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KIS - English Version
THE JEWISH COMMUNITY OF ARTA, GREECE: FABLES, MEMORIES AND THE HOLOCAUST Print E-mail
Wednesday, 27 November 2019 10:52
by ELIAS MESSINAS

«The Jewish history of Greece dates back to antiquity. Cities like Salonika (Thessaloniki), Veroia and Corinth, were among the cities visited by St. Paul the Apostle, during the first century BCE. St. Paul prayed and preached in their synagogues. Today, most people associate the history of Romaniote Jewry – the Jews that lived in Greece since antiquity, long before the arrival of the Sephardim after the 15th century – with Ioannina, a fortress city in western Greece. But in fact, the Romaniote story most probably started earlier, further to the south, in the city of Arta.

Ancient Arta, called Ambracia, was established in 625 BCE. It is famous for the medieval bridge over the Arachthos River, which was reconstructed by King Pyros I, circa the third century BCE, and completed in its present form in the early 1600s. Arta, a city of fables, has a story for every important site. For example, the legend for the bridge wants the architect who built it having to sacrifice his wife in order to stabilize this magnificent and ambitious stone-built structure with arches, giving it mythical proportions. But it is not the only one.

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SHE GREW UP ON A REMOTE ITALIAN ISLAND. THEN CAME THE HOLOCAUST Print E-mail
Thursday, 21 November 2019 13:38
Four years ago, while researching the war years in Italy, I was introduced to Stella Levi, now 96, probably the only New Yorker among the handful of remaining members of the Jewish community of Rhodes, a now Greek island with a multinational past.

I went to her apartment on a Saturday, intending to ask her a few questions; several hundred Saturdays later, she is still answering.

It turns out that other people are interested in Ms. Levi’s memories, too. Centro Primo Levi, a nonprofit focused on exploring the Italian-Jewish experience, along with the Rhodes Jewish Historical Foundation, have created a pop-up installation in Greenwich Village, a few doors down from Ms. Levi’s home. The show is using concerts, conversations, films, artifacts, and even food to evoke Ms. Levi’s life and Jewish culture generally in prewar Rhodes.

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THE PRESIDENT OF THE CENTRAL BOARD OF JEWISH COMMUNITIES IN GREECE HAS BEEN DECORATED BY ITALY Print E-mail
Thursday, 07 November 2019 10:13

In a humble ceremony held at the Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki, on November 18th, 2019, Mr. David Saltiel, President of the Central Board of the Jewish Communities in Greece and President of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki was decorated with the medal and title of Ufficiale dell’ Ordine della Stella d’ Italia - Officer of the Order of the Italian Star - by His Excellency the Ambassador of Italy to Greece Mr. Luigi Marras.

In its tweet the Italian Embassy mentioned David Saltiel as a "True friend of Italy". The title of Officer constitutes the highest level of the Order of the Italian Star, as Mr. D. Saltiel was already honored with the title of Commander of that Order, since 2008.  The Order is bestowed to outstanding personalities for their contribution in promoting business and cultural relations between Italy and other countries.

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IN FADING RITUAL, WWII RESCUER REUNITES WITH JEWS SHE SAVED Print E-mail
Wednesday, 06 November 2019 10:36
Aron Heller

One by one, the 40 descendants of a group of Israeli siblings leaned down and hugged the elderly Greek woman to whom they owe their very existence, as she sat in her wheelchair and wiped away tears streaking down her wrinkled face. Clutching the hands of those she hid, fed and protected as a teenager more than 75 years ago, 92-year-old Melpomeni Dina said she could now "die quietly." 

Sunday's emotional encounter was the first time Dina had met the offspring of the Mordechai family she helped save during the Holocaust. Once a regular ritual at Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, such gatherings are rapidly dwindling due to the advanced ages of both survivors and rescuers and may not happen again. The soon-to-be-extinct reunion is the latest reminder for Holocaust commemorators preparing for a post-survivor world. "The risk they took upon themselves to take in an entire family knowing that it put them and everyone around them in danger," said Sarah Yanai, today 86, who was the oldest of the five siblings Dina and others sheltered. "Look at all these around us. We are now a very large and happy family and it is all thanks to them saving us." 

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PRESIDENT PAVLOPOULOS OFFICIALLY OPENS NEW WING OF JEWISH MUSEUM IN THESSALONIKI Print E-mail
Tuesday, 29 October 2019 11:46

By  Nick Kampouris

The President of the Hellenic Republic Prokopios Pavlopoulos officially opened the new wing of the Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki on Sunday afternoon October 27th, 2019.

In his remarks, President Pavlopoulos noted the need to remember that the Holocaust was the most atrocious crime against humanity at a time when admirers of Nazism and fascism are emerging again in Europe. President Pavlopoulos highlighted the need to remember, for the sake of humanity, that the Holocaust was the most atrocious crime of all because it insulted human existence itself and totally discredited the value of human life and individual freedom and dignity. ”So, it can never happen again, at any cost,” Pavlopoulos declared. The President of the Republic said that he would like the Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki to serve as a beacon for the fulfillment of the self-evident and permanent duty to remember those crimes against humanity. 

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