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THE MAYOR OF THESSALONIKI JOINED CELEBRATION FOR HANUKKAH Print E-mail
Friday, 11 December 2020 13:55
The Jewish Community of Thessaloniki has organized on-line candle lighting ceremonies via zoom and facebook, on daily basis. The first candle was lit on December 10, 2020, by the President of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece and of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki, Mr David Saltiel, and the Mayor of Thessaloniki Mr Konstantinos Zervas, with the participation of Rabbi Aaron Israel and many Community members who joined in via zoom.


Mr Saltiel stressed the peculiarity of this year’s festivity, celebrated remotely, and wished for a brighter future. “Light and hope is what the Maccabees fought for, and this is their message to us, not to lose hope because even a slightest glimmer is enough to dissolve a dense darkness”, Saltiel said. Then he welcomed the Mayor who constantly for the past two years joins the Hanukkah candle lighting in Thessaloniki.

Mayor Zervas expressed his joy and pointed out that he considers his participation at the celebration as a privilege. He wished a Happy Hanukkah to the Community and referred to “the miracle of light dispelling darkness which has a special meaning this year, when we all need to pray for the safe return of the normality and of all the things we cherish, hoping that soon we will be able to celebrate all festivities together”.

 
VANDALISM OF JEWISH SITES IN LARISSA – PERPETRATOR ARRESTED - REACTIONS Print E-mail
Monday, 07 December 2020 10:31
On December 3, 2020, a man wearing a cassock and holding an icon, sprayed a Christogram cross with the words “Jesus Christ Conquers” on the Holocaust monument of Larissa. He did the same on the outer wall of the Synagogue which is currently being restored. The incident was recorded on cctv street cameras which were examined after the President of the Jewish Community of Larissa informed the police and filed a lawsuit. The man was arrested the following day in the nearby area of Tempi. He was charged with damaging property and violating antiracism law.

REACTIONS:

-The Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS) issued the following announcement stressing that the action “emanates religious fanaticism and intolerance”:

KIS, Dec. 4, 2020: Religious fanaticism and bigotry emanate from the new desecration attacks against Jewish sacred sites in Larissa, that occurred on December 3rd, 2020. The vandals used religious symbols to leave the mark of their anti-Semitic hatred on the exterior surrounding wall of the Synagogue of Larissa and the city’s Holocaust Monument, as a statement of contempt towards the sanctity of the sites and devastation of the memory of the Holocaust victims.

The Greek Jewry strongly condemns these hideous attacks. We urge the competent authorities to trace down the perpetrators, arrest them and bring them to justice.

We quote the Vice President of the European Commission Margaritis Schinas who just a couple of days ago stated:  “Europe stands firm against all forms of antisemitism. Jewish life is and always will be part of European societies and our way of life…”. Zero tolerance to fanaticism, intolerance and antisemitism”.

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TEARS ARE NOT BORROWED: REACTIONS TO ARMENIAN WRITER’S COMMENTS RELATED TO THE AZERBAIJANI – ARMENIAN WAR Print E-mail
Friday, 27 November 2020 12:13
In his “open letter to the Ambassador of Israel in Athens” (published in the website of the daily “Efimerida ton Syntakton”, efsyn.gr, on Nov. 19, 2020), Greek-Armenian writer Sifis Kassesian drew parallels between the Israeli policy on the Azerbaijani-Armenian war over Nagorno-Karabakh and the Nazis, and made comments relating Israel to Judas and Shylock with regard to Israel’s selling of weapons to Azerbaijan. The writer skillfully promotes anti-Semitic stereotypes by denying any intention of doing so: “Far from me the thought of correlating the present Israeli policy with stereotypes such as the 30 silver coins or the Merchant of Venice, which for so long have linked the image of the Jew motivated by economic interest to the collective conscience… Maybe many others will do it… Even further far from me is the thought that the murderers of your own people had also argued their own raison d'etat in order to justify their crime against the Jews and that now you are assimilated with them…”. The writer, after referring to his many Jewish friends and his feelings of sympathy towards the Jews over the Holocaust, he mentions the tears he shed for the Holocaust victims when, as a young man, he had visited an exhibition. “You abused of that tear Mr Ambassador, therefore I ask you to find a way to give me back my tear”, Kassesian concludes.

