Thursday, 31 March 2022 11:17

-Arta: Road naming after Auschwitz survivor Isaac Mizan and Commemoration events with the participation of local schools

-Kastoria: Memorial March and ceremony at the Holocaust Monument

In March 26 & 27, 2022 the Municipalities of Arta and Kastoria honored the memory of the Jewish Communities that perished during the Holocaust with a series of events of cultural and educative character.  

In ARTA the Municipality and the Music-Literature Association of Arta, "Skoufas", commemorated the day of the arrest of the Arta Jews on March 26, that is exactly 78 years after the most massive loss of the city’s human resources in the 20th century.

The events began on Saturday morning 26.3.2022 with a walk-in locations of Jewish interest guided by the researcher of the history of the former Jewish Community of Arta, Theocharis Vadivoulis.

This was followed by the ceremony at the Holocaust Memorial which included a memorial service conducted by the Athens Rabbi, Gabriel Negrin and greetings of dignitaries.

After the speech of the Mayor of Arta, Christos Tsiroyiannis, the Mayor and the children of the late Isaac Mizan, the last Arta survivor of the Holocaust, one of the thirty Arta Jews who returned from Auschwitz, Anna and Joseph, unveiled the Isaac Mizan Street, which starts from the Jewish Martyrs Square, where the Holocaust Memorial of Arta is located.

450 Jews of the city were deported and brutally killed in the Nazi camps.

The presence of the late Isaac Mizan’s children at the ceremony was particularly moving, as his daughter, Anna Mizan in her speech, referred to how proud her father was of his origin, as well as to the arrest of the Jews of Arta. Addressing the Mayor of Arta, she stressed: "We, his children, would like to thank you for the immense honor to our father but also in the name of all those who were arrested and never returned. Finally, we would like to thank all of you, the people of Arta, who with your effort, have contributed to the preservation of the memory".

After the unveiling of the Street, speeches by officials and ordinary citizens ensued and wreaths were laid at the Holocaust Memorial.

This was followed by the March of Remembrance through the Jewish Quarter towards Kilkis Square, at the point where the Nazi occupation forces gathered the arrested Arta Jews, before their deportation to the death camps.

Apart from the resounding messages emitted by the remembrance events, they are also a note of optimism, as it seems that the young generation is particularly sensitive to issues related to the preservation of the memory of the Holocaust.

Characteristic is the participation of the students of the 1st Professional High School of Arta, who after the laying of wreaths with lit candles, symbolically called the names of the Arta Jews who were exterminated.

Also, the children of the Music School of Arta sang in Hebrew the song "Le kol ish yesh shem", "every man has a name", on the main pedestrian street of the city, just a few meters before the Orfeas cinema, today's Kronos hotel, where the Nazis rounded up the Arta Jews before they were deported to Auschwitz.

The secretary general of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece, Victor Is. Eliezer, thanked the students of the 1st professional high school and the music school of Arta for their participation in the event and offered the book “Young people in the Maelstrom of occupied Greece - The Persecution and the Holocaust of the Jewish People 1943-1944” to the library of their schools.

The events were attended by the Metropolitan of Arta, the Deputy Minister of Rural Development, representatives of political parties, the deputy regional governor of Arta, the Mayors of Arta and Ioannina, the Deputy Consul General of Germany in Thessaloniki, representatives of the Jewish Communities of Athens, Thessaloniki, Ioannina and Chalkida, as well as a lot of local citizens and visitors.  

In KASTORIA the Municipality organized a ceremony on the occasion of the 78 years that have passed since March 24, 1944, when about 1,000 Jews of Kastoria were arrested and imprisoned in order to be led to the Nazi death camps in Poland, erasing the traces of a thriving community that lived in harmony with Christians for a millennium. The Memory of the Jews of Kastoria cannot and should not pass into oblivion.

The event included a symbolic march from Omonia Square to the Monument of the lost Jewish Community, an area where the Jews of Kastoria maintained their businesses. Afterwards, in the area of the Monument, a memorial service was held. 

During the ceremony greetings were addressed by the Mayors of Kastoria Yiannis Korentsidis and Ioannina Moses Elisaf, the President of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece David Saltiel, representatives of the Jewish Communities of Athens, Thessaloniki and Volos and the representative of the Centre for the Study of The Jewish Heritage of Kastoria.

The ceremony ended with the laying of wreaths and the soprano, Mariangela Chatzistamatiou, who performed a song about the Holocaust of the Jews and a lullaby, which she dedicated to the Eliahu family and their grandchildren, moved with her voice.