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Thursday, 08 October 2015 12:06

During the Holocaust Rememberance Day held in Larissa on the 27th of January 2015 the Metropolitan Ignatius of Demetrias made the following address:

I would like to begin by expressing my deep gratitude to the Jewish Community of Larissa, for inviting me to be the keynote speaker at this year's memorial event for the Greek Jewish martyrs and heroes of the Holocaust. Although approximately 70 years have passed since the tragic events of the Jewish genocide at the hands of the Nazi regime of the Third Reich, the memories remain—and must remain—particularly fresh and vivid. The deep human solidarity with the Jewish people and its millions of victims helps toward this end, but unfortunately, this solidarity coexists with an ever-increasing anti-Semitism that has been festering across Europe, including here in Greece, a country affected like few others by the Nazi atrocities. In my talk today, I would like to offer a few thoughts, primarily from my perspective as an Orthodox bishop of the Church of Greece. I will highlight some basic theological criteria for approaching the issue, while also offering the historical experience of our humble Diocese of Demetrias, which I have been blessed to serve for many years now, and which, as we all know, played an important role throughout the period of occupation in protecting our fellow Jewish citizens.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016 10:15

- Article by David Harris, CEO of the AJC, published on The World Post  (April 27, 2016) and on the Greek Huffington Post (May 9, 2016), on the EU policy on Hezbollah.

Nearly three years ago, the European Union finally overcame its longstanding resistance and addressed the issue of adding Hezbollah to its terrorism list.

The good news is that the 28 member states, prompted by the determination of Bulgaria, which experienced a deadly Hezbollah attack the year before, and Cyprus, which arrested a Hezbollah operative scouting out sites, took action.

The bad news is that the EU opted to bifurcate Hezbollah and place the "military wing" on the terrorism list, while leaving its "political wing" off it.

If ever there was a distinction without a difference, this was it. Don't take my word for it. None other than Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah's Lebanon-based chief, said as much, stressing that no one could divide his organization.

Mocking the EU's decision, Nasrallah asserted: "A government [of Lebanon] without Hezbollah will never be formed. Just as a joke, I propose that our ministers in the next government be from the military wing of Hezbollah."

It's not often that I agree with Nasrallah, but on this occasion -give him his due - he was right about the EU illusion that there are two Hezbollahs.

Menachem Simantov: a different rescue story of 600 Christians from Serres Print E-mail
Friday, 24 November 2017 12:24
By VICTOR ELIEZER (E.J.P., Nov. 20, 2017)
It was a June 2017 morning when my phone rang and on the end of the line I heard the kind voice of a lady:   - "I want to talk to you about the Jews of Serres, (a city in North Greece),  and the history of my family", she tells me and somehow she surprised me because –to tell the truth– I did not believe there was a single Jew from Serres that was alive. - "I had no idea", I answer, "that you are from Serres, and of course I am interested in your story".

ATHENS----It was a June 2017 morning when my phone rang and on the end of the line I heard the kind voice of a lady:  
- "I want to talk to you about the Jews of Serres, (a city in North Greece), and the history of my family", she tells me and somehow she surprised me because –to tell the truth– I did not believe there was a single Jew from Serres that was alive.

- "I had no idea", I answer, "that you are from Serres, and of course I am interested in your story"
And so, on the evening of Friday, June 13, Mrs. Mimika Simantov-Samouilidou welcomes me in her apartment just opposite the Acropolis. The dining table was full of photos, publications and books. Her discourse is accompanied by photographs of a distant past. Favorite faces, houses and streets that no longer exist. Her voice trembles with emotion when she shows me the photos.
Wednesday, 07 December 2016 09:12

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Germany, Dr. Frank Walter Steinmeier visited Thessaloniki and was proclaimed Honorary Member of the Jewish Community during a highly symbolic ceremony held on Sunday December 4th, 2016, at the Monastiriotes Synagogue. 

Earlier that morning, the German Foreign Minster had inaugurated the exhibition “Divided Memories 1940-1950- The distance between history and experience” at the Macedonian Museum of Modern Art, in Thessaloniki. The exhibition, co-organized by the Goethe Institute Thessaloniki, the Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki, the Macedonian Museum of Modern Art and the Deutches Historisches Museum of Berlin, is hosted by the Macedonian Museum of Modern Art and its duration is until February 26th, 2016.  The Jewish Museum of Thessaloniki participates with a separate section, which includes historic evidence (records – photographs), films and projections of documents, divided into three parts.

Following the inauguration of the exhibition, Minister Steinmeier was proclaimed an honorary member of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki, in a ceremony at the Monastiriotes Synagogue. Upon his arrival, Dr. Steinmeier visited the exhibit of religious artifacts that is kept in the Synagogue and lit a candle in memory of the 50.000 Jews from Thessaloniki that perished in the Holocaust.

Mr. David Saltiel, President of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece and the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki welcoming Minister Steinmeier in the Synagogue said: “The Jewish Community of Thessaloniki in acknowledgement of your contribution towards the promotion of the relations between the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki and the Federal Republic of Germany, as well as your commitment towards combating Anti-Semitism and racism, has decided to bestow upon you the title of its Honorary Member.”

RACIST VIOLENCE REPORT FOR 2018 - The antisemitic attacks Print E-mail
Wednesday, 24 April 2019 07:25

Athens, 19.4.2019- The Racist Violence Recording Network (RVRN) presented yesterday April 18, 2019,  their annual report, which analyses findings of racist violence and hate crime across Greece in 2018, recorded by the 46 organizations participating in the Network. From January to December 2018, the RVRN documented, through interviews with victims, 117 incidents of racist violence, with more than 130 victimsIn 74 incidents the victims were migrants or refugees on grounds of ethnic origin, religion, colour, associations of third country nationals, human rights defenders due to their connection with refugees and migrants, as well as a memorial to the victims of shipwrecks. In six (6) incidents, Greek citizens were targeted due to their colour, foreign or ethnic origin. In nine (9) incidents, the targets were Jewish sacred or symbolic places and the Jewish community and in one (1) incident the target was a Greek citizen due to educational activity against anti-Semitism or perceived religion. In 27 incidents the targets were LGBTQI+ persons, including five (5) refugees, asylum-seekers and EU citizens. In 59 incidents more than one victim was targeted, whereas in 63 incidents the assault was committed by a group of at least two people. 

For more information see here the site of the RVRN. See here the full report in pdf.

Excerpt from the report (p. 19) on antisemitism: In 2018, the RVRN recorded 9 anti-Semitic attacks. In particular, there were 6 incidents of desecration of Holocaust memorials in Athens and Thessaloniki, 2 incidents of desecration of the Jewish cemetery in Nikaia and Trikala as well as 1 incident of vandalism of the synagogue in Volos. In these incidents the perpetrators drew Nazi symbols or words and slogans referring to the Holocaust, threatening the Jewish community as a whole. Additionally, there was an incident against a teacher, who is being harassed severely due to his educational activity against anti-Semitism.

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