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THE RESPONSE OF THE GREEK JEWRY TO THE LETTER OF THE MAYOR OF KAVALA Print E-mail
Thursday, 21 May 2015 12:36
 
Massive reactions burst out after the cancellation of the inauguration of the Holocaust memorial in Kavala. 
Through many statements –at times contradicting one another- the mayor made an effort to clarify her intentions while revealed that she received threats and a strong opposition to the erection of the monument.
The Mayor in a reconciliation gesture addressed a letter to the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS) stating the city’s willingness to go on with the unveiling of the monument and proposed a new date for the event.
On May 19, 2015, the local Metropolitan Church issued an announcement objecting the Jewish character of the monument, stating preference for a monument to all genocide victims. In the same spirit, the Chairman of the Municipal Council Giorgos Grammenos stated that the monument “stands against his religious conscience”.
Amid this atmosphere, KIS in its reply to the Mayor expressed the Greek Jewry’s satisfaction over the solidarity demonstrated by citizens of Kavala, the Greek Government and the political parties. At the same time KIS expressed concern over the announcement of the local Metropolitan Church and the statements of the Chairman of the Municipal Council.
 
The letter of KIS to the Mayor concludes: “Our fervent desire is for the monument to be situated in the place where it fits the most, symbolizing friendship, love and solidarity amongst people regardless of race or religion. We hope that these principles will be shared by the Municipal Council of your city and by the Metropolitan Church as well”. 

Here is the full text of the letter addressed to the Mayor:

 
“We received your letter and wish to express also in writing our Board’s and the Greek Jewry’s sorrow over the cancellation of the inauguration event –scheduled for Sunday 17, 2015- as a result of your demand to erase or modify the Star of David engraved on the monument.
 
 We watched your statements and marked your sensitivity to visit the graves of the Greek Jews of Kavala while accompanying their relatives who arrived from Israel. We were satisfied by the spontaneous reaction of the citizens of Kavala, by the courageous stand of deputy Mayor Michalis Lychounas, by the position of the Government and the political parties, by the thousands of the people who posted notes on the social media taking a stand in favor of the placement of the monument in the pre-selected place without modifications.
 
In sorrow we heard you speak of the pressure and the threats you received in order not to proceed with putting the monument in its place. In sorrow we read the announcement of the Chairman of your Municipal Council and that of the Metropolitan Church of Filippoi.
 
Mrs. Mayor, the Holocaust monument is not only a symbol of remembrance and tribute to the 1.484 victims, Greek Jews of Kavala. It is a symbol against hatred, intolerance, racism and anti-Semitism. It is our fervent desire for the monument to be situated in the place where it fits the most, symbolizing friendship, love and solidarity amongst people regardless of race or religion. We hope that these principles will be shared by the Municipal Council of your city and by the Metropolitan Church as well”. 

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