Nazis;
NOTES with alarm the growing expressions of anti-Semitism and the rise of the extremist and violently racistChrysi Avgi (Golden Dawn) movement, which has parliamentary representation, manifest in: its open denial of the Shoah and the existence of gas chambers at Nazi death camps; a series of anti-Semitic and racist statements; and physical assaults on dark-skinned people and immigrants which have become an almost daily occurrence in Greece;
EXPRESSES its great concern that a part of Greek society appears not to be sufficiently alert as to where such hateful ideology can ultimately lead, with members of Greek law enforcement authorities being repeatedly accused of leniency toward Golden Dawn activists who brutally attacked immigrant workers, and with the Greek judiciary being weak in bringing those who commit hate crimes, to justice;
RECALLS with immense sadness the fact that the failure by Germany’s democratic parties to effectively combat the Nazis, led to the appointment, 80 years ago, of Adolf Hitler as German chancellor and the establishment of a murderous dictatorship that ultimately led to World War II and the Shoah;
URGES the Greek authorities to: take serious and concerted actions against Holocaust denial, anti-Semitism, racism and xenophobia; implement all relevant European laws in that domain; and unite all democratic forces against the enemies of democracy, so as not to allow society to drift into the darkness of racial hatred and anti-Semitism.
CALLS on Greece to consider banning political parties, such as the Golden Dawn movement, which pose a serious danger to liberal democracy;
CALLS on the European Union to ensure that political movements that actively espouse a platform of discrimination of ethnic or religious minorities, in contravention of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, are dealt with in a coordinated manner in all EU member states and that law enforcement authorities receive all necessary support for the protection of citizens against such crimes.

- Read here the full article from the WJC website


RELATED ARTICLES


* WJC:  
Thessaloniki: World Jewish leaders meet in show of support to Greek Jews

* EJC:  EJC President warns against neo-Nazis at Thessaloniki Shoah commemoration

* The Times of Israel: Thessaloniki remembers lost community

* The Jerusalem Post (enc. VIDEO): Greek Jews commemorate deportations
* The Jerusalem Post
: Thessaloniki Jews mark deportations to Auschwitz


 

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