In reaction to Kassesian’s open letter, the Israeli Ambassador to Greece Yossi Amrani, as well as Victor Eliezer, journalist and KIS Secretary General,  replied with their respective letters, published in the website of “Efimerida ton Syntakton”, on November 25, 2020. Both letters, translated into English, are published here under:  

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ESTHER COHEN, OLDEST GREEK AUSCHWITZ SURVIVOR PASSES AWAY Print E-mail
Thursday, 03 December 2020 12:11

By Patricia Claus, "The Greek Reporter" December 1, 2020:

Esther Cohen, the oldest Greek survivor of the Auschwitz concentration camp, who became known as a “living testimony” of the Holocaust, passed away on Tuesday December 1, 2020, at the age of 96.

The Ioannina-born Jewish woman, who had had her official camp number tattooed on her left arm, said in interviews that the number had also been tattooed “on her soul” as well. Along with so many other Jews, from Ioannina, Thessaloniki and elsewhere in Greece, Esther was rounded up on March 25, 1944. All the Jewish people living in the city were ordered by Greece’s German occupiers to report to Ioannina’s Mavili Square — and the vast majority would never see their beloved city again. She was somehow able to stay together with her entire family, including her six siblings, all the way to the gates of the concentration camp — but after that point she was never to set eyes on them again, except for one of her sisters.

Returning to Ioannina after the war, along with only approximately fifty other members of its original Greek community, she again made her home in the city. In March of 2014, she made headlines when she met with former German President Joachim Gauck in her city. She told him at that time, “When we die, the world must know that man must not be inhuman.” The German president then embraced her.

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ANTISEMITIC FRONT-PAGE TITLE OF THE NEWSPAPER MAKELEIO – REACTIONS BY THE GENERAL SECRETARY FOR RELIGIOUS AFFAIRS AND THE GREEK JEWRY Print E-mail
Wednesday, 11 November 2020 12:02
Daily “Makeleio”, known for frequently publishing incendiary anti-Semitic articles, on November 10, 2020, circulated with yet another anti-Semitic front-page title related to the announcement made by Albert Bourla, the CEO of the Pfizer pharmaceutical company, on the upcoming vaccine for covid. The front-page (as well as the teaser of the on-line Makeleio.gr)  is illustrated with the photo of the Nazi doctor Josef Mengele next to the photo of Dr. Bourla whose Jewish faith is used in the title to disseminate stereotypical propaganda, while in the surtitle of the front-page the term "poison" is used for the vaccine.

The Greek Jewry’s outrage was expressed with the following announcement of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece (KIS), which was followed by the immediate reaction of the General Secretary for Religious Affairs, Mr George Kalantzis, who issued the statement below:

KIS ANNOUNCEMENT FOR THE ANTISEMITIC FRONT-PAGE TITLE OF THE NEWSPAPER “MAKELEIO”:

The front-page title of “Makeleio” of November 10, 2020, overwhelms us with outrage and repulsion, as its content perpetuates hatred and bigotry against the Jews and it becomes -once more- the carrier of the most hideous anti-Semitic propaganda.

The identification of the CEO of Pfizer as Mengele, the so-called butcher of Auschwitz, is an appalling and unethical assault against Albert Bourla only because he is a Jew. The huge-lettered front-title “Jewish veterinarian will stick the needle in us! Nightmarish admissions by force in ‘chamber – camps’ as flocks” is nothing but a clear incitement to violence against the Jews.

The vaccine of a company suddenly becomes “poison” due to the Jewish religion of the company’s CEO, Albert Bourla, and its production is compared to the Nazi experiments in Auschwitz, in an attempt to prevent people from using it, should it be proven effective in dealing with the coronavirus that has inflicted mankind. Shame!

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