Activities that took place in Greece during the First Semester of 2015 in the framework of Holocaust Remembrance and combating antisemitism
In the framework of the fight against Anti-Semitism, the following activities for the Remembrance of the Holocaust have been organised in Greece in the first semester of 2015:
1. Events organised in Greece on the occasion of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27th
The following events were organised in Greece on the occasion of the International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27th :
In Athens the Prefecture of Attica and the Jewish Community of Athens, jointly organized a series of events. The central event, entitled “70 Years Later. From Testimony to Education”, was held on February 2nd at the “Hellenic World” Cultural Centre and featured the participation of government officials, members of Parliament and the political parties, officials from the Armed Forces, dignitaries of the Church, ambassadors of states, local government officials, representatives of various organizations and, last but not least, survivors and a large audience. Speeches were delivered by the Governor of Attica Ms Rena Dourou, the Ambassador of Israel in Greece, the Presidents of the Central Jewish Board of Greece and the Jewish Community of Athens, the survivor Mr. Issac Mizan and finally Progessor Chr. Koulouri. The day also included the laying of wreaths at the Holocaust Memorial in Athens from representatives of the government, the Parliament, the political parties, the Armed Forces, various embassies and the Prefecture, the Mayor of Athens, resistance organizations, Holocaust survivors, the Head of the Greek Delegation to IHRA Ambassador Mrs. Photini Tomai-Constantopoulou and Jewish Communities and organizations from Greece and abroad.
In Thessaloniki, the Region of Central Macedonia and the Jewish Community of the city, organized a ceremony on February 1st at the Holocaust Memorial in the presence of representatives of the state and local authorities, of diplomatic missions and many citizens. The ceremony included a memorial service by the Rabbi of the Jewish Community, speeches by the representative of the Greek government, the representative of the Ambassador of Israel, the Governor of Central Macedonia, the Mayor of Thessaloniki, the President of the Jewish Community of the city and the President of the Central Board of Jewish Communities in Greece. The Ambassador of the United Kingdom, representing the British Chairmanship of the IHRA, was the key-note speaker. Moreover, Moreover, on 24th January the British Embassy co-organised with the Jewish Community in Thessaloniki a series of events in memory of the Jews of Thessaloniki victims and survivors of the Holocaust. Joined by the President of the Jewish Community of Thessaloniki David Saltiel, the British Ambassador John Kittmer laid a wreath on behalf of the members and observers of IHRA at a ceremony that took place at the Holocaust Memorial. Earlier on the day, representatives of the diplomatic corps in Greece received a tour at the Jewish Museum and historic sites in Thessaloniki, such as the ‘Monastiriotes’ Synagogue, the Baron Hirsch neighbourhood near the Railroad Station, where the city’s Jews were deported from to Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camps, and the University, the site of the old Jewish Cemetery.
In Larisa, the Jewish Community of the city organized on January 27th a ceremony at the Municipal Auditorium of the city in the presence of all local authorities, where candles were lighted for the 6 million victims of the Holocaust. Metropolitan Ignatios was the key-note speaker of the ceremony. Wreaths were also laid at the Jewish Martyrs Square.
In Volos, a ceremony which included speeches by government members and local authorities, as well as laying of wreaths, was organized by the Region of Thessalia and the Jewish Community of the city at the Technical Chamber of the city on February 1st in the presence of many officials and citizens. Wreaths were laid at the Holocaust Monument.
In Ioannina, the Region of Epirus, the Jewish Community of the city, the Gani Foundation and the Municipal Cultural Centre organized an event on January 27th, which included speeches, a concert and a photo exhibition of the period 1890-1930.
2. Educational and other activities
- A Solidarity Sabbath day was commemorated in Greece on May 11th, at a school in Athens (6th High School of Nea Smyrni). A ceremony was organised in the presence of the Minister of Education Mr. Aristides Baltas, the Secretary-General of Religious Issues Mr. George Kalantzis. Ms Photini Tomai’Constantopoulou, Minister A’ officer and Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues addressed the audience consisted of a big number of students and educators and explained the meaning of this special day in commemoration of Congressman Tom Lantos. Ms Tomai-Constantopoulou also dedicated time in her speech to report on IHRA’s activities and Greece’s participation in the Alliance. The students presented three short films on the Holocaust that they produced in the framework of the European programme CENTROPA, while students who had just returned from a trip to Auschwitz shared their experiences with their fellow students.
- The Jewish Museum of Greece organised on May 20th in Athens, at the Megaron Concert Hall, a discussion entitled “Education and the Holocaust” with the participation of an international panel of three scholars, who examined the history and current state of holocaust education in Greece, Europe and the rest of the world. Particular emphasis was put on its value and importance in reinforcing the democratic process and social awareness, and on the combating of violent racist and anti-Semitic phenomena – once again on the rise. The three speakers were: Paul Salmons, Programme Director at the Centre for Holocaust Education at the UCL Institute of Education of the University College London, Dr. Thomas Lutz, Head of the Memorial Museums Department at the Topography of Terror Foundation in Berlin, and Dr. Vasiliki Sakka, Education School Consultant. http://www.jewishmuseum.gr/en/activities_dynamic/news/item/134.html
- A short film competition for students on the Holocaust will be organized again this year, after the success a similar competition had in 2014. The awards of the 2014 competition will be delivered in September 2015.
- A common project on the Holocaust between a Greek school and a foreign school is being organized this year, after the success of a similar program in 2014.
- The Jewish Museum of Greece is organising seminars for educators.
- The Greek Ministry of Education and the Council of Europe are preparing a publication on the Greek Jews.
- Preparations have started for the organisation of a seminar for educators in the city of Kavala, organized by CENTROPA and the InterOrthodox Center.